She savoured overnight popularity and visibility as wrestler Geeta Phogat in Dangal, but actor Fatima Sana Shaikh says she had to start from scratch when it came to landing a role in Thugs of Hindostan, a Yash Raj Films (YRF) production starring Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan.
“It feels unreal,” Fatima gushed with excitement in a conversation with the agencies over the phone from Mumbai, on getting to play a YRF heroine so early in her career.
“It is a huge project and with one of the best production houses. And plus there’s Amitabh sir and AK (Aamir). I feel very fortunate,” added the actor, who feels this new opportunity is “god-sent”.
She admits nothing came without her share of struggle – even though she has been working with the best of talent since childhood. She played the baby girl Bharti in Chachi 420 with Kamal Haasan, and then in Dangal, she had Aamir play her onscreen father.
Thugs of Hindostan gets bigger with Amitabh and Aamir sharing screen space for the first time. And for Fatima, getting the film was “as difficult” as getting Dangal.
“Chachi 420 happened when I was a child, and then I had to struggle again, I gave so many auditions. All this has come to me, but it came to me with a lot of effort… The struggle never ends.
“After Dangal, I was back to square one. For Thugs of Hindostan also, I had to go through multiple rounds of auditions till I got the film. So, we can do several films, but every film will be like a first – at least it is so for me because you start from scratch,” added the 25-year-old.
That’s why, she says, the effort is always to give one’s 100 per cent.
“For me, this life… Acting and films… is very sacred. I have struggled for long and so, I value things. Even if I have to give multiple auditions, it is okay,” said Fatima.
Fatima’s look in her new project will be different – as one can see from some leaked images from her look test for the movie.
“It is somewhere around it. But the final look is yet to be locked… They will sharpen it,” said the actress, who will be seen playing a warrior in the movie.
Naturally then, action hasn’t left her after Dangal.
“Oh yes! I am ready for it. My body says work harder. I am doing a lot of training because Thugs of Hindostan demands a different kind of action from wrestling. I will need to look tall, be light on my feet, jump and be agile.
“I have to learn sword fighting and archery because she is a warrior,” Fatima said.
Does the dream of being a typical YRF heroine then remain?
“I am thrilled to be a YRF heroine. But I also want to do the typical YRF heroine… where the sari (pallu) flies, and there’s running around the trees,” she said.