Fatima Sana Shaikh became popular even before the audience knew her name. Way back in 1997, she endeared herself to viewers playing Kamal Hassan and Tabu’s daughter in “Chachi 420”. Years later, she would score her first blockbuster with the 2016 Aamir Khan-starrer “Dangal”.
She has lately been seen in films such as “Ludo” and “Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari”, and is now gearing up for her next film, the OTT anthology “Ajeeb Daastaans”. The actress says she constantly doubts herself, adding that she wants to better herself.
“Every day you go through your own journey of asking questions to yourself. There are your own challenges and weaknesses. You have to overpower them and overcome. You’d cross those and then you have more challenges and insecurities. That is a constant journey. Everyday, there is a new mindset,” Fatima shares her thoughts.
She adds, “Sometimes you feel confident and sometimes no matter how successful you are, (you could be) the most insecure person in the room in spite of your success. It’s your mindset at that moment. I am constantly doubting myself but I think that is important for me because I want to grow. If I am being happy with what I am right now I will stop growing. I want to be better.”
“Ajeeb Daastaans” brings together four stories that analyse the complexity of human emotions including jealousy, entitlement, prejudices and toxicity, and their after-effects.
What was it like exploring topics like sex, gender, class and patriarchy? “A topic can be anything as long it is said properly in a nice way and beautiful manner. I think stories written well, no matter what they are about, will engage you. If you choose to write on sex, gender or socio economic status — issues are in everything. It is how you write a story more than the topic,” Fatima said.
She features in the first story of the anthology, titled “Majnu”. She plays Leepakshi, a young woman stuck in an unhappy marriage with actor Jaideep Ahlawat’s character. Always vying for love and attention, her life is thrown in a turmoil with the entry of a young new male in the household.
Did she find Leepakshi a complex character? “What (director) Shashank (Khaitan) tried to do is write a very layered character, and it is written so well and is so layered as an actor that it becomes easy to understand the character, because everything about the role is about her. Her journey and her complexities. When you are human you have those qualities, flaws and complexities in you,” Fatima replied.
“It is neither black nor white and that is the beauty of these characters in ‘Majnu’ — everybody has a shade. It is from black to white to grey,” she added.
Fatima enjoyed playing that character because she says it is so far away from her.
“I have not met a (character like) Leepakshi in my life. (I have) Not experienced anything that Leepakshi has experienced. I am not from that world. It is so amazing because you are an actor and you love your work. Through your work you see different worlds. For me, it is the most beautiful thing that I get to know, see and hear so many new things,” she said.
–By Durga Chakravarty