When Shefali Shah was 30, she played mother to 38-year-old Akshay Kumar in Waqt: The Race Against Time (2005). Now, she is finally ‘acting’ her age (36) in Bamali Shukla’s directorial debut, Kucch Luv Jaisaa along with Rahul Bose. Having played mature roles in her career of ten films, Shefali admits she ignored herself while focusiing on character. “I’ve neglected my own vanity. Not that I regret it, but looking good is part of my job. There is a certain responsibility or expectation from a ‘heroine’ in Bollywood. She has to be beautiful, and this part helped me rediscover this side of me,” says Shah. For this role of a housewife, who undergoes a makeover as part of the story, Shefali followed a diet and exercise regime to lose 12 kgs. “I went hysterical. I would never ask anyone to follow the diet I was on,” she laughs, before adding, “No food, water, no or air, almost. I worked out for three hours a day. But the toughest part was when that I could not drink when I partied.”
Most people misinterpret her means of getting into character as ‘method acting’, but she refuses. “As actors when we have to emote, we internalise things, find moments that hurt us and portray them. That’s what I do, its not like I get drunk if I’m playing the part of an alcoholic,” says the actor, who recently visited Thane jail and spent time with an under trial murderer to understand her role. “The experience was daunting. But he was another human being sitting there. I enjoyed it.”
Shefali spends a day with an underworld don in the film, which releases on May 27.