Fatima Sana Shaikh on boycott calls for films: ‘Whether you watch a film or not, don’t have an agenda behind it’

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
Oct 28, 2020 06:45 AM IST

Fatima Sana Shaikh is coming back to movies after two years with back-to-back releases Anurag Basu’s Ludo and Abhishek Sharma’s Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari. Here she talks about her movies, working with acting giants, and more.

Fatima Sana Shaikh had one of the biggest entries into the Hindi film industry, with its most successful film of all time, Dangal. This mammoth, multi-billion-rupees-raking machine was a hit in every way and put Fatima on a fast track to great roles and success. However, as her very second film, Thugs of Hindostan, failed to live up to expectations, she too seemed to have stepped into the shadows for a while. But she is finally breaking a new light on her film journey with not one but two back-to-back releases: Anurag Basu’s Ludo and Abhishek Sharma’s Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari.

Fatima Sana Shaikh will be seen in Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari.
Fatima Sana Shaikh will be seen in Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari.

Fatima’s comeback marks a big transition from more serious, event films to all-out comedies. She plays a mother in need for a jail break in Ludo and a woman looking for a husband under the prying eyes of her detective older brother in Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari. For Fatima, however, the change was not a premeditated step.

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In a chat with Hindustan Times, Fatima revealed the real reasons she took up the films. “I never think of it as me wanting to try a different genre. Of course, I do want to experiment with different roles so it’s more about how interesting the project is to me. Like with Ludo, I wanted to do the film because of Dada (Basu) and with Suraj Pe Mangal, because of the amazing star cast. There are so many actors and all of them are so good. From Manoj sir to Seema Pahwa, Manoj Pahwa, Annu Kapoor, Diljit, Supriya Pilgaonkar...I mean it’s a heavy duty cast. And then Abhishek, who has made Tere Bin Laden, so comedy is his thing. So I felt like I want to be a part of it because it is going to be a learning experience. I don’t know when I will get to work with Manoj sir again so I had to jump into it,” she said.

Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari’s trailer was released last week to warm fan reaction. Considering the hot topic raging all over Bollywood and the internet, some even took to the comments section to champion the film for being completely ‘nepotism free’. However, Fatima doesn’t agree with a film being rated on a ‘nepotism meter’.


“Ye sab bolne ki baat hai. If the film is good, no matter who is in it, people will watch it. If they don’t then you and I are both going to witness this together if there is a change that is going to happen. People are stars because audience makes them stars. So I don’t see the sense in complaining about it. Everyone works hard. A film is not made just by one star but a lot of people. There’s the spot boy, the director and you are snatching away their credit from them. Sure you can boycott movies, but what about such people? What if a character actor is making his debut with a star in a film? This will be an injustice on him if you don’t watch his film,” she said.

“You want to watch a film then do or don’t but don’t have an agenda behind it. If you want to enjoy a film then you should. That’s what has been happening since so many years. And audience is the one who makes or breaks people. They have the power, let’s see what happens,” she added.

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Now almost four films old, Fatima also revisited her very first hit movie in her conversation with us. No, not Dangal but hit 1997 Kamal Haasan film, Chachi 420. She played little Bharti, Kamal and Tabu’s daughter in the movie.

Fatima told us of the real lure of the film for her when she was that young. “I remember people being very nice to me because I was just a child. So I was really pampered, got a lot of chocolates. We got to stay a luxurious hotel for the first time, so as a child I had that one memory that there was a swimming pool, a beach. So I have such memories of the movie, of the experiences I had.”

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    Soumya Srivastava is Entertainment Editor at Hindustan Times. She writes about movies and TV because what else is there to life anyway.

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