Shefali Shah may have left the world impressed with her performance in films like Satya and Dil Dhadakne Do, but it was Delhi Crime that brought the ‘much deserved’ limelight on her. Since the pandemic, the entertainment industry also saw a shift in content consumption, making actors like her shine, especially on OTT platforms. While she agrees it was about time, the modest actor shared that she believes in the saying ‘der aaye durust aaye (it’s better late than never)’. In a chat with indianexpress.com, Shefali mentioned how her family would be worried about her saying no to work but she wanted to wait for ‘the right roles’.
“I kept refusing work and they would all pick on me. But the kind of work that was offered wasn’t what I wanted to do. They were of course worried that it would affect me professionally and sometimes even nudged me to take up projects that would make me famous. They would even ask me what am I waiting for. Now, when I look back, the wait has paid off and how! I always knew I would only take up work that would churn me inside out. I knew what would work for me professionally and waited patiently. Touchwood, it turned out well. I am getting to do the work that I wanted to do, and playing lead and primary characters,” she shared with a smile.
The actor had earlier shared that she wouldn’t play mother roles to older actors anymore. Case in point being Waqt: The Race Against Time. Shefali played Akshay Kumar’s mother even though she is five years younger than him. Given the film was directed by her husband Vipul D Shah, we wondered if it was the wife in her that compelled her to take the part. With a laugh, she agreed to it, confessing that her husband had even asked her not to do the film.
“I remember Amit ji (Amitabh Bachchan) had suggested that Shefali should do the film. Vipul was aghast and categorically told me not to do it. However, I just loved the character and the story. I told him that I want to work with you guys and it’s my choice and I enjoyed it,” she said with a broad smile.
Shefali Shah is currently basking in the success of Jalsa, which has her rubbing shoulders with Vidya Balan. Talking about their characters Ruksana and Maya, the actor said that both have their strengths, weaknesses, and flaws, making it ‘all the more exciting’. She added, “Both women have a strong sense of righteousness but because of the situation they are in, they question their own morality. The conflict is not just between the characters but also within themselves.” Shefali added that she didn’t see her character Ruksana as vulnerable and strong but an intriguing layered character. She added, “I think the director has gone into the depth of all characters and brought their many shades. Also, I strongly believe there is a lot of strength in being vulnerable. The opposite of powerful or strong can never be vulnerable, and that’s how Ruksana has been scripted.”
Talking about her co-star, Shefali said that while Vidya Balan is gracious to call herself ‘fortunate’, she always had it in her. “It’s not a small feat that people write stuff for her. I think Vidya and her journey became a hope for many actors like me. I think she is one actor whose career we all look up to and without any envy. She is a star who is also an actor. I would go and watch a Vidya Balan film any day, and she has paved that path, not just in recent years but since she started. And that’s so inspiring. It just makes you hopeful that if you are good, roles will come your way.”
When asked to pick Vidya’s best performances, Shefali Shah claimed that she has a ‘loooong list’. “I love everything that Vidya does not just as an actor but also as a woman. I think the first time I saw her in Parineeta, I was amazed. I also found her so cute in Hum Paanch. Then there’s Paa and Ishqiya, the list is never-ending. However, I must add that I wanted to give a standing ovation to her when I watched The Dirty Picture. And it’s not just about her performance but her brave choice as an actor. I don’t think I would have been able to do it. That’s something about her, she is just so unapologetic that you cannot help but love her.”
Directed by Suresh Triveni, Jalsa is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.