Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Shefali Shah on Kuuch Luv Jaisaa

Shefali Shah's film Kucch Luv Jaisa, where she plays a housewife who gets into an unlikely adventure with a criminal, releases this Friday. The talented actress talks to Sandhya Iyer about the film



Shefali Shah is currently seen in the delightful promos of Kuuch Luv Jaisaa, where she plays a desperate housewife who in a rebellious state, takes off and indulges in expensive shopping. She goes further ahead and joins a detective on one of his cases, while her perplexed husband (the delightful Sumeet Raghavan) wonders what's happening. The detective, played by Rahul Bose, is in fact, a criminal on the run. The story tracks this bizarre adventure that brings this unlikely couple closer to each other.

The film releases this week, and Shefali - who has played an array of interesting characters in a career dotted with some well-chosen films (Satya, My Father Gandhi, Monsoon Wedding), is excited about it. The film is directed by debutant Barnali Shukla and produced by her filmmaker-husband, Vipul Shah. This is a departure for Shah as well, who has mostly dabbled in strictly commercial potboilers like Waqt, Aakhen, Singh Is Kinng and the recent Action Replay. The director has not had much luck in recent times, what with Action Replay and London Dreams proving to be duds.

Talking about it, the actress who started her career with television serials, says flops are not a matter of grave concern. "Vipul is a very sorted out man. He has taken it in his stride. It's also about luck you know. London Dreams was a good film, but it didn't do well," she says about the Salman Khan- Ajay Devgan starrer.
Shefali is an undoubtedly a talented actress, but as is the case with the Hindi film industry, scripts hardly allow scope for mature actresses in lead roles. In such a scenario having a supportive producer-husband who can back her up in a project as Kucch Luv Jaisa is surely heartening. Shefali understands that the question means no offense, but she insists, "For Vipul, his film is more important than anyone. He would never take me unless he is clear I suit the role. He doesn't take me in commercial set-ups as the lead. But in the case of Kuuch Luv Jaisaa, he loved the script," she says. "Barnali had brought the script to me and wanted me on board. She was on the look out for a producer. That's when Vipul heard the script and wondered if he could produce it."

The actress is delighted about her role in the film and says she could completely identify with it. "Madhu is an extension of me. She falters, is very passionate, but not melodramatic. Women get so busy taking care of other's needs that they forget their own. And that sometimes causes a trigger point. When it happens to Madhu, she turns a rebel and does all the things in one day she would never imagine doing otherwise. And in the process gets into all kinds of weird situations."

One of the challenges involved was to look good in the film for Shefali. "I've never really bothered about how I look. I'm very comfortable in my skin. But then, I do realise that there are some expectations from the heroine of a film. Earlier I would just dress up like the character. Here I had to adhere to some requirements. There are unsaid norms - the leading lady has to be desirable, alluring, attractive, thin with fabulous make-up. All that took some effort for me. I had to lose weight, especially since I was donning western clothes in the film. And I am wearing lycra where the slightest flab is going to show. But I'm glad I did it and lose weight," she says.

Of course, Shefali was also easily persuaded because the role demanded it, "The character goes through a drastic make-over. The idea is that every woman has it in her to look great and do wonders with herself if she so desires."

Increasingly more female writer/directors are dotting the Bollywood scape. Does she find their approach different and fresh? "Their sensitivities are sharper. Men tend to look at the bigger picture, women like to go into every small detail. Barnali is someone who makes her film from the heart. She is honest and true to the calling of the film," says Shefali, who has previously also worked with the inimitable Aparna Sen in 15 Park Avenue.

Taking of Sen, reminds us to her co-star in the film, Rahul Bose, who plays the unlikely role of a scrubby small-time criminal. Shefali lights up at the mention of the star. "When Barnali said she wanted Rahul to play the character of Raghav, I was like 'Really?' Because we know Rahul as this South Mumbai guy, politically correct and polite and well-behaved. And here was a character who had to look convincing as a guy from Dharavi. But he's done it so well, I can't think of anyone else doing it now. And it's treated very differently from your usual tapori character. It has none of the -apun-tapun' lingo. Madhu is the boisterous one, and he is quiet. They are a mad couple, like fire and ice," she explains.

Is there a hint of romance between them? "It has something like love, certainly. But it's not called so in the film. So many times we meet strangers and form an unsaid bond. Such an unexpected relationship may not culminate into anything, but it can still change your life," she says.

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