Beautiful and vivacious actress and dancer Shefali Jariwala is best known as the Kaanta Laga Girl in 2002. Later she appeared in a dance reality show Nach Baliye 5. In 2018, she played the female protagonist in ALT Balaji's web series Baby Come Naa opposite Shreyas Talpade.
In 2019, she participated in the reality show Bigg Boss 13 as a contestant. Shefali has been in this industry for over 18 years now and made her mark with hard work and persistence. Not hailing from the film fraternity she still inspires many.
In an exclusive conversation with International Business Times, India Shefali Jariwala spoke at length about her first song Kaanta Laga, who would have featured in the reloaded song if ever it was made, Sushant Singh Rajput's untimely demise, the debate over nepotism, social media warriors and why mental health awareness is necessary.
Excerpts from the interview:
If Kaanta Laga 2.0 is recreated whom would she like to see and why?
Kaanta Laga is one of the biggest songs that the country has seen, one of the most successful and one of the best remixes made. And if Kaanta Laga 2.0 was created in today's times I would like to see Sushant Singh Rajput doing it with me. May God bless his soul. May he rest in peace. He was such an amazing dancer and a very good-looking guy. I knew him, I was acquainted with him but I never got a chance to work with. I would have loved to do Kata Laga 2.0 reloaded with Sushant Singh Rajput.
Social media war over Sushant Singh Rajput's death
There has been a lot of debate on social media, and everywhere else over Sushant's untimely demise and why wouldn't there be? his suicide has shocked everybody, not just the film fraternity but every person in India is affected in some way or the other. The emotions are so high, as it is during the lockdown people were low, they were not working, and then this news. Of course, there were a lot of conspiracies theories on why Sushant did this? I don't want to get into it. I just believe that Sushant had created a space for himself his untimely demise created this effect on people it agitated a lot of people. Therefore what you see as a debate is people on social media and elsewhere are extremely affected by his untimely demise and the way it happened. I think i understand why these debates are happening.
When we talk about nepotism it's a very strong word. Myself not coming from nepotism I can only say that I don't belong to a film fraternity. I came from a middle-class Gujrathi family and no one in my seven generations was from TV or film fraternity, I was spotted outside national college and that's how I got the song Kata Laga which became such a huge hit that changed my life. I am not a product of nepotism, I can't say much about it, having said that yes, there is favouritism in the industry. And it's not just in our industry it's there in every industry, people who are your friends you like to work with them.
I wish I had a mentor and guide in the industry earlier in my career. I came from a place where we didn't understand a lot of things when my first song became a huge hit I got fame, money, success, I kind of went into the shell, as it was overbearing for me and my family, which is why I didn't take up a lot of projects due to fear and lack of understanding. Now after 18 years in the industry, I have a lot of friends, my friends and people, I have been there to guide me and help me. Talking about myself I want guidance, I believe that being at the right time at the right place matters, talent matters, there is also a luck factor in the industry. Nepotism or no nepotism, I believe in hard work.
If I had a father who was a producer in the industry he would have launched me. As father always wants best for the child he would have launched me And if that's unfair and its nepotism I don't know what to say, I am not against this, I would love to have that good fortune and luxury for sure.
On facing the brunt of nepotism
There have been instances wherein I have not been finalised for a certain project and they were given to somebody else. Not because of nepotism, there were other reasons, maybe because that person was well suited for the role, or the commercials didn't work. I can't blame nepotism entirely.
On mental health
Mental health is extremely important there are times when I have felt low and depressed and have taken medication for it. After Sushant's death, the issue of depression came into light all the more. This is not a disease it a condition that is triggered by stress and should be taken care with utmost empathy. One should talk to the doctors or their loved ones if they feel the need. In these uncertain times, when everyone is worried about their career, future, finances you start feeling low, you are worried about a lot of things. That is what is depression does to you, you feel hollow and lost. One should always create awareness about mental health rather than making it a taboo.
On working with hubby Parag Tyagi on-screen
I want to do a music video with Parag, the way we are on-screen and on camera, I want the audience to see that. I hope something comes up soon.
On how she is keeping herself occupied during the lockdown
Initially, I spent my days sleeping for endless hours, that's how my routine went off for a toss. Later i started to keep myself busy and took up reading, watching TV, web shows, domestic responsibilities. During lockdown what I rediscovered was, I started doing sketching, I used to do it when I was a child and now I took it up again. And now as we are unlocking I can't wait to get back to work. Half of my year has gone into lockdown, last few months I was in Bigg Boss 13 house and then at home and this entire process has taught me to be patient.