Actress Shefali Shah has been the most seen onscreen face for quite some time. Recently she found a separate kind of fame in the web domain with releases such as Delhi Crime on Netflix, Juice on YouTube and quite a few more. During an exclusive video interaction with the IBTimes the actress shared, that career-wise, she is having the best time of her life.
What do you have to say about this whole experience of giving interviews from home?
Umm. Exhausting. I know I really miss meeting people face to face. I mean it's never the same. I have my pups come in and my sons will come in to ask me something.
How did you land up in the role in Delhi Crime?
How did it come to me... Mukesh Chabbra the casting director got in touch with me. I met with him, he talked to me about his vision, research, we barely spoke for five minutes and I said yes. It was as simple as that, I had not even read the script but I just have to be a part of it. Then I read the script and then I was like I have to be a part of it. It's a very very important story to tell. I couldn't imagine not being a part of it. It's as simple as that, within a blink of an eye I wanted to be a part of it.
A few days ago I spoke to your co-star, Rajesh Tailang. He had an interesting notion about cops in Hindi cinema. He mentioned that cops have always been one-directional, they are either, morally upright, or completely corrupt. That is not there in Delhi Crime. Did you feel the same?
Honestly, it is unfair to perceive anything until you have complete knowledge about it. You must have complete knowledge about it. But yes I agree with him, there should be two distinct sides just a black and white side shown of a profession or a character or let us say a cop, etc etc. This was a completely different perspective. It was based on research and there wasn't anyone I was modelling, so it didn't matter to me. This was real, gritty. And I didn't know this side of the story. When the case happened we were all of us were crying for justice, we were all wondering why isn't anyone doing something about it, then I heard this side and I realised there was somebody doing something about it and it was led by a woman. The entire team worked round the clock to capture the culprits.
How did you research your character?
Honestly, Richie Mehta had done years and years of research, for almost four to five years. He had done an incredible amount of research meeting all these people, going in the domain, who was there at this point of time to crack the case, so when he came to me with the script it was a very well prepared script it was a blueprint. Then I met Chaya ma'am and Neeraj sir, they would answer all my questions. But it was a solid script.
I remember in 2012. The entire country was angry and erupted.
Exactly the way every single person felt about it, that anger, angst, the pain the need for justice. A scar that wouldn't go away.
So I heard it started as an independent project. Did you ever imagine Emmy?
Honestly, when I do something, any project, for me creating it is the highest point. When I take it up it is because I love it so much, and I believe in it and I feel I just have to do this, there are complete passion and consumption and I feel invested in it. What happens ahead is something that I don't look into, I don't know the fate of a project, even before it reached international accolades, whether it is the Emmys or the Asian Academy Awards, for me, the show is a winner. So, yes, this is a reinforcement, but in my heart, it was always extremely special.
So do you think women are getting more roles because of the web domain?
The content is becoming more women-centric, women have always gotten roles, did they get pivotal roles, central roles, well that is a debate, but it is a great time for women. I can speak for myself. I'm 47 years old, some years ago we would probably think that okay that is the end of it because the heroine has a shelf life, but now, the heroine doesn't have a shelf life.
Do you know, when we generally refer to Shefali Shah the actress, the first image everyone gets is that of your character from Dil Dhadakne Do
Really, honestly, I don't think. Earlier yes, there was this mother, I don't think that is what we will remember now. Also from Dil Dhadakne Do, Neelam Mehra was one of the central characters and she was a person on her own. Yes, she was a mom, so am I, am not a mom to such older kids. I think it is unfair to say people just associate me with a mother of XYZ. Neelam Mehra was a character of her own, she had own history, power, baggage, strengths and weaknesses. In fact, I think that mould has broken, which is great.