Popular television actress Shilpa Shinde has always been in the news for being righteous. Her unfiltered nature often lands her in trouble, and the masses moniker her as the 'troublemaker'. Shilpa Shinde, who was supposed to make a comeback on television with Sunil Grover led 'Gangs of Filmistan' quit the show even before it could go on air. The actress leveled some serious charges against the producers of the comedy show.
In an exclusive chat with IBTimes, Shilpa Shinde reasons out several things that to quit the show. From overstretching work hours to exploiting the artists, to not giving her script, to Sunil Grover getting leverage and more.
Shinde's unabashed conversation is worth giving a read.
How she spent her lockdown time?
My mother wasn't keeping well, she was hospitalised and I was there to take care of her. I was also quarantined with her for two months and took utmost care and took the necessary precautions. I am glad she is fine now. For me, family comes first and even if was busy I would have managed my time and taken care of her.
On quitting the show Gangs of Filmistan
The reason I quit the show is that the production house is a big liar, they used my name and if you have seen the first episode you would know, that I am only standing behind Sunil Grover.
On why she took the show?
I took the show up for good money, the cast is good, I have always been a fan of Sunilji and I have always admired and respected his comic timing, so when I was approached I said yes thinking what better show to come back with?
On Sunil Grover taking center stage
When Sunil Grover is around, you can't do anything. He takes over the entire act. We are never given scripts; our gags get destroyed and we don't get to perform at all. I am not making a comeback to stand behind in the crowd and clap. Even if I am doing my part Sunil Grover will be judging the act. They change the costume, script and say channel ne bola hai. But when it comes to Sunilji everything is perfect, his costume, gags, script. After having an experience of so many years, I am treated like a dog is it justified? I am asking the channel, after giving this treatment to me and using my name for the promotion of the show, I am not doing the show. I don't want to be a part of a show where I am not seen, where I don't have my self-respect. The production house never communicated with me. I love all the actors whom I worked with on the show. But there is also the truth that I am very hurt after I saw the first episode and there is a bitter feeling now.
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On comedy being male-dominated
I find comedy is a male-dominated, as Sunil Ji is playing a guy as well as a girl. So why can't girls in the show enact a guy's role? When I suggested this idea during the press conference it didn't go down well with the makers and I didn't feel like staying at the press conference. I was told to lie that we were not shooting till 2.00 am, despite the guidelines laid by the government. The production house is flouting with the said rules and I didn't feel good, so I left the press conference. In fact in the press conference, I also said that Sugandha Mishra is a versatile talent, but she is only known for the portrayal of her act as Lata Mangeshkar. I have high regards for every actor out there who are working hard amidst these tough times and coming on the set.
On comparing it with The Kapil Sharma Show
In the show Gangs of Filmistan, I felt like I was eye candy. I came, I uttered two lines and went off. Till the time we were performing the scenes without Sunil ji we all were doing great, the moment he started doing gags, we got sidelined. I am working after a gap of two years, why will I try to spoil everything, but I want to say that I was getting exploited on the sets when it comes to acting. Look at 'The Kapil Sharma show', there also other artists work, they have space and gags. From Bharti Singh to Krushna Abhishek and many others. I would like to tell the production house if you want to show only Sunil Grover, then why did you name it 'Gangs of Filmistan', name it 'The Sunil Grover show' I will happily work in it.
On getting her last payment from the production house.
Whenever I ask for payment they say, Madam London Gaye hai, and I can hear her voice, awaaz peeche se aarahi hai.'
On not wanting to be part of the TV.
I was not interested in doing Television. It's not like I have no money and was desperate to get back to work. But I speak for what is right, it has been my nature since I was a kid. There is a thin line between self-respect and ego. I can't work at a place where there is no respect and value for actors hard work and talent. I have given my 200 per cent, the shift would start at 7 am and to reach the sets I would leave as early as possible by 11 or 12 we would start shooting, and after working and risking lives amidst this COVID- 19 you treat an actor this way?
On ill-fitted clothes
I have put on a little weight, so I told the production house to change the dress or loosen it, but there too they had issues. I told them ek dress trail de do. Which is quite normal but then they go and complain about me saying Shilpa Ji issues create kar rahi hai. If the dress isn't fitting properly I will tell the people right? And all I said was dress ka trail kar lia karo. And here I am not fighting I am standing up for what is right. I have to be on-screen if I'm uncomfortable how will I perform. And then without hearing my side of the story they simply keep telling publicly I am creating a scene on the set. After two years I make a comeback, I shoot for one episode diligently and now I am creating a scene.
On being righteous
I have been this way since I was in school I vividly remember, a fellow student in the class was talking while the teacher was teaching and the teacher called me and said that I was talking. I argued with my guruji saying I didn't. To which she said, how can you argue with me and called my mother saying Shilpa is back answering. Narrating this what I want to say is, I always stand for what is right, had I been in corporate I would have stood up the same way I stood up for my rights in Gangs of Filmistan. I can't be sugar-coated or be diplomatic. Standing for your own rights isn't a psychopath.
On how she changed post-Bigg Boss
I was always confident as a person but after Bigg Boss, I became all the more cautious and got to know the real side of the people. I haven't changed much, the only thing I can say about me is my confidence has now doubled. And I have this one rule, the ones who approached me after Bigg Boss I have decided to not work with those production houses, reason being, they came after I became famous. Where were they after I did Bhabhji Ghar Pe Hai… I can't stand people who run behind someone after they have achieved something. I still say yes to people who came to me before I was a part of Bigg Boss.
Amidst all this how do you unwind yourself
I watched Mahabharata and Ramayana on television, and I am a huge Friends TV show fan. I love it.
Message for fans
I would like to say, do what is right and do what makes you happy. If you like watching Bhabhji... do watch it, if you like watching Gangs of Fimlistan watch it. I am not here to spread negativity nor am I saying that the show is bad. The show is fun, the cast is amazing and if you feel like watching and laughing your heart out do so.
On forthcoming projects
There are few things in the pipeline. I will tell you when the time is right.