Saturday, May, 08,2021

Unrequited love stories have bigger reach: actor Shefali Shah


As a "hardcore romantic", actor Shefali Shah believes that films dealing with unrequited love leave a more visceral impact on audiences as compared to stories that have a happy end.

The 48-year-old actor, known for performances in movies such as "Satya", "Waqt: The Race Against Time", "Dil Dhadakne Do" and "Once Again", said people keep on thinking about such stories even after the film is over.

"For me personally, I feel that a film that doesn't end with a happy ending has a far bigger reach. It lingers on far more. Unrequited love stories have much more impact on the audiences. If 'Romeo and Juliet' had been happily married and had kids and dogs, I don't think it would have been a classic.

"I feel that the most beautiful love stories are the unrequited ones as they leave a really huge impact because then we are left with the feeling, 'What if they meet again after some years or decades?' Shah told PTI in an interview over Zoom.

Shah currently features in Netflix's anthology movie "Ajeeb Daastaans", which is set to debut on the streamer's platform on Friday.

The movie, as its title suggests, is about the third wheel in relationships and explores complex themes of fractured relationships, and human emotions such as jealousy, entitlement, prejudices and toxicity, and their effects.

Shah features in the segment called "Ankahi" from debutant director Kayoze Irani.

She plays the role of Natasha, a woman going through a rough patch in her marriage with her husband, mainly due to their different approaches in dealing with their daughter, who is going through progressive hearing loss.

But then she finds a companion in Kabir (Manav Kaul), a man with whom she communicates in only sign language.

"I'm a hardcore romantic. So when I was approached for this movie, I was like, 'This is what I was looking for so many years'," the actor said.

What Shah liked the most about "Ankahi" were the scenes with Kaul's character where the two are communicating through sign languages.

"It's a dream come true for me to not talk. I always want to cut every single line, possibly, that is mine from the script. One of the first things I do on any script is to shred, shred and shred my lines.

"I believe we have the privilege of a camera that can catch the smallest of emotions. So if you can say something in two words, why use four? And if you can say something without any word or lines, then it's the cherry on the cake."

Shah said her approach towards any role is to understand the character first and then work on her dialogues.

"For me, lines and dialogues are the last bit. Of course, a lot of actors work backward. They work on the lines and then the scene. I do not work like that.

"The lines will come naturally if I know the character and I just totally love the fact that some of the most precious moments come without a dialogue."

A major challenge for the actor was to learn sign language so that the scenes between her character and Kaul feel realistic.

"Sign language wasn't easy. It really wasn't. It was very easy for Manav, who was prolific at it. In our scenes, there is a lot of chemistry. It's just the merging of two beautiful characters."

"Ajeeb Daastaans" also features Fatima Sana Shaikh, Jaideep Ahlawat, Konkona Sen Sharma, Aditi Rao Hydari, Nushrratt Bharuccha and Abhishek Banerjee. (PTI)

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