An Interview with Daisy Shah!

Daisy, obviously, before you had Jai Ho, Race 3, Hate Story, you were already a part of the industry. You were already doing choreography. When you look back at 2013, 2014, I know you said that you did not see yourself acting; rather, it was Salman Khan who gave you the push. But, did it ever cross your mind that you would appear in front of the screen?

No, not really. In fact, I always had different plans for myself. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be a part of the entertainment industry, first of all. But destiny had a different plan for me. I was just going ahead with what was happening for me.

So, where did the choreography bit fit in, and how did that help with acting – or did it?

I had already invested in being in the industry through choreography, so switching into a completely different field would have been tough. So, the first thing is that, I love dancing but I don’t think I could be a choreographer because I think to be a choreographer, you have to put in your brains while dancing, which is something that I cannot do. They are basically directors.

But as a dancer, did it help you with acting?

See, when you are dancing, you are miming. You don’t really have to put in your emotions because the singer has done half the job for you. When you are acting, you are playing with your own emotions, and making the people believe in that particular scene. You have to live that part thoroughly.

In dance, the song by itself has emotion in it. That is the reason why you have background scores. If you watch a film without a background score, you will feel that it is very flat.

It has been a difficult task to act – it is very different from what I’ve done in the past. But I did not have the camera fear, so to speak, because of my dancing and choreography.

I mean, my first film was with Salman Khan and Tabu so Certain things were very challenging – like, saying dialogues with actors like Salman Khan and Tabu in the same frame – this can be challenging. You can feel intimidated, regardless of your experience in the past.

So when you face the camera with some cinema greats – in Race 3, or Jai Ho. What was the most surprising part for you – that you learnt about yourself? And what was the most challenging part?

In Race 3, the most challenging part was to stand out for yourself. When you are doing an ensemble cast film, you have to make sure you are leaving your mark somewhere, as a character, as an actor. That was the most difficult part.

Sanjana was thankfully very well accepted by the audience – the way she conducted herself in the film and because of the action. That was really challenging for me – especially the aerial dance I did. We did thorough training though, so it worked out well. There was a lot of prep work that went behind going on set for Race but I’m glad we did that because of how Sanjana was received.

So what was the most surprising part for you?

To be honest, I never thought I could play a character that had grey shades and Sanjana, as a character in the film, did have grey shades. I thought I may not be able to do it, but I did do it really well, thanks to the director of Race 3.

Were you surprised it because of a lack of being able to relate to her as a character? I remember an interview once, in which Tabu had said that you do not necessarily even like the character that you play, actually, and actors forget that you do not even have to relate to the character you are playing.

Yeah, see, that was the bubble I was living in. Somewhere, I thought that the character I play has to somewhere connect with me. But that is not the case. After playing Sanjana in Race 3, I understood that, when it comes to an actor playing a character, the person has to live that particular character. That’s how I was able to break the barriers I had in my mind – that I can only add to characters where somewhere they relate to my own personal nature. Race was not that. That character was completely opposite to who I am as a person.

When you think about your relationship with Salman Khan, what kind of an equation do you share? A lot of people talk about how kind he can be, especially in supporting individuals coming up on to the big screen.

You know, there’s one thing I have learnt about him – if he really cares for you, he will never compliment you.

Interesting. Tell me more.

Yeah, I think he believes that the minute you compliment somebody, the person can take their craft in a very lenient way, and the person does not push themselves more. If he truly cares for you, he may compliment you behind your back, but he will never compliment you to your face.

Was that difficult for you to accept?

Initially, yes – not difficult really, but I kept thinking: despite doing all of my hard work, I got a normal nod, not even a smile. And I was like “what the hell is happening?” You know, gradually, (chuckles), the more time you spend with the person, the more you understand the person. That is why it was initially difficult for me. Now when I look back, it was completely right on his part - he wanted me to grow, and he wanted me to push myself and better myself. There are no inhibitions in his dictionary.

There are a lot more scripts, there is a lot more variance in what we are seeing today. We saw meaningful cinema before too. But we’re seeing a lot more variety today. Perhaps it is the various production companies in the past five/six years, there are more opportunities for fresh faces/newcomers. Do you find that is the case as well, or no? What do you attribute the fresh scripts to?

Of course. See, the reach and the depth has increased. We have so many more platforms today to portray your talent. It has also been accepted so well. I personally feel blessed, so that if there is no film coming to me, I can turn to the web. I won’t give up on myself because I know there are ten thousand other things I can try.

Picture Credit: Abhi Valera 

In your career so far, as an actor, what is the lowest you ever felt and why was that?

The lowest? Hmm…I think it was after Jai Ho, because in spite of delivering such a good film, in spite of the film doing well at the box office, it wasn’t considered successful. See, yes, the numbers weren’t high – but what people failed to understand was the strategy behind it – the ticket prices were not raised for the weekend shows, because of the message the film wanted to give out to the people.

We know for a fact that we could have easily done business of 350 crores. But people still only want to see the numbers. The film was a 50 or 60 crores film, and the film actually did business of 126 crores. So, you cannot see a film as an ‘average’ or a ‘flop’. Being a Salman Khan film, people were expecting much larger numbers. In the bargain, at the time, I felt I suffered. But it doesn’t matter, today, I’m only four films old, but I have two films that reached 100 crores.

So, that’s when I felt the lowest. But later on, when I understood the entire aspect, I was fine. It was actually Salman who made me understand everything. Salman Khan really believes in me – I know he is always by my side. I can call Salman Khan at 2 am – he is my go to person. I know I have the most powerful person right by my side.

So, when you look forward to the future, what is the one thing – the mantra – to keep afloat these days? With the crazy social media and the heightened expectation on celebrities to engage with their fans…

Oh, it’s crazy. You cannot come out of your house if you are not well dressed. You are not allowed step out if your hair is frizzy or if you have a zit on your face. I mean, come on, people look up to the celebrities, I get that – but we are humans too.

But, yes, things are different for us. But either you live by society’s rules or live by my own rules – and I have managed to strike a balance between those two.


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Armin Sethi

Bollywood Film Fame Canada has been a source of original content consisting of real conversations, reviews, and news of everything film, music, and entertainment for 15 years.

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