Fatima Sana Shaikh left cine-goers and critics in awe with her act as Geeta Phogat in the 2016 film Dangal. And now, a few years later, she is once again making headlines with her performance of a Kashmiri immigrant, Lalzari, in Shonali Bose’s Raat Rani: one of the six movies in Pritish Nandy’s anthology Modern Love Mumbai. Between 2016 and 2022, Fatima featured in select few movies, out of which, most have an ensemble cast. In one of her earlier interviews, she shared that she used to be nervous about being the lead actor and found support in multi-starrers. So, it’s only a pleasant surprise that the actress could not only carry her latest film on her shoulders, but also she did it with such brilliance. Recently, I connected with Fatima and talked about the same.
Fatima Sana Shaikh opens up on overcoming self-doubt
I asked Fatima Sana Shaikh about how she overcame her initial fear of being a lead actor in a film, and where she found the confidence to carry Raat Rani on her shoulders. She exclusively told Pinkvilla, “I think…I don’t know…abhi, Covid bhi ho gaya…aapko bhi lagta hain ‘abhi kitna darega insaan’ (We had the COVID-19 pandemic, and you wonder how long would you be afraid). At some point you need to believe in yourself too. So, I was like, ‘If I fail, I fail. If I won’t, I won’t. But I keep on trying at least. How long can I be scared of not walking on my own, you know? Cycle bhi khud se chalana seekhna hi padta hain naa…toh usi tarah (At the end of the day, you need to learn cycling on your own). Abhi, I am happy that it worked out. I am happy that people liked my performance. And Shonali is a lovely director, and a person. For me, she is a very special and important person in my life. She’s also given me confidence.”
Fatima on how her directors boosted her confidence
Elaborating further, the actress said that she questions herself a lot, and that it was Anurag Basu who instilled some confidence in her. “Dada had given me some sense of confidence when I was doing Ludo. He used to tell me ki stop doubting yourself, you’re good,” Shaikh mentioned. She further mentioned that Anil Kapoor and director Raj Singh Chaudhary also told her to not overthink.
Fatima further continued, “If you are a person who has a lot of self-doubt, and if you have people around you who remind you that ‘self-doubt is fine, but don’t let that come in your way.’ I think, for me, that really helped. And then, Shonali also gave me the confidence. We were doing readings and everything was going well. But I would go home and wonder if I am doing it right. But when I would go back, she would tell me, ‘What are you thinking? What’s wrong with you? You’re doing well.’ Sometimes you need to hear that. So, I have been lucky that the people I look up to, are the people who tell me these things and give me confidence.”
Fatima Sana Shaikh will soon be seen in Meghna Gulzar’s film Sam Bahadur alongside Vicky Kaushal and Sanya Malhotra. She will be seen essaying the role of Indira Gandhi.