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Exclusive! Sharmin Segal: Once Pratik Gandhi understands the gist of a scene, he changes the dialogues

Sharmin made her Bollywood debut with Malaal and is now seen in Zee5's Atithi Bhooto Bhava with Pratik Gandhi and Jackie Shroff in the lead roles.

Exclusive! Sharmin Segal: Once Pratik Gandhi understands the gist of a scene, he changes the dialogues
Atithi Bhooto Bhava - Pratik Gandhi, Sharmin Segal.
  • Shaheen Irani

Last Updated: 02.52 PM, Sep 25, 2022

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Sharmin Segal might have been a part of Bollywood for long but in her second film, the actress had to face newer challenges with actors like Pratik Gandhi and Jackie Shroff by her side. Recently seen in Atithi Bhooto Bhava, Sharmin discusses what the energy was like on sets with OTTplay. She also recalls a few scenes in the process, especially the ones with Pratik. Excerpts…

Did Atithti Bhooto Bhava happen right after your debut in Malaal?

It was after Malaal. I was trying to find work since Malaal's release in July. After that, lockdown happened in March next year. Finding work in this industry is anyway not easy for anyone. It's a very competitive industry. It takes time and effort.

Then I got introduced to Hardik (Gujjar, director) sir. We chatted and he narrated the story to me and I connected with it. It was difficult to understand the dialogues because Hardik sir's Hindi is far superior than mine. I connected with the emotional aspects of the film - being a girl in this generation who figures out what love means and how to express it. It's a whole process in itself. That is what connected me to Atithi Bhooto Bhava personally.

Also, there wasn't much work since lockdown and then this movie happened in the middle of both the lockdowns. I'm just grateful that while other people were struggling to find work, I managed to find one film that I didn't know would turn out the way it did. Now that I'm seeing the results of it, I'm overwhelmed and taken aback.

This story looks almost like Phillauri. While you have not seen the film, maybe someone discussed that on sets. So, how would you say Atithi Bhooto Bhava is different from Phillauri?

I haven't seen the film so it's not an accurate response. What I will say to you is that when you're shooting a movie, there's a zone. You're in a character. A film set is a very overwhelming environment. There are moments when there's silence and there's moments when you are giving a shot and there's pindrop silence. I don't think we ever discussed comparisons with other films and I'm talking about any film set I've worked on till today.

We're making individualistic content. So, sitting and comparing to another person's creativity, especially while you're trying to create something, it would only pull you back. I haven't given it that much thought. This film was made. If people make co-relations to it, that's great. Maybe it is similar, who knows? But it's also an individual project that many worked on.

As an actor, I can't pretend or act like Anushka Sharma from Phillauri. Even if I study her completely, it would never be what she did because I'm doing it. So, again, comparison is inevitable but again, because it's based on perception. Hopefully it would be different and a good kind of different.

Pratik Gandhi is a star on OTT and in Gujarati cinema. He is trying his hand at Bollywood much like you are and you play lovers on screen. Tell me about your bonding with him.

Pratik is not trying his hand at anything. He's a great actor. He's ridiculously experienced. Most actors rub off on each other on sets. His energy and my energy would rub off on each other. You're playing on somebody else's emotions. Even when I'm not talking to my mother, I think it is my mother but when she talks to me, I'm responding to her.

That way, Pratik had a very good energy. If I got stuck somewhere and wasn't able to perform, he wouldn't come up to me and tell me that it's not right. He would take his own acting up a notch so that I get to react to that.

There was an insanely healthy equation which doesn't happen often with actors. They're always focused on delivering their best performance. It was very nice delivering that performance with him and I'm very thankful to him for that.

Otherwise, generally, Pratik would bring food from home, sometimes daal baati. Pratik and my director are both Gujarati so they have this bond going. I'm half Gujarati so when I heard them talk in Gujarati the first time and thought I'll also talk in Gujarati. Pratik looked at me and it was the first time we were meeting. He then asked if they should talk in English. I would be like my nani would get so embarassed right now. We had an unlimited supply of dhokla on sets. Pratik's daughter Miraya came on sets and we would play games. She called me aunty which was the first time anybody called me aunty.

And you were okay with that?

(Surprised) No. I was like didi bula lo, not aunty. I'm not there yet. It was a hilarious moment but I took it because she's very cute. Overall, I really enjoyed working with Pratik and Jackie dada for that matter. He's toh another league only.

Any spontaneous scene that comes to mind - which Pratik helped you through? Was there a moment that just stuck with you?

Yes. I didn't receive help at all in this. It's just a moment that stuck with me. It was a learning experience. There's one scene where Jackie dada is a ghost in the movie and I can't see or hear him. Pratik is the only one who can see him and he's such a good actor that once he understands the gist of the scene, he can change his dialogues from left, right and centre - it can go anywhere. I had nothing to do in this scene. I had an aarti ka thali in my hand. I had to walk forward, turn around, somebody would say something and I had to turn around and react, which happens twice. Jackie dada doesn't remember all his lines. There's an AD that says his line if he forgets his lines. I can't see Jackie dada but I'm hearing his lines from two places. The scene keeps changing and I lost all my cues of where to turn and on which line. Between Jackie dada, Hardik sir and Pratik, I was just supported really well. I had the ability to tell them what was happening and ask if they could somehow manage it. They were very helpful and the scene has turned out way better than I expected.

Where do we see you next? Your upcoming projects?

I am shooting for something but am not at the liberty to talk about it. It's just exciting, is all I can say.

Any idea about the announcements? When can we expect the announcements?

I don't participate in those things. My work is between action and cut. Promotions for me is also an add-on. I now understand that it is a part of my job. We shot Atithi one and a half years ago. Between then and now, I have spoken to my director twice. There are many people involved in making a project successful. Everybody has their job. Mine is to do my best in what I do. The rest can announce when they feel like it. I'll continue shooting and even if they still haven't announced, they'll do it when they have to. That's my approach to things. Hardik sir called me a week back to inform me that our film is releasing on Zee5 and I was shocked. I don't ask.

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