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Dabangg 2 actor Sandeepa Dhar spills the beans on working with director Imtiaz Ali

12:00 AM Dec 05, 2021 | Rohit Bhatnagar

In 2010, Sandeepa Dhar entered tinseltown with Isi Life Mein. She also acted in films like Heropanti and Dabangg 2. Currently, the actress is extremely popular on the OTT scene, with shows like Mum Bhai, Abhay and Bisaat Khel Shatranj Ka under her belt. We caught up with her for an exclusive conversation. Excerpts:

Do you feel the OTT boom in the pandemic benefitted you as an actor?
While the pandemic was a chaotic thing that happened in our lives, I feel it was like a boon to many actors like me. I have worked the most during this entire phase, shooting three series consecutively, which allowed me to explore myself more as an actor. OTT is a very fair medium; it’s only based on your talent. I feel this is one of the best things that has happened to the industry that has changed the whole dynamics. Earlier, people who were doing television were not given a chance to do films since they were too exposed. Also, people have gotten used to watching free content. I am not sure people are willing to spend thousands of dollars to watch a film in a theatre.

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Your last show Chattis Aur Maina had the backdrop of dance... It was synonymous with you...
It had come to me at the point when I shot Bisaat and Mai, and both of them were extremely intense and dramatic shows, so I wanted to break the pattern and explore something lighter. I had cried so much in both the shows (jokes). I was clear that if I am doing something with the backdrop of dancing, it had to have a story. I had offers before, but none had stories. But this show was about women empowerment, which I strongly believed in and gave a different perspective on the dance profession. The writer Sadh was brave enough to write a story like this. Maina is a very today’s girl.

Ever since you have entered show business, you have been consciously playing substantial women roles, plus OTT has uplifted such roles too... Your take?
I am a sucker for such powerful roles. I don’t like to see women crying or pitying since I have grown up seeing strong women around me. I tend to grab such roles that are progressive. I have always shied away from the films wherein heroines are just there to dance. I don’t do films to get mileage from popular male actors. We do talk about feminism, but that’s not the reality yet, it is a male dominant set-up, but there are certain actors who are changing this.

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We have heard that you are doing a series with Imtiaz Ali?
I was shooting in a remote area of Bhopal with limited network, and I was told that Imtiaz wanted to do a video call with me, and I was like, what? It is every actor’s dream to work with him. I was least bothered whether I’ll get to play this part or not but getting validation from a director like him was enough for me. It felt like an achievement and a dream come true. It is an out-and-out comedy, and I am really kicked about it. He keeps sending me Kashmiri food.

Tell us something about Mai?
I always wanted to do a series with Atul (Mongia) sir; an ex-casting director turned writer and director. It has an amazing set of actors. Sakshi Tanwar is headlining the show. It is a thriller and has an amazing story. I wasn’t sure whether I would get through the audition. It was a learning experience. Clean Slate Films of Anushka Sharma have been the best producers by far.

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You are also doing a short film with Kabir Sadanand...
It is called Challava, and I am playing a grey character. Again it’s something which I haven’t done in the past. It is a 20-min film, and we finished it in three days in Bhopal.

How was your experience shooting your first music video with B Praak?
I was waiting for the right one to start with. The moment I heard the song, I knew I had to be a part of it. It is a dance pace song and has the similar team, who created the Bijlee bijlee song by Hardy Sandhu. I am glad that I have waited for the right opportunity.

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