She has been part of some of the biggest TV shows “Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii” and “Bade Acche Laggte Hain” and has played much-loved roles. Still, when Sakshi Tanwar bagged the role of Aamir Khan’s wife in Dangal.
She couldn’t believe it. “It’s one thing when your dreams come true, but for me, opposite Aamir Sir in Dangal was something I never could have even dreamt of,” she gushes. Here, the actress talks about how she bagged the role, what it was like acting with Aamir and comparisons with Sultan...
How did the role in Dangal come about?
I got a call from Mukesh Chhabria’s office that they are considering me for a role as Aamir Sir’s wife in Dangal. First, I thought ‘koi mazaak hai’, but they assured me that they really wanted me to audition. I did it with little expectations and I remember Mukesh had told me ‘aankh band karke karlo’. After a couple of days, I got a call saying Aamir Sir wanted to meet me, so I went to his office. I did another audition — a scene with him. They asked me for my availability, etc. When I was returning home that evening, I got a message from Aamir Sir. I called him back and he said ‘Welcome to Dangal, you are on board’. Recently, through one of Aamir Sir’s interviews, I got to know that I was actually his mother’s choice for the role.
What was your reaction after you bagged the role?
First I went blank… And when it sunk in I felt happy, thrilled, excited and perhaps overwhelmed as well.. Still difficult to describe in words.
While it’s a big deal to work with Aamir Khan, it is also true in a film with him the heroine doesn’t have much scope for performance…
I don’t feel that is true. In Dangal everyone has got enough screen space and a lot of scope for performance. In any case, I go by my instinct and choose a role that makes me happy. So the length of the role doesn’t really matter. I was happy to be a part of the film even when I thought it would be a four scene role. When they sent me the script and I read it, I realised the character was there throughout.
The movie is a biopic revolving around Mahavir Phogat and his daughters Geeta and Babita. What is the mother’s contribution in it?
My character Daya Kaur (the mother) is a bridge at times, the bond, the link between the father and the daughters. As a mother she may not agree to what her husband says, but believes in his conviction and stands by him. Sometimes wife, sometimes mother… that dichotomy of role playing… it had shades of types I loved portraying. In her own way, she is conflicted and yet convinced.
Tell us how is Aamir as a co-star and your experience of working with him?
With his serious demeanour I thought he would be aloof and would like his space, but to my surprise his child-like enthusiasm and friendly attitude kept him involved and engaged with the entire cast and crew throughout the shoot. He is very passionate about his work and that passion is very infectious. Working with him has been an inspiring and cherishable experience.
From the trailers we can see that you have got into the character so much that it looks completely natural. What kind of preparation did you do for the role?
My casting was amongst the last ones to get finalised so when I joined the team the others had finished their language training sessions and readings. Since we did not have much time Sunitaji (language teacher) came home to teach me. I recorded all the dialogues in her voice on my phone and I would keep listening whenever I had time. But Sunitaji was so good that I got the hang of the language in two-three days.
Also, I am from Alwar (border of Haryana) so I understand the set-up and backdrop that the film has. This helped me relate to the speech and the body language that the role required. Also the director, Nitesh sir, had absolute clarity about the character. He would give such precise instructions about the emotion behind the lines that I did not have to do much. Moreover, I had such lovely actors to work with. Aamir sir and the girls. So amazing… I would just react to whatever they would say or do and my job was done!
Demonetisation has affected the collections at the box office. Do you think even Dangal will fall prey to that?
I hope not. My job as an actor is to put up a convincing performance and once it’s done… it’s more like sitting for an exam… paper done and now all we can wait for are the results. (Smiles)
Salman Khan played a wrestler in Sultan and now Aamir is playing one in Dangal. People are already drawing comparisons…
I would say it’s a good time for wrestling/wrestlers in India with the whole country’s attention towards the sport. And while the comparisons are bound to happen, let’s not forget about the girls.. After all, ‘Mhaari chhoriyaan chhoron se kam hain ke’.