Pihu Sand on working with Anil Kapoor in Fanney Khan: 'He's passionate and full of energy, like a bomb'
Irrespective of the fate of Fanney Khan at the box office, Pihu Sand can rejoice at the fact that when it came to the selection of Lata's character, she sailed to make the final cut from among 500 candidates. It is no mean achievement for someone who auditioned for a film for the first time.
"An overweight girl who is fond of singing — was the only brief that was given to me before my audition. We were called by Mukesh Chhabra’s office and were asked to perform two scenes. A radio silence followed for next four months and then we were called again. This time, some 20 girls were selected for a workshop and then the number trickled down to five. When the final five were being screen tested, the entire procedure was being recorded, which was being watched by Atul (Manjrekar) sir, Rakeysh (Omprakash Mehra) sir and Bharti ma’am in another room. Later, Atul sir gave us tasks to improvise things. I think it was only then they got convinced of me," reveals Pihu.
Pihu, who plays the role of Anil Kapoor’s overweight daughter in Fanney Khan, has inherited the acting gene from her family. While his father passed out from National School of Drama (NSD) in 1990, her mother too graduated from the same institute in 1993. The actor, who is currently pursuing her final year of graduation in philosophy, considers that she was virtually raised backstage because of her mom’s theatre connection. "I was always interested in becoming an actress and because of my family background, I knew most people from the industry. I consider most people from the industry as my own relatives, as I don’t have relatives in Mumbai. The conversations at home often centered around acting and films and so got attracted to it." Pihu adds that it was a casual monologue she had done in her college which fetched her appreciation, and boosted her confidence to take acting as a profession. "Initially, I thought I should lose my weight because normally, it’s the thin people who are preferred but I was lucky that I auditioned in this size for the first time and managed to get the role in Fanney Khan."
Fanney Khan, apart from being a father-daughter story, also tackles the subject of body shaming. Pihu believes she is lucky that she got the role as now she can tell the world, through her character, about the trauma she went through as a child. "I was teased by boys about my weight when I was a child. I used to sing and dance lot during my school days so I was a popular kid. I was a fairly talented kid in my school but most of the students never paid attention to my skill sets. They only thought that I was overweight and the teasing continued. I used to often cry at home but my parents were very supportive and encouraged me to do what I felt like."
In such situations and at such a tender age, kids normally seek resort in their role models for inspiration. "I had no role model at that time. I never saw it from that perspective because after a point, I had fully comprehended that being overweight was not an issue for me. I did get inspired from Bhumi Pednekar because she had actually gained weight for her debut film and then aced her role. I was taught by my parents that if you know your work then nothing else matters." Ask her if the film will be able to reduce incidents of body shaming after its release and the actress believes that it is difficult to come to a conclusion. "It’s our responsibility to inform everyone and if such incidents register a fall then it’s all great. I am appreciative of people of even talking or sinking in a thought that its normal to be fat. It’s important to lose weight because of health reasons otherwise being overweight is not a bad thing. Why is it that being thin or being normal size is considered to be the apt thing? I could never comprehend this."
Quiz her about Anil Kapoor and she seems mesmerized with his energy. The only word she utters to describe him is 'jhakaas'. "How can anyone say he is 61. He looks more like a 40-year-old. He is so passionate and has so much of energy. He is like a bomb. He was only required to gives cues on my first day of shoot and could have easily asked the director for some arrangement but he knew that it was my first day, and thus was there to give my cues for every take. Sharing and concern about the actor in front of you is so important and this is what makes a complete film." The trained Kathak dancer, who also knows a bit of jazz, was asked to put on an extra 20 kg for her role.
Ask her what has been her biggest filmi moment till date and she recalls meeting Amitabh Bachchan on the sets of Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC). "I cried when I met him on the sets of KBC not because I was meeting him for the first time but because his character had died in Paa."
The actress, who harbours desire of gossiping with Shah Rukh Khan someday, has her head firmly on her shoulders. Ask her how will she handle her fame post-release and she comes up with a balanced answer. "Stardom and fame will come to me only if I do good work and thus, it’s important for me keep doing work."
Updated Date: Aug 08, 2018 11:48:52 IST
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