Actress Shikha Talsania refuses to be typecast as the “fat person”.
If you’ve watched Veere Di Wedding, you’re definitely wondering who this talented actress Shikha Talsania is, and where has she been hiding all this while. A familiar face you can’t quite place. And you’re right, you’ve seen her before. Shikha played Ranbir Kapoor’s super-supportive gal-pal in the 2009 hit Wake Up Sid.
And though that film did get people to take notice of her, she hasn’t had an easy journey since then. “I was offered quite a number of roles, but none that I wanted to take on. They were all about being fat and eating non-stop,” Shikha says, with a laugh.
Indian cinema has a cookie-cutter approach to casting. And unfortunately, there’s only one kind of role for anyone with even an ounce of fat on their body. But Shikha wasn’t willing to fall into that trap. “It was not easy to say no to work. Because there are bills to pay, a household to run. The hunger of an actor eats into your self-confidence,” she says.
But she’s glad she firmly stuck to her beliefs. Today, everyone’s only talking about her talent.
“Rhea Kapoor knew me from the time I did Wake Up Sid. When this part in Veere Di Wedding was offered to me through casting director Aseem Chabria, I grabbed it without a second thought. To me, it was godsend. I was one of the four leads, and that did it for me,” she says.
Shikha, who plays a mother in the film, has done such a role for the first time. “Neither am I am married nor am I a mother. But my character, Meera, is someone I know well in real life. Kalindi (played by Kareena Kapoor Khan), Avni (played by Sonam Kapoor Ahuja), Sakshi (played by Swara Bhaskar) and Meera are all eminently relatable. I think that’s what has worked for the film,” she says.
The actress is “shocked” by all the recognition that is suddenly coming her way. “Shocked in a good way. Though I haven’t been out that much to see the reactions, the audience’s response to the film and to me is overwhelming. I am so glad I waited for Veere Di Wedding to happen. If I had done some of the other stuff offered to me, this may not have come my way.”
For all of you who’ve googled “Who is Shikha Talsania?” She’s the daughter of renowned comedian Tiku Talsania, who dominated Hindi cinema, television and theatre in the 90s. But she’s never used her father’s name to get work.
“When I announced to my parents that I wanted to be an actor, they said, ‘Sure, go out there and do it on your own’. I have never brought up my father’s name when looking for work. Not that I hid the fact that I am his daughter. But my father and I were very clear that I had to do it on my own,” says Shikha, who hopes to share a stage with her father someday. “We haven’t found anything suitable. But when it happens, I’ll be very nervous,” says the doting daughter.
Meanwhile, we want to know where we’ll be seeing her next. “It’s just been a few days since the film’s release. Let’s see what comes my way. For now, I am committed to doing a play titled Dekh Bahen, which is also a very relatable, slice-of-life piece,” Shikha says.