The good thing about Bollywood is that it has opened up to embracing new-comers from far flung corners of the world. And with the zara-hatke stories that have come to define new Bollywood, there is enough space for everybody to enjoy more than just the proverbial fifteen minutes of fame.
The past few years have seen a number of foreigners and people of Indian origin, making a mark on the silver screen. From the half-German Evelyn Sharma to Punjabi kudi Sunny Leone and lately, Eli Avram – the flavours in Bollywood films have been spiced up with a generous dose of pretty newcomers.
Among them is Sabina Sheema, an Indian girl, born and brought-up in London. She has bagged a major role in What The Fish, that releases this Friday.
In an exclusive chat with Team MissMalini, Sabina tells us about her journey and her experience of working with the lovely Dimple Kapadia.
Team MissMalini: Give us a little background about yourself and the kind of acting and modeling work you have done in India?
Sabina Sheema: I’m a British born Punjabi girl. I completed my studies in London and then decided to do an acting course in Mumbai. I joined Anupam Kher‘s Actor Prepares in Mumbai and then returned back to London. A little while later, I decided to move to Mumbai and entered the Zee Cine Stars Ki Khoj competition as a wild card entry. No prizes for guessing -I won it! After that, I auditioned and got selected as a main lead for a dance based movie called Fast Forward, released in 2009. I, then had my second release in 2010 in a suspense thriller called Nakshatra. I have also played one of the girls in the promotions of YRF’s Ladies vs Ricky Bahl. I now have my third release – What The Fish – which I’m really looking forward to.
Team MM: Why did you choose to come come to India to work in Bollywood?
SS: I chose to come to India as I have always wanted to be an actress. I grew up on both Hollywood and Bollywood movies, as do many other Brit-Asians, and have always loved acting and dancing, which Bollywood films are best known for. I’ve also always had the biggest crush on Shah Rukh Khan!
Team MM: How difficult was it for you to get a role in a Bollywood film?
SS: Fortunately for me, from the very first audition I gave in Mumbai, I got selected. That was for Fast Forward. I was very lucky like that as I have heard of many people waiting years before they get selected for a role in a movie. It gave me hope from there onwards.
Team MM: What are the challenges you need to face and how do you overcome them?
SS: The main challenge is survival. Away from my family and my comfort zone, in a city where thousands are chasing the same dream, it can be quite a challenge. Fortunately, Hindi cinema has changed for the better and non-established actors also get noticed and have the opportunity to make a place in this industry based on their talent. However, unfortunately, with that the competition increases and now you have to really work hard and fight for it. I am a very optimistic person and believe in myself and my talent to succeed. Giving up is not an option.
Team MM: What is your role in What The Fish?
SS: I play Dimple Kapadia’s niece in the film. She gives me the responsibility to take care of the house whilst she is away. However, as I play a model and have to leave too, I then pass the responsibility on to my fiance, which she is not keen on at all.
Team MM: What did you know about Dimple Kapadia before you took on the role?
SS: She is a superstar and as I said earlier, I have grown up watching Bollywood movies and being a big fan of Bollywood, I was very well aware of Dimple Kapadia. I’ve watched many of her films, my favourite being Bobby. When I found out that Dimple ma’am was in the film and that all my scenes are with her, I immediately said yes and was very excited. I count myself luckier than the rest of the cast as I got to actually work with her.
Team MM: What did you learn from Dimple while working on this film with her?
SS: I learnt quite a few things and loved so many things about her. Being the star that she is and being the only star on set, it was great to see how warm she was towards everybody. She was so focused and wanted to rehearse the scenes with me and made me feel very comfortable. She carries herself off so well. She made sure she knew her lines, was getting the emotions right, took care of her appearance even though she had her staff for that. It was amazing to see that after years in the industry and so much experience, how much detail and effort she put into her work. I hope many years down the line, if I’m in her position, I would like to be just like that! I was in awe of her and kept staring at her, until she used to catch me which was quite embarrassing!
Team MM: Are there any other films that you are currently working on?
SS: Currently, I am not working on any other project. There a few that should be starting soon but can’t really say much about them yet.