I remember in the lockdown when I decided to pick and watch Khuda Haafiz for a movie night, it was one of the best decisions I made. Well, the film did manage to pull my heartstrings and it was all thanks to Nargis played by Shivaleeka Oberoi and Sameer played by Vidyut Jammwal. Now when a sequel to this Faruk Kabir directorial called Khuda Haafiz 2 was announced, I was totally eager to know how this story goes forward and the trailer left only managed to leave me intrigued. Keeping all these factors in mind, I decided to get into a conversation with Shivaleeka and I was only charmed by this gorgeous girl.
We spoke about how she bagged the film to play a mother at such an early stage in her career and everything else related to KhudaHaafiz Chapter 2 Agni Pariksha.
Before you read the interview, watch the film’s trailer here:
Read the excerpts from her interview here:
How excited are you being so close to Khuda Haafiz 2‘s release that too in theatres?
I am very excited. I feel this time the responsibility is so much. People keep saying that sequels don’t work, so it’s a responsibility of changing people’s thinking towards sequels. My film is releasing in theaters after 2 years.
Was it surreal to see all the love that the first part received? Was it expected?
It was very unexpected. Not in my wildest dreams had I thought that Covid will happen, and my film that was shot for the big screen and do wonders, will be shown on OTT and the whole world will watch it. And it will become a superhit. Because of the love we received, we had the courage to make a part two.
Were there any qualms or scepticism about playing a mother on screen?
It’s my third film and I am very young to play a mom on screen. When I got the brief, I honestly thought that people are going to typecast me and only give me mom roles, my career would probably finish after this. But when I read the script I honestly thought that people don’t really talk about adoption, there are so many social issues that people don’t talk about. I wanted to do justice to the character, so I went for it without thinking anything else. If I would have put too much of brains into it, I wouldn’t have been able to pull it of.
How close are you to Nargis?
I feel, not everybody writes a character like Nargis, neither do actresses perform it so early in life. I may not have gone through as much trauma as Nargis has, but I have had my own set of struggles. My journey has been very tough, especially to get my debut. I started of very young in my life, just like Nargis. I see immense strength in Nargis and because of playing this part I have derived a lot of strength from her. Playing real life characters is the toughest thing to do. Khuda Haafiz 2 is an answer to those people who complained they didn’t see much of Nargis. You will see what she went through in this film. A person who has gone through so much never starts a fresh in life. Till Covid I didn’t really know what mental health was, playing Nargis has actually made me more aware.
Tell me so how did you get on board with this film?
I auditioned for this film thrice, Kumarji saw a lot of scope in me. It was a big shocker for me to see such a big producer show so much of trust in me. This was just my second project, my first hadn’t done very well in theatres. After I met Faruk sir, we did some readings together and even he saw Nargis in me. I was very nervous meeting Vidyut for the first time, I thought he is very experienced and I am like a child in front of him. But the first thing he saw me and said was, ‘tu toh real life main zyada better lagti hai.’ Which he said is a good thing, because it can charm the viewers even better on-screen.
Since Nargis is such a tough character to play because of the intensity, was it difficult to snap out of it?
I had cut off from my family for this film, it had been a month when I was shooting in Lucknow and I hadn’t spoken at home. When I am doing an intense film, I don’t feel like snapping out. My mom called me up on the last day of my shoot it was 1 am in the night, and she is like do you even know that we are alive? Nargis has taken over me. A lot of memories are attached with Khuda Haafiz, it has made me a better actor. I can do intense scenes very easily. Faruk sir tells me, I can cry anywhere and everywhere.
What’s next now?
There is something very interesting happening. After Khuda Haafiz I thought to myself that it will be very wrong if I do a realistic character like Nargis again. I need to something different, it will be announced soon and is a very different genre. Very tough, but after playing Nargis I can take on any character easily.
Khuda Haafiz Chapter 2 Agni Pariksha will release in theatres on 8th July and I am quite excited to watch it.