Sheeba Chadha, who’s been in show business for 20 years, has films like Parzania, Delhi-6, Luck By Chance, Talaash and Dum Laga Ke Haisha, apart from several TV shows to her credit. The ace actor was also recently part of two successful web shows – Bandish Bandits and Mirzapur 2.
However, many still remember Sheeba from Sanjay Leela Bhansali directorial Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), which also marked her acting debut.
Here’s what Sheeba Chadha shared about Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam:
1. How did you land Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam?
When I came to Mumbai from Delhi, my first project was Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam with Sanjay Leela Bhansali. My friend from theatre, Kenneth Philips was writing the film along with Sanjay. He asked me to meet Sanjay. It was all very quick. There was one meeting, and Sanjay did one workshop with the actors. I remember Vinay Pathak was there, and a couple of others. That workshop was like an audition where he set up some pretty dramatic situations, and everybody had to play it out. It was like doing a scene, but impromptu. You make up the lines and go along with the flow.
2. What do you remember of your first day on set?
First day of the shoot is impossible to remember. It is 20 years back in 1990s. We shot the entire movie in Film City, where they had made this huge set. Salman and Aishwarya had gone to Rajasthan for some outdoor shoot. The second half of the film was shot in Prague. But for us who played the family, we shot for several days in Film City. They had recreated a small haveli of Gujarat.
3. Were you nervous? How many retakes did you take?
I don’t remember taking many retakes and wasn’t really nervous. I was doing another TV serial called Gaatha with Ramesh Sippy simultaneously. It was a night shoot for the show, and I kept forgetting a dialogue. That was the only time I remember being nervous in front of the camera. But in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, it was all okay.
4. How was the rapport with your co-stars when you got to meet or work with them again later?
We already knew many people in the supporting cast. Some were also close friends. That was a very comfortable set-up. Sanjay is a lovely person, but he’s a very hard taskmaster too. It was his first big film, so he had this dynamic and volatile side to him on set. Now, he has really mellowed down. He has tremendous regard for talent whose work he likes. He’s like a protective parent for his cast.
I remember we were shooting a song and a random guy gatecrashed the set and Sanjay lost it!
Salman was a huge star back then too. As for Aishwarya, I think it was one of her first films. She was truly gracious and lovely to hang out with. And she was insanely gorgeous. Vikramaditya Motwane was an assistant on that film too..
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5. If given a chance to go back to your debut role, what would you like to change or do better?
When you look at something 20 years later, you want to change 100 things. Sanjay’s work is very operatic. Nothing is at a normal pitch. So that sometimes comes across very strongly. I’d like to see if one can be in that set-up and still try to manage a pitch that is not operatic.
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