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Saturday, July 04, 2020

Srishti Shrivastava: Had no idea I would be working with Ayushmann and Big B in Gulabo Sitabo

Srishti Shrivastava on playing the fiery Guddo in Gulabo Sitabo, how she prepared for the Shoojit Sircar film and receiving the letter of appreciation from Amitabh Bachchan.

Written by Mimansa Shekhar | New Delhi | Published: June 25, 2020 12:13:20 pm
Srishti-Shrivastava gulabo sitabo guddo character Srishti Shrivastava has previously done films like Gully Boy, Dil Juunglee and OK Jaanu. (Photo: Srishti Shrivastava/Instagram)

Actor Srishti Shrivastava, who played the character of Guddo in Shoojit Sircar’s Gulabo Sitabo, had no idea the film would star Ayushmann Khurrana and Amitabh Bachchan. The movie, which recently released on Amazon Prime Video, has received a mixed response from the audience.

In a candid chat with, Srishti talked about playing fiery characters, how she prepared before going on the set and receiving a letter of appreciation from Amitabh Bachchan.

Here are excerpts from the conversation:

Q. What was your reaction when you watched Gulabo Sitabo?

I knew the script, but when I finally watched the whole film, I did not expect it to take me on this journey, so effortlessly. Shoojit Sircar enjoys creating such a world. He told me a few days before the release that it is a slice of life film, like a special dish he has prepared. Those who like it will love it and those who won’t, will never do! He is very secure in what he creates.

Q. How did Gulabo Sitabo happen for you?

Jogi sir (Jogi Casting) had called me for the audition. I was told that Guddo was the character, Shoojit sir was directing and Juhi (Chaturvedi) ma’am had written it. They gave me two scenes to work on – one was with Vijay Raaz sir and one was with Mirza (Bachchan’s character). When I showed up at their office for the audition, they began dropping bombs at me. I didn’t know the film would have Ayushmann playing my brother and Mirza was Amitabh Bachchan. I got so excited. The audition was pretty nice. I went home thinking that I really want this part. After two weeks, I was onboard.

Q. Guddo is one of the most fiery characters in the film, very unlike what we expect from a small town girl. How did you prepare?

The preparation depends on the character I play. Of course, I knew this girl is from Lucknow, this is her background and she has many people at home. But this was just a character brief that Shoojit sir and Juhi Chaturvedi gave me. Then I worked on it further as I had to be prepared before I went on set.

Q. How much of a Guddo are you in real life?

I’m still figuring that out. The subtext that runs within me is of Guddo. She is so fearless. But I can’t speak out like her.

Q. With such popular and veteran actors on set, does it get intimidating?

I had decided before going on set that I was not going to be scared, otherwise my performance would be affected. On set, I observed all the actors, writers, ADs rather than getting intimidated, because they were so good at their work. After one scene, I remember, Bachchan sir was sitting next to me and because he had so much make-up, he was using a fan. He turned it towards me and asked, ‘Are you getting the air?’ I felt like I was on the moon even with that little concern (laughs).

Q. You even received the famous Amitabh Bachchan appreciation letter. Tell us more.

I got a call asking for my address. They said it was for some promotional stuff. I had just got back home from a rehearsal and slept. When I woke up around 6 pm, my mom was screaming at the top of her voice. She told me about the letter. I was screaming and crying too. And the man who had come with the huge bouquet and letter was standing there confused (laughs). It was the best moment of my life.

Q. You’ve somehow managed to pick gutsy, badass female characters, including in Gully Boy. Is that part of a plan?

Shoojit sir explained that less is more, when it came to my character. That was very exciting for me. Guddo holds the scene together even when she is in the background, simply observing. That’s what I had to understand.

With Girliyapa, I got lucky with some characters. And with Gully Boy, I blindly decided to go with Albina because when I auditioned, I knew this is the “baap” of all scenes (Alia Bhatt and her fallout scene) and also because it was being directed by Zoya Akhtar. I absolutely love her work. It wasn’t about the length of the role; I went for the experience.

gully boy alia bhatt Srishti Shrivastava fight scene Srishti Shrivastava in a still from Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy.

Q. Did rejections ever demotivate you?

Rejections will always happen. There are times when you are shooting for four things simultaneously, and there are times when you are sitting at home for months. Over these five years, I’ve experienced both. Sometimes, I did wonder if I would make it, but my family has supported me a lot. I also had theatre to keep me confident. There are people who want to work with new faces and trust new talent, like Shoojit sir, Zoya Akhtar.

Q. What kind of work do you wish to do now?

I love Tabu and Alia Bhatt’s work. I loved Munnabhai and want to play such a part. I wish Rohit Shetty calls me and says ‘I’ve made Simmba, Singham. Now I’m making a female cop film.’ I want to play a really funny female cop and have a loverboy and shoot villains! I want to do a dance film too, because I’m a trained dancer.

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