Shikha Talsania plays a young mother who marries without her parents’ consent in Shashanka Ghosh’s new film Veere Di Wedding. Along with her best friends (played by Kareena Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor and Swara Bhaskar), Talsania’s expletive-spewing Meera is comfortable in her own skin, and is there for her friends during thick and thin.
“The story as a whole is very interesting,” Talsania said ahead of the movie’s audio launch in Mumbai on Tuesday. “I don’t think we have seen something where there are four real women talking about the reality of today.”
Produced by Balaji Telefilms, Anil Kapoor Films & Communication Network, and Saffron Broadcast & Media Ltd, the romcom will be released on June 1.
Talsania remembered being called for a screen test by casting director Mukesh Chhabra for the role of Meera. She would have agreed to play any character in the film: male or female, she declared.
“When you watch the film you will understand that each character is very well etched out,” Talsania said. “That is not just for the four of us, but every character in the film. The Dilli-ness of it was just very beautiful. I would have actually wanted to play all the characters in the film: men, women everyone.”
Shikha Talsania made her big-screen debut in 2009 as Laxmi, the overachieving and body-conscious best friend of Ranbir Kapoor’s slacker in Ayan Mukerji’s Wake Up Sid. She has since in starred in short films, mini-series and My Friend Pinto (2011) and Midnight’s Children (2012).
“Wake Up Sid was such a lovely experience because I was like an Energizer bunny on that set,” Talsania recalled. “I was just so happy to be there with a lovely cast and crew. The experience as an actor to do a period film based on Salman Rushdie’s work in Midnight’s Children was amazing too. Everybody I met on these set have enriched my life.”
While she attributed her entry into the acting scene to growing up under her father, the seasoned actor Tiku Talsania, the actress says that she found her feet in the industry through her own efforts. “When you are a kid, you always want to have the profession your parents have,” Talsania said. “It took a lot of existential angst to figure out that acting was what I was passionate about and really enjoyed. I did had the question in my mind about whether I was doing this just because that’s the environment I had grown up in.”
In an interview with Times of India shortly before the release of Midnight’s Children, Talsania called herself a plus-sized actor. Does she still stand by her statement? Not anymore.
“My awareness has broadened a little bit, and I would like to say that I am not a plus-sized actor, I am just an actor,” she explained. “I think that was a faux pas of my youth back when I said it. I think that we are all just actors. We can be of any shape, size and for the lack of a better word, colour. Your skill set should matter more than your physicality, which should just be a layer. That should not define you.”
Talsania has been offered her share of cookie-cutter roles owing to her girth. “There is a typical type of role where the character is either hungry or horny,” she said. “I used to get a lot of calls earlier, where people said that despite being fat, she is pretty and despite being fat, she is funny. That used to really bother me. There are other things to human beings than that.”
The situation has changed since her debut, she asserted. “Having spent a few years in this industry, what is really heartening is to see that there are more scripts and films being made that are more well-rounded,” she said. “I am not just talking about women, but all characters. I am not saying that it is all rosy and fantastic. It does exist, but the awareness has become broader. It also depends on what you pick as an actor and what you write as an actor and what you write as a writer. We need to move away from the fact that one or two characteristics define a person.”