Sarika: I would love to watch Vishwaroopam
Sarika doesn't act in too many films nowadays, but she is doing a cameo in Bejoy Nambiar's upcoming film David.
Unusually, the cameo is actually an item number, which has been shot in qawaal style. The song is a remix of the old classic Sufi Qawwalli Damadam Mast Kalande, originally sung by Runa Laila. Rekha Bhardwaj has done the vocals for the new version.
In this brief conversation with Sonil Dedhia, Sarika talks about the experience of shooting for the song, why she is very selective about her films and why she thinks item numbers are an integral part of the film.
You repeatedly get labelled as choosy but you remain unperturbed by it...
I don't get enough roles that I am excited about. I wish that there were more scripts where actresses have a better screen time. Unfortunately, it doesn't happen in our films.
At the same time, you don't mind doing a cameo in a film like Jab Tak Hai Jaan?
No, I don't mind doing a cameo. I did Jab Tak Hai Jaan purely for Yash uncle (Yash Chopra).
I am just looking for good roles. I don't want to do a film just for the heck of it. I have always maintained that the roles that I do should have some meaning.
Image: Sarika in David
'Any actress would have done anything to be a part of this song'
Do you think too much before choosing a film?
Yes, I do, because if the film doesn't work, people are going to say they didn't love my performance. Nobody's going to put the blame on the director or the scriptwriter.
What made you do Dama Dam Mast Qalandar in David?
It was just the song. I've always loved Dama Dam Mast Qalandar and it has always been such an iconic song.
I am a huge fan of this song and also the singer Runa Laila. Any actress would have done anything to be a part of this song. I never thought I would be a part of it.
What was your reaction when Bejoy approached you for this song?
I was very happy but Bejoy was very hesitant to ask me. When I agreed to do this song he went quiet for some time. He didn't respond at all (laughs).
Image: Sarika in David
'It was so much fun dancing in front of the camera again'
Was Bejoy hesitant because he had approached you earlier for a role and you rejected it?
Yes, he had approached me but things didn't work out. This time he was hesitant because he must have thought that I would not agree to this one either. He was surprised that I was more excited about it than he was.
How was your experience of working with Bejoy?
Bejoy is a great director. I like the concept of the film. The narrative of the film is very interesting. There are three stories in the same film and Bejoy knew exactly what he wanted from each and every one of his cast and crew members.
I haven't seen the film but by looking at the promos, I can say that he has achieved what he had set out to do.
How did you go about preparing for the song?
We didn't have a lot of time to prepare for the song. I was shooting in Pune for another film. I adjusted my dates and we shot this song in one day.
I did look at Runa Laila's video just to get the feel of the song. We wanted to get the same energy; we didn't want to imitate her at all.
We wrapped the song in half a day. It was so much fun dancing in front of the camera again.
Image: Sarika in Kacchan Limboo
'Filmmakers include item songs to cater to a certain audience'
A lot of people consider your song an item number in the film.
An item number can just be another song in a film by an actor who is not part of the rest of the film.
In present times, item numbers have been defined in a completely different manner. I can say my song is an item number because I am not contributing anything else in the film.
Almost every film today has an item number. What is your opinion about that?
Item numbers are becoming regular features in films because they work. Filmmakers include item songs to cater to a certain audience that wants to see these songs. If the people decide not to watch it, filmmakers will not include an item number. .Do you plan to see Kamal Haasan's Vishwaropam?
Yes, if I am in town I would love to watch it. I watch all the films.
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar