'If I cared about what is being said and written about me, then I'd get consumed by it and wouldn't have time for what I'm doing.'
The Internet knows her as the new love in Hrithik Roshan's life, but there is much more to Saba Azad than her relationship.
The young actress has been doing theatre since she was five years old.
She is a musician with a band and has sung for several films.
She is a trained dancer.
She is an actor, who aspires to produce and direct.
Above all, she's a wonderful conversationalist, who can keep you engaged for the better part of an hour.
Chatting with Rediff.Com Senior Contributor Roshmila Bhattacharya, Saba says, "People have a lot of time out there to speculate about who I am and what I'm doing with my life. I don't."
The first of a two-part interview:
Playwright-director Safdar Hashmi was your uncle, right?
I took my first step into theatre with my mamu's Jana Natya Manch when I was around five.
They did street theatre all year which I couldn't do as I was a child.
But they had one stage production a year and I was a part of Moteram Ka Satyagrah.
One of my earliest memories is staying in the Salt Lake stadium while touring Kolkata.
Later, I became the token child in their plays and a part of the choir, doing a lot of singing.
Theatre became the mainstay in my life.
I work regularly with Motley (Naseeruddin Shah's theatre group). Imaad (Shah) and I have started our own theatre company, Skins.
What's the next production?
Nothing really, but you read something and it's 'Hey, let's do this'. So who knows, we could be mounting a play by the end of the year!
Right now, I'm excited about making films, not just acting.
I'm hoping that in a few years, I can collaborate with like-minded people and get into production and direction.
Till then, there's a short film, the second season of the Web series Rocket Boys, and I'm reading a bunch of scripts.
The OTT explosion makes it a good time for many of us because of the variety of work.
Can we hope to see Hrithik Roshan and you together on screen some day, given that after a repeat watch of Rocket Boys, he lauded you as one of the finest actors he has ever seen?
That's the last thing on either of our minds.
He has his work, I have mine, and everyone's happy in their own work.
He is a good friend?
That's pretty obvious.
But I enjoy my privacy, so I will leave it at that.
Obviously, you don't read a lot of what's being written about the two of you?
If I cared about what is being said and written about me, then I'd get consumed by it and wouldn't have time for what I'm doing.
People have a lot of time out there to speculate about who I am and what I'm doing with my life. I don't.
Everyone's entitled to their opinion, that's the right to freedom, while I carry on with my life.
Let's talk about Rocket Boys in which you played Parvana 'Pipsy' Irani. What was it like recreating history in this biographical series?
It was like going back to school as a history student, forever fascinated by the subject.
I did a self-test, was cast after several rounds, then the lockdown happened and it was a long wait for the shooting to start.
With one wave followed by the next, we had to work around COVID, but fortunately, Abhay Pannu (writer-director) knew the script down to the smallest detail, so when we went for rehearsals, we knew exactly why we had been cast and what he wanted while getting the freedom to improvise.
It was fun jamming with Jim Sarbh (who plays Homi Bhabha) who IS also a theatre actor. In every take, we did something different.
While Pipsy is a straightforward character, it was fun playing a woman in the 1940s, who is independent, a lawyer, and way ahead of her times.
She is in love with this man (Homi), but since he can't give her what she wants from life, she makes her own life. But they keep coming back to each other.
She's no bechari Bharatiya nari.
There's a graceful strength in her which I enjoyed, and a lot left unsaid between Homi and her, which speaks through silence.
I'm looking forward to Season 2.
Why don't we see you in more films and series?
I guess because not too much exciting stuff is coming my way and unless you are a writer and director yourself, you have to wait for someone else to imagine you in a part.
In the interim, I am a singer and a musician.