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'My parents are such phenomenal talents'

By ROSHMILA BHATTACHARYA
Last updated on: September 19, 2022 14:18 IST
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'For a very long time I could not bring myself to watch several of their films because I couldn't see them depressed, in trouble or dead on screen.'
'It was hard to separate my parents from their characters, so I stayed away.'
'It was only after I became an actor that it became a job requirement.'

Photograph: Kind courtesy Sanah Kapur/Instagram

Sanah Kapur has always celebrated her uniqueness.

Acting stalwarts Pankaj Kapur and Supriya Pathak's beautiful daughter just saw a release in Saroj Ka Rishta, and it takes her back to her recent wedding to acting stalwarts Seema and Manoj Pahwa's son, Mayank Pahwa.

"In October, Mayank and I will be shooting a short film together. It's the first time we will be working together and we will see if we can carry the comfort of our home and not create any havoc on set," Sanah tells Rediff.com Senior Contributor Roshmila Bhattacharya.

What's the one small thing that has changed since you got married?

(Sighs) That I have to decide what I want to eat every single time.

At home, mom would decide, but now, even though I don't have to cook, I have to set meals.

Have you changed for Mayank?

I'm sure I have made some compromises, become more understanding, moulded myself a bit, but I can't change who I am as a person.

It's not needed because the person who loves you should accept you the way you are.

Are you a foodie?

Oh yes, I love chaat, all kinds of food. Since I have a sweet tooth, I have a particular fondness for cakes and pastries, mithai and kulfi.

IMAGE: Sanah Kapur in Shaandaar.Photograph: Kind courtesy Sanah Kapur/Instagram

Since you are an actor, has being a particular size or the thought of going under the knife ever weighed on you?

Growing up, all of us struggle with self-doubt and insecurity. I have had my share too.

But while I believe one must be healthy, I don't think one needs to fit into a mould of social desirability.

I understand that we live in a world where we are constantly being watched and judged, but still, cosmetic surgery is a big no-no unless recommended by a doctor to avert a health mishap.

We are all special in our uniqueness and we will be loved for who we are without having to change to fit into a particular form.

But young actresses today are often spotted either entering and exiting a gym...

(Sighs) I don't go to the gym often enough.

Did any character demand a particular look or lifestyle change?

Shaandaar and Saroj Ka Rishta both did because the characters required a particular body type.

The amount of samosas I ate for Saroj, thank God, I'm a foodie!

Apart from these two, the other films did not call for any physical changes.

But if a character requires it, I will lose or gain weight. That's the fun of being an actor.

IMAGE: Sanah Kapur with mum Supriya Pathak. Photograph: Kind courtesy Sanah Kapur/Instagram

A recent film of yours that really made an impression was Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi...

Yes, it's a film very close to my heart because Seema (Pahwa) aunty, who is now my mother-in-law, directed it, and mom (Supriya Pathak) played the main lead.

I had a really tiny part, but it was exciting to play the younger version of my mom.

I have always been told that I look like my mom which is a huge compliment. It was this similarity that got me the role of the younger Amma.

It was different from anything I had done before. For one, I had never worn saris in my life.

Mom and I put our heads together to come up with distinctive gestures and expressions to connect the younger and older Ammas.

I don't know if people noticed, but we tried.

It was also amazing to see Seema aunty bring her vision to life. When an actor turns director, they have a very different understanding. I got to learn a lot from her.

There was another comedy, Khajoorah Pe Atke, co-starring both Seema and Manoj Pahlwa. You are a brave girl, working with phenomenal parents on one hand and equally talented in-laws on the other.

(Laughs) They were not my in-laws then, just Manoj uncle and Seema aunty whom I have known since I was really young.

Recently, I've shot for an Amazon show with my maasi (Ratna Pathak Shah).

I'm fortunate that many in my family are such great actors and I'm not going to pass up an opportunity with them because they are family and it's nerve-wrecking.

Khajoor Pe Atke had a lot of laughs with Manoj uncle and Seema aunty, Vinay (Pathak) sir and Dolly (Ahluwalia) aunty, who's practically like a mom.

I watched these senior actors improvise on the spot and I understood how difficult comedy is.

It is all about timing and momentum, and I hope I've learnt something from the experience.

 

IMAGE: Pankaj Kapur, Supriya Pathak, Shahid Kapoor, Ruhan Kapur, Mira Kapoor, Seema Pahwa and Manoj Pahwa at Sanah Kapur and Mayank Pawha's haldi ceremony. Photograph: Kind courtesy Vivaan Shah/Instagram

Your husband is also an actor, writer and director. What is the equation like between you as professionals?

I'm enjoying being married to someone who comes from the same industry.

My understanding of what his life demands is much better and vice versa.

It's great to sit down at the end of the day and have a healthy conversation about work with somebody who can give you suggestions.

Mayank also narrates stuff he has written to me and I offer my opinion. That's important to me.

Pick up a favourite film from your parents' repertoire...

No, no, no, I can't, can you?

Well, among Pankajji's films there is Maqbool...

Maqbool, of course.

Also, Dharam, Blue Umbrella... heck every performance leaves you awed.

I can't pick a favourite because both my parents are such phenomenal talents.

Also, for a very long time I could not bring myself to watch several of their films because I couldn't see them depressed, in trouble or dead on screen.

It was hard to separate my parents from their characters, so I stayed away.

It was only after I became an actor that it became a job requirement.

IMAGE: Sanah Kapur with elder brother Shahid Kapoor at her wedding. Photograph: Kind courtesy Shahid Kapoor/Instagram

Is your younger brother Ruhaan also interested in acting?

Yes, he's training himself, getting ready to follow in our parents' footsteps. Let's see when he jumps in.

How would you evaluate Shahid as an actor?

He's brilliant!

Granted that I'm biased because I love bhaiya, but as a performer, everyone can see how he changes himself for every character, bringing in different flavours.

I liked his performance in Haider a lot, but I have a soft corner for Jab We Met because that's who I am.

What's your take on the nepotism debate?

I think irrespective of whether you are a star kid or a struggler, the journey has its ups and downs.

The advantage is that having grown up in this world, you have more exposure, better understanding, know more people and all that's happening.

On the downside, there's a lot more pressure.

Everyone's entitled to their opinions, I personally believe that if you make a good film, from the heart, people will watch it.

IMAGE: Sanah Kapur. Photograph: Kind courtesy Sanah Kapur/Instagram

Why have you done so few films?

I don't really know, some projects didn't take off after Shaandaar. I want to do more work.

What's next?

The Amazon show, a sitcom by the name of Happy Family Conditions Apply. It a fun-filled family entertainer.

What about a collaboration with Mayank?

In October, we will be shooting a short film together.

It's the first time we will be working together and we will see if we can carry the comfort of our home and not create any havoc on set.

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ROSHMILA BHATTACHARYA