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'Stop asking women about their bodies'

February 23, 2023 09:46 IST

'Everyone struggles with it (body image issues) as a human condition.'
'There are days when it really gets to you, but we move on.'

Photograph: Kind courtesy Shikha Talsania/Instagram

Ever since she made her acting debut with 2009's Wake Up Sid, Shikha Talsania has been experimenting with different kinds of roles on multiple avenues of entertainment. From theatre and Web series to shorts and feature films, the actor has tried her hands at everything.

But she refuses to cave in to ridiculous beauty standards in showbiz.

In an industry that puts emphasis on women to look a certain way, Shikha tells Mayur Sanap/, "I think the pressure is on men as well, but, unfortunately, these questions get asked only to women."

Is comedy your favourite genre as an actor?

I'm inherently understand comedy a lot.

I'm really grateful for that.

But I enjoy it as much as any other genre.

How does it feel to reunite with your Potluck family for season 2, which starts streaming this week on SonyLIV?

Oh, it feels lovely.

We have some 20 WhatsApp groups!

We are truly, truly a family.

Every time I go on set, it is like, 'Oh, okay, come let's work also.'


IMAGE: Shikha Talsania with Cyrus Sahukar, Ira Dubey, Kitu Gidwani, Jatin Sial, Siddhant Karnick, Harman Singha and Saloni Patel in Potluck Season 2.

How do you describe the vibe of this show?

It's relatable content.

It's a family entertainer.

In this day and age where we are struggling as what to watch as a family, this is something the entire family can watch together.

We are using the tool of comedy to tell you the everyday life of a middle class, urban family.

It is funny, it's entertaining, it's heartwarming.

Do you think actors like you are finally getting their due on streaming platforms?

I think that's a question that probably you should answer. The audience, you know.

I am really happy to see such great talent on OTT.

Thank you so much. You are kind.

Yes, the opportunities have definitely increased because of the sheer volume of work. And there are all sorts of different stories that are being told.

These are exciting times.

I am extremely lucky to find projects that speak to me and let me explore myself as a performer.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Shikha Talsania/Instagram

At this juncture of your career, what kind of roles do you want to do?

So many!

I have always struggled with this question because I want to do everything that I haven't had an opportunity to do so far.

If I had to pick off the top of my head right now, it'd be lovely to do a romantic comedy.

It would be fun to do action and horror as well.

What's your favourite romantic comedy?

I am a '90s child.

I like the romantic comedies of that time.

The Birdcage (1996) is my all time-favourite.

IMAGE: Shikha with her father Tiku Talsania, mother Dipti and brother Rohan. Photograph: Kind courtesy Shikha Talsania/Instagram

You come from a family of actors. What is your dinner table conversation like?

It's like any other family dinner conversation.

We are probably talking about taxation or current affairs in the country and the world.

Sometimes we just argue about food.

When we go and watch each other's work, we end up meeting for dinner. This is when we critique it.

We have a discussion about it as actors, or as artists, including my brother, who is a musician.

And that's that.

Then it goes back to, 'Did you call your aunt on her birthday?'

Your father is much loved for his comedic talent. Does he share tips when you are doing a comedy film?

No. We have individual processes.

Of course, both my parents are always there to support me in anything that I might need.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Shikha Talsania/Instagram

You've spoken about the perils of body shaming. Do you still grapple with body image issues to fit in the industry?

I think that's with anybody, just about the industry.

Everyone struggles with it (body image issues) as a human condition.

There are days when it really gets to you, but we move on.

One has lived enough life to know how to deal with it.

The industry expects women to look a certain way, to have a certain type of body. Do you think that pressure is too intense?

I think the pressure is on men as well, but, unfortunately, these questions get asked only to women.

And I think that discourse is bit tired now.

Everybody is navigating through something or the other in any industry. We should just stop asking women about their bodies really.

IMAGE: Shikha with the Satyaprem Ki Katha script. Photograph: Kind courtesy Shikha Talsania/Instagram

What are the ways in which women can focus on self-care and body positivity? What's your message?

You have a kind heart and intelligent brain.

You have a body that is truly letting you live and letting you touch your toes.

There's so much more to it than what you look like. Concentrate on those things.

If anyone asks you about your body, just tell them to mind their own business.

What's next for you?

After Potluck S2, there is a film called Sanaa, directed by Sudhanshu Saria.

There is another film called Satyaprem Ki Katha, directed by Sameer Vidwans.

There's a Netflix series, which I can't talk about yet, but it is going to be a shocker for a whole lot of people. I'm very excited about it.

I am also starting a new play very soon.