After essaying the roles of women way older than herself and appearing in ensemble cast films in the past, actor Shefali Shah now wants to play only protagonists. She tells us, “Playing the lead is my priority right now. Writers are writing stuff for me. Directors are working on projects thinking of me. I’ve waited for a very long time for this. I’m glad that people are finally looking at me as a lead or a parallel lead. That’s what I want to keep doing.”
So, what made her sign Doctor G, an upcoming project, where she will be seen in a supporting role? “It was a commitment I made long ago. It’s a very sweet, sensitive and funny film, where I’ve just a guest appearance,” Shah says, adding, “Unless it’s an ensemble film like a Monsoon Wedding (2001) which had an incredible cast, story and characters, I don’t just want to be a part of a project just because it’s a big commercial film.”
With projects like Delhi Crime, Ajeeb Daastaans (2021) and the recently released Jalsa, the 48-year-old might have challenged the status quo by crushing stereotypes related to ageism and sexism in Hindi cinema, but she confesses that she never feels the burden of setting new norms with each project she does.
“When I’m offered a script, there’s no analytical thought or calculation involved there. The first reaction comes from my gut and heart, and if it churns me inside out, I’ll do it,” she shares.
Having done a slew of women-oriented content in the past couple of years, does she feel that the conversation about meatier roles for female actors can finally be put to rest? “No, because there’s so much more scope! It just has to grow and blossom from hereon. This is still a constant aspiration,” Shah ends.