Leading from the Front – The Hindu


Back in the second season of Delhi Crime, Shefali Shah reflects on her craft and her worries

Back in the second season of Delhi Crime, Shefali Shah reflects on her craft and her worries

Shefali Shah’s versatility has never been questioned, but over the past year in particular, audiences have seen the breadth of her talent. Be it playing the fiercely protective mother on the fringes of society Jalsa and darlings or the manipulative doctor in Humanit is impossible to take your eyes off Shefali.

However, her career grew with it Delhi Crime (Season 1 in 2019), where she played a tough but sensitive police officer Vartika Chaturvedi. The internationally acclaimed Netflix series is back with a new case rooted in the socioeconomic inequality in the sprawling metropolis.

Nervous and excited, Shefali says the increase in strong female parts isn’t a trend. “Directors aren’t going to do stuff just because it’s a trend. things change They have changed with me Crime in Delhi. The last year has been fantastic. Touchwood! The Aaye Durust Aaye (late but perfect). I hope it keeps growing.”

Edited excerpts:

How is the second season different from the first?

The characters are much more fleshed out. in the DC1, there was no movement of the moral compass. There was anger, frustration, but Vartika knew she had to get these guys and was obsessed with the task at hand. in the direct current 2, there are questions she must answer herself. In a line, in direct current 1 She appeared as a heroine, here she seems more human. She hesitates, but isn’t afraid to apologize, even at personal expense.

Is the shift because of the change in the nature of the antagonist?

In the first season, the villain was very visible, but here the question arises as to what makes a villain. Society’s conditioning drives people to do what they do. The journey is not easy and that is the beauty of it Crime in Delhi. It’s more than just a criminal case. It’s about asking questions about how everything works around us.

How challenging is it to play a cop? Did you have to curb your talkative eyes?

Each character demands everything from you. In addition, for the role of a police officer, I had to absorb a lot of technical information – from the way she wears her uniform to how she gives instructions. I don’t think the look in the eyes changes with the appeal. For example, Bhupinder (Vartika’s subordinate, played by Rajesh Tailang) and Vartika share such a bond that they don’t need to talk. If I can express myself through eyes, why should I use words?

Versatile Actor: Shefali Shah | Photo credit: special agreement

If we look closely, there are striking similarities between Rukhsana of Jalsa and Badrunissa from darlings. How did you delineate them?

Vartika is also a mother, but the more difficult role is playing two people who come from similar backgrounds like Rukhsana and Shamsunissa. They both cook and both are fiercely protective of their child. But at the same time they are very different people. They look different visually. One of my co-actresses said she didn’t realize the two characters were so similar until someone pointed it out. That’s the beauty of an actor. You can play so many lives.

How you do that?

There are a lot of conversations, questions and discussions regarding the character with the directors. However, I’ve found that even after reading the script a thousand times, you can still find a different perspective, a different incentive to play the character.

When I go in front of the camera after all that learning, I have to forget everything and just follow my instincts. What I do is not method acting; it’s not choreographed. Of course I do the blocking when I’m working with other actors, but once the camera comes on I don’t know what I’m doing. My directors tell me I’m a bull in a china shop! Nobody knows where the rocket will hit. But they allow me to follow my trajectory.

What about body language?

Both directors (Suresh Triveni and Jasmeet K Rain) were intimately familiar with the diction and environment of Rukhsana and Shamsunissa, but no one can teach you a character’s body language. At least nobody taught me that. I follow the people around me. When you’re raw again, realize that there are so many things in our lives that drive us to do what we do. Just as I usually walk straight and when I sit in a certain place I will be aware of the surroundings. Rukshana and Shamsunissa don’t think like that. In the situation that Rukhsana is in, no one would be able to guess how I look, how I sit. It may not be part of the story, but Rukshana carries a lot of baggage from the past. She doesn’t have the chance to get an education like Vartika.

Despite this, I have worked out body language that creates a sense that they (Rukhsana and Shamsunissa) believe they deserve a life of dignity. They may be victims to society, but they don’t believe it, that’s their strength.

Does your inherent sophistication of diction and dialogue creep into the character, like when Shamsunissa says life has changed only for those who use Twitter?

There is no guidance as to how a person from a particular class would behave. That is the unpredictability of human nature.

Unlike their male counterparts, female actors don’t seem to mind doing two-hero movies…

How can we see it as competition? We understand that filmmaking is a collaborative process. in the Jalsa, Vidya and I are opposite sides of the same coin. in the darlings, Alia and I complement each other. I don’t know where this fancy idea came from that two actors couldn’t be on the same level. Didn’t we all watch? Anand, Trishul and chupke chupke? It’s not happening enough because of the stories the directors want to make. Crime in Delhi looks like the Vartika Ma’am story but there are so many crucial male characters without whom this story is impossible to tell. Good actors need to feel confident because other brilliant actors will only improve their game.

You have directed two short films. Seriously wanting to direct a feature film at home with a producer husband?

It never crosses our minds that I have a producer husband or he has an actress wife. He didn’t do any projects for me and I never asked him for work. We respect each other too much to mess with this equation. Yes, I want to direct, but I don’t know how much effort I can put into a feature film at this point in my career. At the moment. I enjoy my space as an actor and don’t want to deviate from it.

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