They are not the traditional Khan heroines and yet they have managed to create a wave with their performance in the film. I am referring to Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra who are now popularly known as Dangal girls. We watched Dangal starring Aamir Khan, Sakshi Tanwar, Sanya and Fatima in the lead roles and we just couldn’t stop raving about how brilliant the film is. When we met Sanya and Fatima, they said they were “more than happy” to have received such a stupendous response for the movie. The trailer makes it very evident that they put in a lot of effort and had to undergo extensive physical training to gear up for the role. “It was physically taxing plus mentally challenging too,” said Fatima when we happened to catch up with her and Sanya. Here are the excerpts from my interview with the Dangal girls. Also read: Dangal movie review: Aamir Khan delivers the bravest, grittiest, honest film of the year
So tell me, how happy were you guys when you got to know that you were going to be in a film with Aamir Khan?
Fatima: I was numb. We were numb since around two three weeks because we had been auditioning since one and a half months and when they told us that we had go the film, we were just blank.
Sanya: Both of us were numb. We were blank. It took me two weeks to sink in.
Did Aamir give you guys some tips on special advice about how to go about in the film?
Nitesh sir used to help us. He was always there and since this script is his baby he explained us exactly what he wanted us to do. So it was very helpful and he used to tell us how he wants a particular scene to be. (ALSO READ: Dangal actress Fatima Sana Shaikh was asked to choose between Salman, Shah Rukh and Aamir and her answer will leave you stunned)
Nitesh Tiwari, who has done Bhootnath Returns and Chillar Party, has directed the film. But those films didn’t particularly do well at the box office. So were you a little skeptical about picking up a role in Dangal?
Why are we going to be doubtful? Not only is it a wonderful script but it is a huge opportunity for us. Who are we to judge? He is a good director. I have seen Chillar Party, I have loved Chillar Party. So as a director, I am not doubting him.
How was it meeting the real Phogat sisters?
Fatima and Sanya: We met them at the mahurat just once so actually we haven’t really interacted much with them but we used to see their videos everyday while we were prepping up for the role. Because we didn’t have any reference point for wrestling until before we were selected for the film, I had no clue what wrestling is.. what is the point system..how does one win. And its not like cricket where you know what is happening or you have some sort of idea about it. For wrestling we had to go back to the videos to see how to stand, how do they walk, how do they get up, what’s the body language like, so we studied them. And when we met them for the first time, we were starstruck. We were like ‘Oh my God! Geeta Babita are here on the sets!’ We were so excited to meet them. In fact we weren’t as excited to meet Mr Aamir Khan as we were to meet the Phogat sisters.
Aamir gained so much weight for the film and then he suddenly lost all that weight. Do you think it is dangerous for any normal person to do that?
Of course it is! Putting on that much weight is very unhealthy and usually when someone puts on weight it’s over the years. So when you’re young it has a high metabolism and when you are 30 something and you have a paunch, it’s over the years. But for him, he put on weight just like that, which is very unhealthy because your breathing changes, the way you walk changes, your heart rate is different. Though his trainers were involved, people shouldn’t actually do it.
If you had an option to pick between Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan, whom would you pick?
Fatima: I would obviously want to work with all the Khans, but I, personally am an SRK fan. I love him. I have had his postcard stuck to my cupboard’s door. But I love Aamir also, I love Salman also. (ALSO READ: Aamir Khan’s Dangal will BEAT Salman Khan’s Sultan at the box office, say trade experts)
Sanya: I can’t choose one. But Aamir is my favourite (grins)
Chak De! India did really well. But somehow people forgot about the Chak De! girls and today, we barely know where they are or what they are doing. Have you thought about your fate in Bollywood?
I don’t fear that. What will happen further, will happen. Both of us are living in the present and not thinking of the future. We are both enjoying Dangal right now.
You both underwent extensive physical training for your role. Was it mentally challenging to?
Of course! To physically get there, to wrestle every day, workout everyday and to get injuries for someone who hasn’t done it before, it’s quite a fight with yourself.
Sultan and Dangal were compared. What’s your take on the comparison?
We were shooting when Sultan released and we watched the film together and we loved it. But sultan is very different from Dangal. We were so involved in our shooting that the comparisons didn’t seem to bother much. It’s a different film and when people are going to watch it, they will know.
Out of the current lot of actors, who do you want to romance onscreen?
Fatima: Ranbir Kapoor and Ranveer Singh.
Sanya: Ranbir Kapoor.
They are yet to finalise the leading lady for Thugs of Hindostan, would you mind starring in another Aamir Khan starrer?
We would love to be a part of it!
You can watch the full interview here:
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