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A Learning Experience

Shishir Sharma tells Suranjana Biswas that he will always be grateful to director Meghna Gulzar and the response for his latest film Raazi is just unprecendented. 

On The Brief

The brief for me was to play the character subtly. Nothing should be over-the-top, Meghnaji told me, not even the patriotism within the character. When the emotions run through you, to keep them minimal. I was asked not to overdo the crying as well. 

On The Role

Some of the scenes were pretty difficult for me, Shishir Sharma, playing Brigadier Saiyad. In the emotional scenes, I was relating to things from my own life. It was a little difficult to get out of the scenes once they were over, particularly the funeral scenes. I am a pretty chilled-out father in real life, so it was quite simple for me to have those nuances with Alia (Bhatt). 

On The Challenges

The emotional scenes were a real challenge but I was really psyched about my character, especially the scenes where my anger flares up because of certain situations in the film. My character never expected to get back-stabbed in the film. A few strong emotional scenes in the prayer meet were deleted, which, for me, was very challenging. Some of these scenes needed a lot of concentration and there was pin-drop silence on the sets. In fact, the funeral scenes were shot in just one or two takes, because I didn’t want it to be mechanical.

On The Director

I have worked with Meghnaji in Talvar as well and for me it was an exhilarating experience to work in a film like this. She is at the top rung right now. She understood what the script was, she had done a lot of prep work over at least a year, since she started writing and planning the film. Along with Bhavani Iyer, she has written one of the best screenplays that I have ever come across. I would come from any part of the world and shoot for Meghnaji.

On His Co-actors

Everybody was fantastic, absolutely fantastic! Alia, Vicky (Kaushal) and just everybody! Jaideep Ahlawat and I didn’t have a scene together but it was great associating with and meeting everyone. This was one of those sets any actor would die to be on. It was a learning experience every day. Just to see how Vicky, who didn’t have many lines, portrayed his character with such dignity and so much silence. You learn that you don’t need dialogue to prove your mettle as an actor.

On The Response 

What can I say? It has been overwhelming and it has not yet sunk in. It is unprecedented as far as I am concerned. I don’t go through these emotions every day. Not too many films of mine have received this kind of appreciation. I don’t know how to react. I have watched the film three times. I don’t think there has been a negative comment so far despite me playing a Pakistani officer. 

On Future Projects

I am hoping against hope to get some good work. But, that will definitely take some time. I am looking forward to doing some good, strong characters in the wake of Raazi. I am also doing a couple of short films and web series. I am keeping myself as busy as I can.



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