Exclusive Conversation With Sadia Khateeb- The Actress Who Swayed Us All With Her Craft

Exclusive Conversation With Sadia Khateeb- The Actress Who Swayed Us All With Her Craft

Sadia Khateeb who made headlines for her graceful performance in Vidhu Vinod Chopra's riveting drama Shikara recently starred in Rakshabandhan alongside Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar. Sadia played the ideal sibling in Raksha Bandhan through her performance she has grabbed the leading light once again. She conveyed her character's knowledge so gracefully. Her enthusiasm and optimism were infectious, there was a lot of charm added from her end in portraying her characters. Although Sadia intended to be an engineer and chose a career path far away from the glitz and glamour, yet somehow destiny found a way. Her debut in Shikara established her as a capable actor opening up incredible avenues for her. 

Only two films old but Sadia has already amassed a strong fan base. Right from sharing screen space with renowned actors to her acting journey, Sadia spoke exclusively to Elfa World revealing her future plans.

Two out of two standout performances (Shikara, Rakshabandhan), two distinct roles (Shanti, Gayatri) which were received well. Let us in on your acting process.

"My acting process, To be honest, I didn't plan it to be this way. I can only say it now that maybe this was the plan all along. It has turned out pretty nice"

Several actors have certain rituals or superstitions while preparing for the role. Do you happen to have one?

"I just know that my work starts from understanding the character and knowing the character. I believe it's not always getting into the skin of the character but in the mind of the character and getting into the soul of the character. Once you are into the soul of the character, skin forms. Maybe I am too soon too fresh to say these big things but I am only looking for an opportunity where I can explore and showcase my creative hunger and talent."

Speaking about the soul of the character, Rakshabandhan's soul resides in family bonds and close-knit relationships. How was the environment offscreen?

"Exactly like you described, A family environment for sure. We had to stay like a family. When you are making a family-oriented film, honest reactions will only come if you consider each other like family members. So it was the same for Akshay sir, Bhumi, and the girls. We treated each other like a family. That's why we could portray this story"

How was it sharing screen space with Bhumi and Akshay?

"They have been working for so many years. When I was in school I looked up to them. I have grown up watching their work. It's almost like I have known him since I was born. I remember when I was in 5th or 6th I saw Bhumi making her debut. I have grown up watching these really talented people create magic on screen. Therefore my experience working with them has only been a learning experience. What I didn't expect was the bond and relationship on a personal level which was beautiful, I not only got to know "The Khiladi", "Raju" I got to know Rajeev, Raju Bhaiya, I got to know this beautiful human being who started from the scratch and made his mark. It was special."

Shikara was released two years ago, post the release you mentioned that you were still taking your time deciding your next project, what attracted you the most to Rakshabandhan?

"After such a long time you are making a film on sibling bond where it talks about dowry and the cast has Akshay Kumar plus it is directed by Anand. L. Rai. There are only tick marks. I got to work with these lovely and beautiful girls, so like I said everything ticked. The script has to be the king. The subject was the king"

What roles do you wish to do after this film?

"I am looking forward to doing a character-oriented film next where there is a strong story even if I am there for 5 minutes or for the entire film. All I care about is the film should have a base. It should have a subject and touch people's hearts"

You played the role of Gayatri, a mild-mannered or rather the ideal sibling of the family, how close or opposite are you to your character?

"The soul of the character is the same but personality is pretty much different. My family is my biggest priority. But you know when my brother was sitting next to me watching Rakshabandhan, he joked saying 'You are not her (Gayatri) from any angle, you don't make food like her' Food is fine but you know serving tea or being as well mannered as her is a bit different from me. But there is a fun scene in the movie which is close to how I would react. Therefore the soul of the character is the same but I am more of a hyper-energetic person. I can say 50-50 percent. There is a balance. In every character, I am sure I'll find myself in it. Shanti(Shikara's character) was not me, but still, the ones who cast me in that role and the people who saw me in it were convinced I am her. I didn't deny even when our way of talking was different, plus I was not from the 90s but they were convinced I was Shanti. I said say what you want, I can't argue. Hence maybe the soul of that character is me, but we are different otherwise. I am that person who gets into the soul of the character, then mind of the character and if you are convinced then my job is done"

In two years, since your last release, we have seen a dramatic shift in viewers' approach to films. As an actor has it become tougher to choose the right scripts that might understand the pulse of the audience?

"To be very honest, I don't have an option of that wide scale for scripts, a very handful of scripts come my way. I have not achieved that part yet. But thankfully whatever has come I am blessed and grateful. It is a bit difficult to choose the right role because criteria need to meet but at the same time, it's doable. I have reached here so I can go ahead also in my journey. There will be a struggle but it will be manageable."

Do you believe in high-risk high reward theory when choosing projects?

"Risk is in each film, today there is risk in mass commercial films and art films. Risk is present because we don't know what works and what doesn't. What might touch the audience that also I can't be 100% sure of, because we are in a country of millions of people. I can't think of what each and everything that goes on. All I can think for now is it should touch my heart, if I am in it then I should do my best in it. I should do it with my heart. If my heart and soul is connected to it, yours will be too."

Every actor has a dream director they wish to collaborate with. Who is that one director you wish to work with someday?

"I really want to work with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, even Imtiaz Ali and Anees Bazmee. There are so many on my list. But do they want to work with me too?" Sadia laughed, "Please tell them."

Do you have a particular genre you want to capitalize on?

"I want to explore and work. I really pray that I get a good opportunity to play all kinds of roles. In the end, I am an actor, I don't think I am made for a specific thing. I am an open book, I am like clay...you can mold me. If the director has a vision he will mold me into a comedy star, or a romantic heroine, I am up for it as long as it's a good script, the director's vision, and my hard work that will end up making it successful."

Since you are a craft-oriented actor, does criticism affect you?

"Thankfully my performance has not raised criticism, for Shikara or Rakshabandhan. Thankfully so I have not been criticized so far. I don't know how it is going to be when I am in criticism, I hope never, But you know once my brother said I could have done a particular scene better. I agreed because I am the kind of person who is not easily satisfied, I will always think I can do it even better. So if a critic comes up to me, I will carefully listen."

Since Raksha Bandhan was a very special film, did you happen to take any souvenirs from the sets?

"I should have. I have only taken memories. But no I have actually taken so many things during the promotions of the film, pearl set, suit then saree, a Hyderabadi suit...So I can say in that way I have taken souvenirs."

Finally, as an actor what will be your trademark in the industry? 

"I hope the subject but as years will go... the trademark will come naturally to me"

Sadia has impressed both critics and the audience with her strong presence and gritty performances. It only looks upwards from here and we can't wait to see what she has next stored for us.