Art & Entertainment

Nargis Fakhri: I Would Love To Meet Sylvester Stallone

Nargis Fakhri is making a big comeback to Bollywood with ‘Shiv Shashtri Balboa’. The actress talks about why she was missing for so long and what brought her back eventually.

Nargis Fakhri

Nargis Fakhri has been missing from Bollywood for quite a while. The actress is finally making a big return to movies with ‘Shiv Shastri Balboa’, which releases this Friday. After rocking the nation with ‘Rockstar’, her career didn’t pan out as one would have predicted. However, she is back now and seems stronger than ever.

Talking to Prateek Sur, Nargis Fakhri speaks up about why we don’t get to see her more in films, why she has shifted base to the US, how OTT is an exciting new avenue she’s looking at, and how she wishes to meet Sylvester Stallone. Excerpts from the candid interview:

The girl who won the Best Debut female for ‘Rockstar’, why do we not see her in films anymore nowadays?

I remember booking the tickets. However, I was stuck in the USA as the pandemic happened. I am back in Bombay and all ready to work. I am in the film ‘Shiv Shastri Balboa’ with Anupam Kher and Neena Gupta. I am very excited to work again. I’ve honestly missed working on films and I’m really looking forward to it. There are so many things happening especially with the OTT platforms. I have a lot of enthusiasm to be back.

Your last three films, ‘Torbaaz’, ‘Amavas’, and ‘5 Weddings’ didn’t see you promote them that much. Why is that?

It wasn’t my doing. ‘Torbaaz’ didn’t have any promotions, and ‘5 Weddings’ didn’t do promotions as well. I’m not sure why. For ‘Amavas’ there were promotions and I was there.

What’s different in ‘Shiv Shastri Balboa’ that we finally get to see you back in a Hindi movie?

They shot the film during Covid and I was in New York at the time. We shot in New Jersey and that was just amazing. I had to go right next door, super easy to get to work and get back home. I thought the script was very relevant, real, relatable, and original and I really enjoyed it. This movie takes you on an emotional ride that is very inspiring. We have a hero in the movie that is not your typical hero and is real life. This movie touches on a lot of different points and has many different layers and I really think the audience is going to enjoy it.

Tell us a bit about your character in the movie.

My character is so lovely her name is Siya. She’s quite a bubbly independent Indian girl who is half-American and lives in Pennsylvania. My co-actor Sharib (Hashmi) is my boyfriend and his name is Cinnamon Singh. She loves her boyfriend so much and wants to get married. However, she is having issues with her parents. That’s my journey in the film. I also encounter Anupam Kher who is Shiv Shashtri Balboa and Elsa which is played by Neena Gupta.

Considering the movie is around Sylvester Stallone’s character Rocky Balboa, have you ever had the pleasure of meeting Stallone in person?

No, it’s not around Sylvester Stallone’s character Rocky. Shiv Shastri Balboa in the film loves the movie ‘Rocky’ because it has a beautiful message. In one of the lines, he says that ‘Rocky’ is not just a film it’s a philosophy of life. I think it’s quite beautiful in this film how a real-life character, a real-life person is inspired by a film. I would love to meet Stallone.

You have completed over a decade in the film industry. What are those moments that you always cherish from your career in these past 12-13 years?

It’s been a long time. It flew by very fast. I think I learned a lot about life and about this business as well. I got to grow as a person. I feel that I am wiser and more focused and that’s why I am so happy to be back. I’m reinventing myself and I am ready to keep working again.

Coming from a non-film background, especially from a different country, how difficult was it to fit into the industry? What were some of the biggest challenges you faced?

Coming from the USA, I have a heritage of South Asian-Half European as well. Now that I look back on what I went through and what I learned, there were a lot of challenges. Leaving behind my friends and family, having to make new friends, and starting a new career, which I knew nothing about, all of that takes time to understand and adjust to. I have never acted, so this was the first time. I’m a learn-as-you-go person because I didn’t have the time to take classes or go to school. The language was a challenge as we spoke English at home as I come from a multi-cultural family. Working in this business is quite tiring as we work long hours and days. It’s difficult to have a get-together.

Is there a piece of advice that you can give to young girls coming from other countries to make a mark in Bollywood? Or things that they should avoid or not do?

I have a piece of wise advice for people who will do anything in life. You have to take a chance, you have to take a risk, you have to be smart and make sure your mind is right. Trust your instincts, trust your guts and yes work hard.

As you stay mostly away from Mumbai, do you still have friends here in the film industry with whom you can pick up the call and speak anytime?


I have a lot of friends actually and it’s nice to know that. We mostly keep in touch on Instagram and I guess it’s much easier because everyone is busy but on Instagram, you can DM, see what they’re doing, comment and talk to them. I can give anyone a call. I have a few friends.

In the past few years, OTT has become a huge thing. Actors who were probably not getting good roles from mainstream filmmakers are finally getting their due on OTT. What’s your take on the whole OTT boom?

I am very excited about the OTT boom. It does give actors more opportunities to showcase their talent. It also gives us as an audience more content. It’s quite cool that during Covid a lot of people watched various types of films and series that were international. The taste of the audience is also changing. Now, we have more interesting and intense stories that could be told. I am excited because I am able to have no boundaries. Now, I will be able to look at roles in a different way. Before Covid we would think about co-actor, production house and will it be a big release or not, is it a big budget or a small budget? All these things came into play in the past. Now, it doesn’t matter if it’s a small or a big film because the stories and script are important points as every character plays an important role.


Would you be open to working on OTT?

The OTT boom would give me a lot more opportunities to be a part of really great projects and the characters are quite interesting. I am so open to trying different characters.

Lastly, what next can we see you in after ‘Shiv Shastri Balboa’?

I am working on two projects. We are going to start shooting in the next couple of months. You’re definitely going to see me on the big screen more often by the end of 2023 and going to 2024. I am hoping more opportunities come my way in different types of characters.