Actor Shefali Shah, who portrayed the role of the investigating cop in the crime drama, Delhi Crime, based on Nirbhaya gang-rape case, is overjoyed with the show winning the Best Drama Series award at the 48th International Emmy Awards. In conversation with Outlook’s Lachmi Deb Roy, Shah says that she is extremely choosy about the roles she plays and would never compromise on the quality of work that she does. Shefali recently donned the director’s hat with her two short films 'Someday’ and 'Happy Birthday Mummy Ji' both dealing with the theme of isolation. Someday portrays a frontline warrior battling a personal tragedy and isolation while ‘Happy Birthday Mummy Ji’ is a fun, light-hearted take on isolation. Excerpts:
On Delhi Crime winning the best drama series at the Emmys...
I am euphoric, ecstatic and all superlatives you can find. It is completely an unexpected feeling.
You have been a brilliant actor and have been in the industry for 25-plus years, but do you think with OTT you got more recognition?
OTT gives you an option of not blocking an actor in just a hero or heroine’s role. It doesn’t depend on the box office collection. It doesn’t depend on the salability of a film with a big name attached to it. So, it opens a different horizon altogether. The best part is every single character on OTT becomes a hero or heroine of the show by themselves. It is OTT and this particular show, Delhi Crime has given me the recognition that I desired and I wanted. When Delhi Crime dropped on Netflix it dropped in 109 countries at one go which is a huge reach. But the director, makers, producers and everyone on the show believed and believed in me and gave me the opportunity to become Vartika. The show has given me a kind of global recognition which I cannot deny.
The best thing about OTT is that it is content and character-driven and it has broadened the horizon of all artists. Playing the role of Vartika in Delhi Crime was one of the most exhausting, consuming and enriching experiences of my career.
How do you get into the characters that you play?
I don’t aim to act like them I want to become them whether it is Vartika of ‘Delhi Crime’ or Tara of ‘Once Again’. When one sees me on screen I hope he or she only sees and feels the character, not Shefali. I don’t know any other way to do it (laughs).
How choosy are you about your work?
I am extremely choosy about the work I do. I love what I do too much to compromise on it. I would rather wait for the work that excites me than just go and do a job so I can stay busy.
I am doing a couple of very interesting films which obviously I can’t talk about it right now, but I’m so looking forward to them. I am also doing a show for OTT called “Humans” produced by Vipul Shah and directed by Vipul Shah and Mozez Singh. It’s a medical thriller and it’s a character I haven’t ever played before. I am so excited about it, the script and the role all of it is just out of the box. I just can’t wait to dig my teeth into it.
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