Bela Sehgal, film editor, filmmaker and sister to the formidable Sanjay Leela Bhansali can’t stop the tears from flowing. Her daughter Sharmin makes her large-screen debut in Malaal. The whole family saw the film earlier this week. “And all of us, my husband Deepak (he is the son of yesteryears’ successful filmmaker Mohan Sehgal), my brother Sanjay (Bhansali), and our mother we all wept when we saw Sharmin on screen. It was a moment we had all been waiting for,” says Bela who once upon a time, edited many of Sanjay Bhansali’s classics.
So what is the emotional mother’s true and objective assessment of Sharmin’s screen presence? “I can’t even pretend to be objective. But people who’ve seen the film have been praising both Sharmin and Meezan. Some say Sharmin is like Preity Zinta. But I see no such resemblance. Sharmin is her own person. Today’s generation of actors doesn’t look up to anyone for inspiration.”
What Bela will vouch for is her daughter’s hard work. “She and Meezan have to fight off charges of nepotism. They have to prove that they are worthy of the opportunity that they’ve got in Malaal. Just as it isn’t necessary that a kid from a film family deserves to be in films, it is equally incorrect to feel that an actor from a film family doesn’t deserve to be in films just because of his own her genes. Give them a chance. See what they’ve done.”
Bela directed a well-received rom-com Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi in 2012. She plans to return to direction soon. She also has a webseries up her sleeves. “There are many things being planned. Lately I’ve been busy with Sharmin’s career. But now that her launch has happened I can concentrate on my work,’ says Bela.
She is very pleased with the kind of cinema female filmmakers make in this country. “The gender is no longer relevant. Women filmmakers are no consumed by feminine-feminist issues anymore.”