She made an impression way back in 2009 in Ayan Mukerjee’s Wake Up Sid where she played Ranbir’s supportive pal grappling with her own problems. Ever since, it hasn’t been an easy journey for Shikha Talsania. “I was offered quite a number of roles but none that I wanted to take on. They were largely about being fat and eating non-stop, and so on,” says Shikha with a laugh.
Indian cinema has a certain of looking at actors who are over-sized. And Shikha was not willing to fall into that fat trap. “It was not easy to say no to work. Because there are bills to pay, a household to be run…plus, there is the hunger as an actor that eats into your self-confidence. No, it was not easy to turn down work.”
But Shikha stuck it out. The patience paid off. Today she is being hailed as a sizable talent. “How did I get Veere Di Wedding? (Producer) Rhea Kapoor knew me from the time I had done Wake Up Sid. When this part in Veere Di Wedding came up through (casting director) Aseem Chabria, I grabbed it without a second thought. To me it was god-sent. It was one of the four leads. And that did it for me,” says Shikha. Curiously Shikha plays a married mother in Veere Di Wedding, which for her was a first. “I am neither married nor am I a mother. But my character Meera is someone I know well in real life. She is someone I know well. As today’s young urban women, Kalindi (Kareena Kapoor Khan), Avni (Sonam Kapoor Ahuja), Sakshi (Swara Bhaskar) and my character Meera are eminently relatable. I think that’s what has worked for the film.”
Shikha says she is “shocked” by the recognition that has suddenly come her way. “Shocked in a good way. Though I haven’t been out that much to see the reactions, the response to the film and to me is overwhelming. I am so glad I waited for Veere Di Wedding to happen. If I had done some of the other stuff offered to me, this may not have come to me.”
Shikha, for those who came in late, is the daughter of the renowned comic actor Tiku Talsania whose virtuosity has dominated Hindi cinema, television and Mumbai theatre for decades. The one rule that father and daughter Talsania agreed to follow in Shikha’s career was to never flaunt the family name. “When I announced to my parents that I want to be an actor they were like, sure go out there and do it on your own. I never brought up my father’s name anywhere that I went looking for work. Not that I hid whose daughter I was. But both my father and I were very clear that I had to do this (find success as an actor) on my own,” says Shikha who one day hopes to be on stage with her father .“We haven’t found anything suitable. But when It happens I’d be very nervous,” says the doting daughter who is the portrait of self-confidence in Veere Di Wedding.
What next? Sighs Shikha, “It’s just been a few days since the film’s release. Let’s see what comes my way. For now I am committed on stage with a play entitled Dekh Bahen which is again a very relatable slice-of-life piece.”