What were you doing when you got the call for Secret Superstar?
Let’s start from Dangal.
I was everything you can think of… nervous, excited, intimidated. I remember I had come back home from school and I saw my mother giving me a very weird look. And I was like – Inko kya ho gaya aaj?! She asked me, “You know who called?” She informed that Casting Director Mukesh Chabbra had called for a film with Aamir Khan. I just lost it. I said WOW! I was in disbelief, of course. I went for the audition and it lasted for a week, or maybe more than that— and then they called me after a month. That’s when they told me that they had taken me on-board for Dangal.
Ye auditions ka bhoot aapko kahan se sawaar hua, you decided to become an actress right there?
No. I never wanted to become an actress probably because I never thought that I would get an opportunity. I never imagined for a second that this is what I want to do. But destiny got me here.
You worked with Aamir in Dangal, did he tell you there and then that he wants to cast you for Secret Superstar?
In the middle of the preps for Dangal, but before we started shooting for it, I got a call for Secret Superstar. So even before I started shooting for my first film, I had two films, that too under Aamir Khan Productions.
How different was your second film with Aamir? You had a certain equation with him, was it easy? The role was tougher, I would say…
(Cuts in) The equation was similar. During the shoot of Dangal, it had already reached a point when we were more like family members. Aamir Sir treated not just me but all the Dangal girls like family. That’s because we got to spend so much time with Sir. We used to have lunch together, rehearse together, do wrestling training together, our relationship had already grown really strong.
In Secret Superstar, as an actor it was a huge jump for me, because I had never seen Sir like this. Ever. I had never met Aamir Khan – the person. On Dangal he was always Mahavir Phogat. Off the sets, he’s a very calm person, he’s a gentleman.
Now I see a person who is completely the opposite, also because of the size (laughs). He was so fat in Dangal (claps) and now in Secret Superstar I saw a weird man, who’s hitting on every other woman, has a weird hairstyle, and wears figure-hugging clothes. I wouldn’t stop laughing every time I would see him. The way he speaks in the film is so funny.
So how is it now that the movie has done so well? You are getting so many compliments. How are you controlling yourself, you know it’s a heady feeling…
I’m so overwhelmed by the response. We all knew that Secret Superstar would be loved. It’s a beautiful film, you know. We’ve made a sensible film but we never thought that it will receive so much love and appreciation. People are relating to the film, in every aspect.