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Playing Akshay Kumar's mother to reaching Emmys with Delhi Crime, Shefali Shah's journey to global success

Updated on: 27 September,2023 11:29 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Written by: Tanmayi Savadi |

As Shefali Shah has been nominated for the International Emmy Awards 2023, here's looking back at her career trajectory

Playing Akshay Kumar's mother to reaching Emmys with Delhi Crime, Shefali Shah's journey to global success


Shefali Shah will be representing India along with Vir Das and Jim Sarbh at the 2023 International Emmy Awards. She has been nominated in the category of Best Performance by an Actress for her web series, Delhi Crime 2. The first season of the show won an International Emmy in 2020. The actress has come a long way in her illustrious career spanning over 2 decades. 

Shefali, who has always been an impactful performer, didn't begin her career with lead roles. After playing character and supporting roles in the initial stages, she gained popularity with films like Satya. In fact, Shefali also played mom to Akshay Kumar in Waqt: Race Against Time. Reacting to the same, she said in a recent interview with Times Of India, "If the actors are choosing to play these roles, who are we to comment? Nobody is putting a gun to anyone’s head and forcing them to act with XYZ whatever the age gap. I have never had a problem playing a mother or a supporting role as long as it’s a full-fledged character. My issue is why define a character merely on the basis of his or her relationship with the leads? In the past, I have played mother to a person much older than me. But at this point, I want to say, listen, I don’t want to look younger than my age. I do have children who are 18 and 19, so I am comfortable playing a character like that. But I don’t want to play a mother to 25, 30, or 40-year-olds anymore."

However, the tide changed with Dil Dhadakne Do in 2015. As Neelam Mehra, the actress yet again displayed her incredible acting prowess. Despite playing a 'mother' to Priyanka Chopra and Ranveer Singh, Shefali had a graph of her own and she lent her expertise to enhance the performance. 

In an interview, the actress said, "The kind of work that I have done in the past two years is something I haven’t done in the span of my career. My career has been more about waiting, than actually working. But would I say I believe it is finally here? No, I won’t, because that would mean that I don’t have anything new to learn or grow from."

With OTT content like Delhi Crime, Jalsa and Darlings, Shefali established herself as the top actresses of all time. Talking about the shift in approach towards women characters in films, she said in an interview with ANI, "Earlier, the woman was an accessory, she had a shelf life of 18 to 22-25. After that, when you got offered something, if you ask what is the character - hero ki mummy, heroine ki behen. That's her relationship, what is her character? But today, all these characters have become the leads. They are centre of shows, films."

Shefali also shared that she doesn't believe in method acting. "Marne ka scene hai to kya marne wale ho? Kisi ko marne ka scene hai to kya sach much maroge (will you die in the dying scene, will you actually beat someone in a violent scene)? You can't do that. But there is a lot of thought, conversations with the director, actors. What is she, where she's come from? What you are seeing is three months of the life, a slice of life. What is built up to it to who she's become. I don't want to be known as ‘Shefali did a good role’. I rather be recognised as the character," she shared. 

Delhi Crime was headlined by her. The series was a fictionalised retelling of the 2012 Delhi gang rape and murder case and Shefali played the role of DCP Vartika Chaturvedi. The series received critical appreciation along with an Emmy trophy. In an interview with IANS, she said, "I am completely ecstatic, euphoric and all the possible superlatives in the thesaurus that I can recollect now. It’s just amazing! I feel so proud to be a part of Delhi Crime. This win is like a cherry on the sundae but irrespective for me, Delhi Crime has always been a winner since the day I started work on it. I knew that this show is a very special one. The Emmy has put us on the global platform and we feel extremely proud of the honour."

As the second season of Delhi Crime reaches Emmys, she reacted on Instagram, "OMGGGGG I still can’t believe it. Feel so so honoured to be nominated at the International Emmys alongside such esteemed artists. This one is really special and more so because it is for a character I am very very close to, Vartika Chaturvedi and for my favourite show #DelhiCrime2. This is for all of us in #DelhiCrime."

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