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Sheeba Chaddha: You can’t perform grief on screen

Updated on: 04 March,2022 08:00 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Uma Ramasubramanian |

Sheeba, nominated in Best Supporting Actor category at Hitlist OTT Awards, on how she had to dig deep to play grieving mother in Pagglait

Sheeba Chaddha: You can’t perform grief on screen

A still from the film

Sheeba Chaddha describes herself as a “switch-on-switch-off” actor, embracing the character as soon as the camera rolls and seamlessly shaking it off after the day’s shoot. But when Pagglait (2021) came her way, she knew she would require more than an artiste’s instinct to play the part of the grieving mother who has lost her young son. “I am an actor who doesn’t prep. I don’t take my characters home. But with this one, I felt it wouldn’t be okay to not stay with the character. It’s almost as if I wanted to stay with this woman and her grief, outside of action and cut,” she recounts.

When watching the Sanya Malhotra-starrer, your heart goes out to Astik’s mother — essayed by Chaddha — who has to take care of the extended family coming for the last rites, take stock of daily meals and attend to everyone’s needs, even as she struggles to come to terms with her loss. Her heartbreaking portrayal has fetched her a Best Supporting Actor (Female): Film nomination at the upcoming mid-day and Radio City Hitlist OTT Awards. “I kept it as real as I could, because what could be worse for a mother [than losing her child]? That loss is unfathomable. As an actor, it’s nearly impossible to access these areas. That grief is bottomless. You can’t perform grief on screen.”

From Talaash (2012) to Gully Boy (2019) to the recent Badhaai Do, the actor has been dependable as ever, shining in her supporting parts. While praise has often come her way, she laughs that award functions don’t seem to take notice of her. “I have been around for so many years. It feels great when I get so much love from people, but I have never won a single award. I would love to get one. It brings you more choices, and helps you choose better.”

Cast your vote for the Hitlist OTT Awards

Sheeba Chaddha has been nominated in the Best Supporting Actor (Female): Film category for Pagglait. The other nominees are:
>> Aditi Rao Hydari (Sardar Ka Grandson)
>> Chitrangda Singh (Bob Biswas)
>> Ileana D’Cruz (The Big Bull)
>> Priyanka Chopra (The White Tiger)
>> Ratna Pathak Shah (Hum Do Hamare Do)

Log on to to cast your vote.
You can also vote via SMS. Send HITLIST <space> category name <space> your choice (a/b/c as on the website) to 57575.
Voting lines close on March 18.

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