With back-to-back releases in Bhardwaj’s Charlie Chopra and Khufiya, Wamiqa discusses her steady rise after battling years of rejections
It’s easy to get carried away when you’ve fronted two big shows, helmed by Vikramaditya Motwane and Vishal Bhardwaj no less, within months of each other. But Wamiqa Gabbi sounds more grounded than exhilarated. “Before Jubilee came out, I had started to move towards spirituality. If this had happened four to five years ago, success might have gone to my head. But today, I just feel a lot of love,” she smiles.
So far, 2023 has been Gabbi’s year as she kicked it off with Bhardwaj’s short film, Fursat. Motwane’s acclaimed Jubilee, and Modern Love Chennai followed, before she reunited with Bhardwaj on his maiden series, Charlie Chopra and the Mystery of Solang Valley. But all this didn’t come easy. The actor says she was ready to leave the world of cinema in 2019. “I had auditioned for Vishal Bhardwaj’s Midnight’s Children. By then, I had decided to quit movies, do perhaps one or two films, earn whatever money I could, and travel the world to understand what I wanted to do in life. I had lost all interest in acting. I had been rejected so many times that I thought, ‘Why would Vishal Bhardwaj finalise me?’ But I got shortlisted, and we were sent on a workshop with Atul Mongia. Those three days changed my perspective on my career.” While the filmmaker did sign her on for Midnight’s Children, it got shelved later. “But all good things started to happen after that,” she beams.
Khufiya streams tomorrow, only days after the release of (left) detective drama Charlie Chopra
Now, the actor is only a day away from the release of Khufiya, her fourth collaboration with the director. The Netflix espionage thriller will see her share screen space with Tabu and Ali Fazal. In her kitty is the Theri (2016) remake featuring Varun Dhawan. “Today, I am in a position to make a choice. Earlier, it was all about getting work; now, I can be choosy.”
Bhardwaj has been instrumental in shaping her career, but Gabbi believes he has also influenced how she views the film industry. “My sensibilities have changed because I have worked with Vishal sir, Vikram sir and Ranjan Chandel [Grahan director]. Vishal sir is like a friend now. Initially, when there were some date issues on Khufiya, I was intimidated to call him and tell him so. But he called and said, ‘I understood why you were inhibited to call me. But remember, one chat can save relationships and we need to put in extra effort to save them.’ Now, even when I have to say no to someone, I make sure I make that call to them.”