One of the most-talked-about movies of the season is Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas which introduces two newcomers in Hindi cinema – Karan Deol and Sahher Bammba. While Karan Deol hails from the respected Deol family, Sahher has no such Bollywood connections. She auditioned and then bagged the movie, leaving around 400 aspiring actresses behind.
Eastern Eye recently connected with Sahher Bammba at a promotional event and talked to her about Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas, her life before PPDKP happened to her, the moment she faced the camera for the first time and, of course, her rapport with Karan Deol and Sunny Deol, and much more.
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How did you bag Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas?
I was in Mumbai, attending my college. Because I always wanted to be an actress, every now and then I used to go for auditions. But I did not get any good offers. After that, just to get some sort of exposure, I participated in a pageant, not knowing that something will materialize, and I happened to win that pageant.
Meanwhile, I came to know that auditions for Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas were also taking place. I got a call from the casting director telling me that auditions were happening and whether I was interested in giving auditions. I got really excited. I wanted to give my 200%. After a couple of rounds of auditions, the last round Sunny Deol himself directed, and it was such a big deal for me. I thought whether I bag the film or not, it was such a big deal for me. I think, after a week or so, I got a call confirming I had been finalized for the role.
Where were you when you received the news?
I was in Bombay only. I was having dinner with my family. I had just opened the menu card in a restaurant when I got a call telling me that Sunny Deol wanted to meet me the next day. I felt that they must have called me to say sorry or that I was good but they could not select me.
My parents had come to Mumbai because they had to attend a wedding in Goa. They thought that they will first come to Bombay, meet me and go back. So, I went to their office the next day. They had kept a tissue on the table and I was like, ‘What is this happening?’ Then they told me that I was selected. I was reaction-less. When they got to know that my family was also in Bombay, they called my family also to the office and told them about my selection. Even they were reaction-less. It is so good to be true.
Was it your aim to be an actor or you just gave it a try?
I always wanted to become an actor and, in fact, the reason why I came to Mumbai was acting. After I was done with my schooling, I told my parents that I wanted to go to Bombay because of more opportunities. They were very supportive. Initially, they said I should go to Delhi as it was closer to Shimla. Moreover, we have family and friends there, so it will be easy for me, they said. Bombay was a completely alien city for me. It will be a wee bit difficult, they felt. Then there will be accommodation problem, etc. But I was ready to stay in a hostel, which I eventually did. We were like 8-10 girls in one room. I did all of that as I really wanted to be an actress.
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Do you remember the first scene you shot for?
My first day on shoot was really bad. I broke down. I am playing a Delhi vlogger in the film who had to run up and down the mountain and eventually get breathless. When I started performing the scene, I tried but I just could not get breathless. I am from Shimla, so my lungs are pretty used to climbing. People there never use cars and walk long distances.
So, I could not get breathless, even though I was running continuously and Sunny Deol got fed up. He said, ‘Let’s take a break. We will shoot after a lunch break.’ During the lunch break, I just called my mom and broke down. I was like, ‘I will just cut out from this and come back.’ My confidence level was very low. Fortunately, after the lunch break, we eventually got the take. Sunny Deol is a perfectionist and he just got things done.
Sunny Deol and Karan Deol are family. Did you take time to feel at home with them on sets?
I did not find it difficult because before the shoot of the film, the whole team was in Manali. So, we got to spend a lot of time with one other, we got to know one other better. We used to do workshops, script readings, etc. When we both had nothing to do, we used to go for trekking. We became really a family almost, and once we started shooting, there was no inhibitions or nervous energy around.
You have grown up watching Sunny Deol as an actor in films. How was he as a director?
He is very strict. In fact, there are two Sunny Deols, I would say. One who was off the set and the one who was on the set. Off set, he is completely chilled out. We can talk about anything and be mischievous. On set, he is very focused, hard taskmaster. He wants everything done to the tee, and he will not settle for anything less. If he does not get it even after 20 takes, he will ask for the 21st take. He knows what he wants. But when Karan and I, both of us see the final product of the film, there is a sense of satisfaction that he has pushed us to that limit due to a reason, and we are very grateful to him for that.
Was there any moment during the shooting of the film where you got really emotional?
I broke down at the trailer launch of the film and even when I saw the trailer for the first time. Because the flashback of our two years’ journey just came in front of me. Even though it was difficult, the whole team just became like a family. Even now, as the release day is inching closer, there is a weird kind of feeling inside me because all these people have become my family. In fact, Karan and I just got so used to each other that when we had to act with the third character in each other’s absence, we used to miss each other. We used to message each other, saying, ‘I miss you.’ We both are very emotional that way.
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There are many aspiring actors who come to Mumbai but fail to make it. Do you think you are lucky to be launched by a production house like Sunny Super Sounds?
Of course. It is not like I did not have my fair share of struggles before getting this, but I think I will be eternally grateful to Sunny Deol who has chosen me among so many girls.
Did you ever think you would be launched in such a big way?
It was definitely a dream come true. When I was in Bombay and doing my college, I would always feel whether or not my dreams will realize. At the back of my mind, I was always feeling restless and anxious. I would always think that after three years, when I will finish my college, and if things did not work out by then, I have to go back to Shimla. So that thought was very scary.
If not an actor, then what would you have liked to become?
Like I said, there was no plan B, and it was very strange. Now when I think of it in retrospect, it was a really big risk. I think I am very fortunate that my dream has come true. I think coming to Bombay was itself a big risk for me and my family. Now that I have come, I will give my 100% to make this happen, I thought. And fortunately, that happened. I really don’t know what I would have done. To be very honest, I was doing my college for a degree but this was something I always wanted to do. In fact, I did not want to do Travel & Tourism, I wanted to go to an acting school. But because I got into this, I just took this. It was good but it was not something I wanted to do. I love travelling though.
Pal Pal Dil Ke Pass is running in cinemas now.