Sonia Shah, an Amdavadi, acted in Veer Hamirji – Somnath ni Sakhate (the first Gujarati film shortlisted for an Oscar nomination in the category of Best Foreign Film) followed by an impressive stint in Saraswati Chandra as Menka (Guman’s sister). Now she is all set for her upcoming urban Gujarati film Happy Familyy Pvt Ltd and says, “Happy Familyy Pvt Ltd will always be special to me as a Gujarati film!”
The Ahmedabad blog connected with her to know more about her new film and her experiences as an aspiring actor in Ahmedabad.
Tell us about your role in “Happy Familyy Pvt Ltd”
Happy Familyy is a film about this family who gets into the situation of having to live their lives without money. I play the role of Kimmi Mehta, A Calorie Conscious Wife of Uttam Mehta who has two kids. Kimmi runs a gym but still has no identity of her own. She has struggled with her husband to reach where he is today. But with money flowing in, things change in her family. It’s all about page -3 lives now and having all the luxuries of the world. Kimmi runs a gym and her philosophy is if you are 18 by heart then you are always 18. She also feels she is young and chats with young guys in the gym which gives a wrong impression to her daughter that she keeps flirting around with guys who are half her age. Unfortunately, because of the busy life she could never become her daughter`s friend. The entire family has lost that connection because of their urban life. The story is about how this connection comes back because of one situation which leads to a series of events one after the other.
Did you always wish to be an actress?
It was just a coincidence. I was born in Khadia area of Ahmedabad city and was from those girls who were always ahead of the time. I was bold, confident and wanted to explore the world. When I was in 6th standard, In-cable was launched and I was called to anchor the prime-time movie. During those days, before a movie started anchor use to talk about the movie before and after the movie. I just gave a shot as I had my summer vacations and it was also giving me pocket money. Khadia being a small place, I was a celebrity on 3rd day over there after my first show. From there my journey started and I had to never look back. Later, I started modelling and modelled for almost all the leading brands of saree’s from Asopalav being the first one to Roopkala, Praful Parag , Tea brand Wagh Bakri , Mumbai based brand Lady Grace and a few others.
You think that Gujarat`s film industry is finally picking up when compared with other regional industries?
Yes. In Spite of Being a Gujarati, I didn’t feel like watching Gujarati movies earlier because it was completely out of trend. And the set up would also be in villages with heroines wearing ghaghra choli and running around trees. The audience targeted, the script, the way it is directed, the set-up; everything plays an important role in a movie. But now, with more and more urban Gujarati films coming up, producers are seeing business in Gujarati Industry too.
If we see Marathi film industry, the audience respects it. Filmfare has announced separate category for this industry now. The marathis love their language and never ignore a Marathi film. I feel somehow that this love from Gujaratis of their language film is missing. People don’t consider it rich when it comes to watching a Gujarati film.
That trend is changing now. Though slowly but yes it is surely on the right path.
Which is your favourite place in Ahmedabad and why?
When this question asked, people might name some famous eatery joints or touristy places but for me my mother`s house in Khadia where I was brought up will always be my favourite place. That is where I got my first break as well with in-cable and till today whenever I go I get the same amount of love and care from the people of Khadia. They don’t make me feel like a celebrity which is hard to find at any other place wherever I go.
Are there enough opportunities in Ahmedabad for aspiring actors?
No. Not at all. If you would have asked me 10 years back. I would have said no but honestly as an actor I haven’t done much work in Ahmedabad because of lack of opportunities. I feel there are few opportunities in Ahmedabad. You have to go to Mumbai in my view.
Tips for aspiring actors in Ahmedabad
There is no option other than hard work. Secondly this field requires a lot of patience which one doesn’t know till the time he/she enters the field. There will be times when you will give audition and you will get selected in top 100, then top 30, then top 10 and then you will get rejected in top 3. But you have to keep patience.
Also, please PERFORM and not ACT. Even after your film is over, you have to look for other films, better roles. Life is always a struggle.