Fatima Sana Shaikh made her Bollywood debut with Aamir Khan in Dangal, however, Fatima has said she believes we won’t get superstars after the Khans. Describing how accessible actors are today’s in the digital age, Fatima says, “The sensation era ended way back. After the ‘Khans’, I don’t think we'll ever have superstars. Now we all are accessible however earlier the celebrities weren't. We couldn't search them on social media or follow their lives. We were able to connect with them through their films and interviews.”
Fatima, who started her journey within the movies as a toddler actor with Kamal Haasan’s 1997 film Chachi 420, says the rejections shifted her focus from anticipating a standard lead role to searching for a good character. “I have been a child actor. I quit but making a comeback after that was difficult. I was not getting any work. People used to tell me I don’t look like Deepika Padukone or Katrina Kaif. They said, since I didn’t have the looks of a heroine, I should do whatever I’m offered. There have been many incidents where I was told that I was not good enough,” Fatima said.
The actor says her desire to perform ahead of the camera was so strong that she failed to hang to what individuals thought of her. “I solely had acted on my mind. The reason why I used to go for every audition was that I might get to perform in front of the camera, though the set-up was little.” The success of Aamir Khan-starrer Dangal, however, made things easier for Fatima as it gave her the option to choose.
“Before Dangal, I ne'er had the possibility to decide on my projects. I even did ‘Dangal’ because that was my sole option at that point. Every actor goes through this. That’s how things perform. However I'm happy that post the film and especially after Thugs of Hindostan, I actually have the space to choose,” she says.
Citing an example of Rajkummar Rao, her co-star from Anurag Basu’s upcoming anthology, the actor says there's no formula for success. “There isn't any single rule that applies to everyone. But now there are numerous opportunities because of Netflix, Amazon and alternative platforms. An influx of different mediums has given actors a lot more options.” Fatima says even though her aim is to establish herself as a sought-after performer, she does not believe in planning “too much”.
“Where I want to achieve it would take two or maybe six years. But I'm happy that at least I’m on my way. Before ‘Thugs Of Hindostan...’ i used to be an awfully competitive person I might keep a check on who is wearing what and what they were doing. But I realized everybody has a different fate and there is no point in following anyone’s journey,” she adds.
Fatima adds the only way the actors of her generation could survive is by doing good work. “The moment we do good work, we get appreciation and when we don’t things go the other way. Actors like Deepika have been in the industry for so long, but it is now that people have realized she is a very good actor because of her choices.”