For debutante Pihu Sand, who plays Anil Kapoor’s onscreen daughter in Fanney Khan, there couldn’t have been a better launch vehicle to enter Bollywood. Being a part of a film starring Rajkummar Rao, Aishwarya Rai, Divya Dutta among other, Pihu says she is “full of gratitude”. In a candid chat, the actor talks about her experience, gaining 20 kgs for her role and how the absence of trolls surprised her.
Were there any apprehensions about playing a character who is facing body image issues?
It’s a privilege to portray such a powerful character, which is sending out a message. More than anything, I feel lucky to be able to play the role of the same body type that I was in. People are connecting to it and that’s the most important thing.
You said you always wanted to become an actor. What was the driving force?
That’s because both my parents are from National School of Drama (NSD), so the so-called dinner table conversations would always be about that. But, it was still very difficult for me to get in because I gave auditions number of times, and I was told I was selected over 500 girls, so it’s all the more special.
You’ve grown up watching Hindi films, so what kind of roles inspired you to take up acting?
I can’t count. You mention any role, any film, and I can tell you about that. My love for Hindi films has only increased with every film that I’ve been watching over 101-12 years. I love Rani Mukerji, Kareena Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Priyanka Chopra, Anushka Sharma, Bhumi Pednekar, Kajol and so many more actresses.
You play a plus-size girl in the film who aspires to be a singer. Do you feel cinematic sensibilities have evolved in Hindi films?
I feel audience is actually the key for this change in Indian cinema. We’ve always had wonderful actors in the past, but what we are doing now is more realistic. People are liking more relatable stories and not just typical dancing and singing songs, which also is very difficult to do. But being real onscreen is equally difficult. And if you’re not truthful in front of the camera while portraying an emotion, it’ll catch you, so, you have to own that emotion.
Were you body shamed at any point after the poster or trailer of the film released?
Honestly, I haven’t received, till now, any comment on my Instagram or Facebook. I used to get teased when I was a fat child but now that I’m addressing the issue of body shaming on the big screen, it’s great that people are accepting such roles. Even when I was reading comments on YouTube that how people are reacting to the trailer, nobody even once said that ‘this girl is so fat or she’s not looking nice or she’s weirdly dressed’.
So, what’s next after Fanney Khan?
I really don’t know about the future; haven’t even thought about it once. Right now, I want to act and explore this vast field by taking little steps ahead of ladder. I just want to work and do whatever role that comes to me. But I haven’t got any offers yet. Talks are on here and there but no dates locked.