Incredible journey of Shishir Sharma from theatre to films

By Manju Mittal

Shishir Sharma, a well known renowned actor and theatre artist of Bollywood I met on my recent trip to the film city Mumbai. Shishir has established himself as a versatile performer through a varied range of films such as Satya, Om Jai Jagdish, Sarkar Raj, Talwar, Fanaa, Mary Kom and recent released Dangal.   Since his early age he has acted in many plays and later appeared in TV Serials and Films.

He portrayed the character of an International coach in the film Mary Kom, CBI director in Meghna Gulzar’s Talwar and head of the department of NSA in the recent film of Amir Khan’s Dangal, his performance was simply magnificent, realistic and well praised. He is also known for his powerful performances in TV serials like ”˜Shastri Sisters’, Kumkum Ek Pyara Sa Bandhan’, ”˜Ghar ki Lakshmi Betiyaan.  He has appeared in over 40 films, and is active in theatre and television. Shishir belongs to a family infused with creative genes but he stands apart.

I held up in Mumbai traffic in the morning when I was to meet him and reached his office little late, I pressed door bell and a tall, broader and bearded handsome Shishir opened the door with big smile on his face. My moments with him felt precious when multi talented actor Shirshir shared his passion for theatre, his personal journey and views about Indian Cinema as we touched many other aspects of his busy life.

How do you look your journey from theatre to films?

It’s been a great exciting long fruitful journey. In 1974 I started theatre, there was a time when director Sunil Shanbag offered me a play called ”˜Sambhog se Sanyas tak’, I said to him I can not act and I don’t even know how to stand on the stage, he said “Koi baat nahi Tujhe toh main actor bana kar hi chhorunga” these were his exact words. In 1975 the play was staged. I performed the play and it went  on for 18 long years in four languages; Marathi, Gujrati, Hindi and English. It took me almost 25 years to realise that yes I can do theatre and hold my feet on stage.

I have imbibed the best from my theatre guru Pandit Satyadev Dubey. Actors like Amrish Puri, Amol Palaker, Girish Karnad and Nasiruddin Shah have come from Dubey acting school. In 1993 my TV journey started with ”˜Swabhimaan’ serial, which was very popular, I did show of Ekta Kapoor’s ”˜Ithihaas’ and ”˜Kanyadaan’ with Kiron Kher. I started my career in films in 1995 and was happy to have started my journey in films that is still going on.

Can you share your experience working with actor and producer Amir Khan in ”˜Dangal’?

Undoubtedly ”˜Dangal’ has been an amazing journey for me and I have been privileged and extremely lucky to work with a perfectionist like Aamir Khan. Working with him has been a great process of exploring all the time. He is passionate about his work and honest about it. Amir is a delight to work with as a person. Overall it was a great experience working with the entire cast and crew. I consider myself fortunate to be part of ”˜Dangal’.

I want to add here, my mother also worked with Aamir Khan in ”˜Talaash’, apart from that my mother also worked with Aamir Khan’s father Tahir Hussain, in ”˜Kabuliwala’ with Balraj Sahni many years ago so the tradition of working with Aamir Khan’s family has been strong and my mother is very proud of it.

 What was the experience like working with Priyanka Chopra in ”˜Mary Kom’?

Working with Priyanka Chopra was great. I had worked with her earlier in ”˜Love Story 2050’ in 2008.  ”˜Mary Kom’ was significant as it was based on a living legend and since I played the coach in the film, I had absolutely no exposure to boxing before so I didn’t know what I was going to do, I had to undergo training for about 12 days at a make-shift boxing ring with Anoop Kumar’s son to learn the body language of a boxing coach. The whole experience was truly memorable.

 Shishir, what difference do you feel in two mediums theatre and films?

I love acting on stage more than in front of camera. From my young age I have been intensely involved in theatre.  I feel in theatre you are on your own, there are no retakes and you are not allowed to get it wrong. Theatre educates people it never gives solution it makes one think. It’s about positive and meaningful interaction between performers and audience.

You have achieved a lot Shishir from theatre to films, how does it feel and which is your most cherished film so far?

Well, I don’t feel I have achieved much at all, there is so much to learn, so much to explore. I enjoyed doing all my films and all my films are close to my heart especially ”˜Talwaar’, ”˜Mary Kom’ and ”˜Dangal’ are very powerful films and I am sure that won’t erase from audiences’ mind. I am extremely grateful to be offered varied roles from different kind of directors which has fulfilled my desires.

What is your secret of being so fit and good looking?

( Laughs) I think it is very important to lead a healthy life style. I like to exercise, walk and eat healthy and most importantly eating on particular time. Being diabetic I focus more on my diet and physical exercise, good rest and lead a healthy life.

Have you ever been to Australia and any future plans of coming to Australia?

Yes I have been to Australia twice, the first time I went to Melbourne for business trip few years ago and then second time in Adelaide for my film ”˜Love story 2050’ in 2008. I loved the whole feel of the city of Melbourne and Adelaide, the vibe, the warmth of the people, definitely will be coming to Australia again soon.

What is your stance on new communication technology and Social media?

The popularisation of social media is so strong that it allows the world to be constantly and conveniently connected. I find social media very positive and I use social media as an extra outlet to interact with my friends.

Who inspires you in Bollywood?

I am a huge admirer of Naseeruddin Shah’s work.   He has inspired me a lot.

How do you unwind yourself?

My family is very important to me. I am proud father of two daughters and I always try to prioritise spending time with my family.

What advice would you give to aspiring actors and a few last words to your fans in Australia?

Whatever you want to do, always do it with full passion and work really hard towards it, you must like your profession not only in theatre anything you like whether it’s the aspiration of an artist, a scientist or in journalism. Love your work and explore. Thank you for watching my films that I have been in.

It was great meeting Shishir, he is one of the most amazing actors both on stage and in films. He is one actor whose tireless discipline and commitment towards theatre make him an exemplary icon and inspiration for others to follow. He is a sheer delight to watch and is sublimely effortless.




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