Shilpa Shetty: I Signed Nikamma Because We Rarely See Devar-Bhabhi Relationships in Films

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Shilpa Shetty is set to return to the big screen after a hiatus of 14 years. The Shabbir Khan directorial, that also features Abhimanyu Dassani and debutante Shirley Setia, is set to hit the theatres on June 17. The film’s team is on a promotional spree currently. During the movie’s promotional event in Delhi, the stars released an upbeat song ‘Ab Meri Baari Aayi’. During her interaction with the media, the Dhadkan actress was asked if she is playing a superhero in the movie, as there is a glimpse of the same in its trailer. The actress also responded to Nushrratt Bharuccha’s film releasing a week before her movie.

When asked if she is playing a superhero in Nikamma, Shilpa said, “Whatever you have seen in the trailer, is definitely a part of the movie. But what we see is a snippet of Adi’s (Abhimanyu’s imagination). It is a beautiful story between brother-in-law and sister-in-law and Bhabhi devar ki kahani bohot kam banti hai (lesser movies are made on the bond between a sister-in-law and brother-in-law ). That is one of the reasons why I wanted to do this film, that is one relationship that hasn’t been tapped in other than Sooraj Barjatya’s films.”

She adds, “I feel that in cinemagoers, there is a big dichotomy, 70 per cent consists of the masses and 30 per cent is made of the classes. This film will cater to that 70 per cent, it is a very massy film. It has a lot of love, lot of values and that is really your take home. Normally in a bhabhi-devar story, you see they have love and friendship, in this you see will hatred between the two. And people are saying it is a remake, but all of us haven’t watched the Nani film, and I believe the second half is completely different.”

In the trailer of Nikamma, we see her making Abhimanyu doing household chores. On being asked if Shilpa makes someone in her family do so, the actress said, “In real life, I don’t have a devar (brother-in-law), but If I would’ve had one, I would have definitely made them do some chores.”

On being asked about her movie releasing a week from Nushrratt Bharuccha’s social comedy Janhit Mein Jaari, the actress said, “Even if the movie was clashing, I would have wished her very best. It is a country of a billion people, everybody should go to theatres and watch the movies.”

Abhimanyu Dassani talked about his learning experience with Shilpa on and off the sets. The actor said, “I started learning from her first phone call. She has so much experience and is such a senior actor and as soon as she came on board, and she heard that I’m in the film, she called me up and she said ‘Abhimanyu, why don’t you come over and let’s go through the scenes together.’ For someone who does that, and in such a way, it was really touching. There is so much respect for her that she asked me to do the scenes with her. She has that aura and warmth, on set and off the set. Throughout the lockdown, she was the captain of our ship. She has been supportive, on and off set. So, I’ve not just had the experience of working with Shilpa ma’am, as a co-actor but I found, can’t say friend because I have so much respect, but I found her as someone that I would like to keep in my life forever.”

The actor talked about his character in Nikamma. He said, “My character’s name is Adi. When Sabbir Khan gave the title to me, I wondered if nobody has made a film by this title till date. It is such a common word, and every house has a nikamma (useless) person, so this is not a word but a feeling. At some point in your life, each one of you must have been called by the term. Nikamma is a coming-of-age film for us.”

Explaining how the film has a reliability factor, Abhimanyu added, “In your lives, one nikamma is there, but then there is an incident when you realise your responsibility. You become a man from a boy, and a woman from a girl – so that is the deciding factor. So, Adi realises this in the film. I’m sure there must be a person in your life, who sleeps all the time, and when you meet the person they say that they didn’t sleep well.”

The movie is an official remake of the Nani starrer 2017 Telugu film Middle-Class Abbayi. Director Sabbir Khan said, “I will just say that the original producer of the film, Dil Raju, I have a lot of respect for him. When I liked the story of his film, they gave it to me. He watched Nikamma recently, and liked the film so much that he had gone out of his way to sign Abhimanyu for his next film.”

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