Actor Sarika Singh slowly and steadily finds her place on the screen. With nearly 13 years of experience in theater under the direction of veteran Satyadev Dubey, Sarika took the big leap after playing in a number of TVCs. She is most remembered for playing the daughter of Sanjay Mishra in Hardik Mehta’s director Kaamyaab.
Sarika has also appeared in Jagga Jasoos, Bombay Begums, Sacred Games and the recent Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi, where she was seen as the youngest daughter of Naseeruddin Shah and Supriya Pathak. After working with directors such as Anurag Kashyap, Seema Pahwa and Anurag Basu, Sarika has also broken new ground in the digital space. She is now looking forward to her upcoming Netflix series Mai.
Sarika’s first contact with Bollywood was equally interesting. She played actor Satyadeep Misra’s on-screen wife in Anurag Kashyap’s ambitious project, Bombay Velvet. In her words, even protagonist Ranbir Kapoor was looking forward to seeing her in the small but impressive role.
Here’s what Sarika shared about Bombay Velvet and working with some of the best names in the industry.
What was your first acting project? How did the project come to you?
My first movie was Bombay Velvet. In 2012, I got a call from Mukesh Chhabra’s office. His assistant told me it’s a small but good part. I auditioned for it and within a week I got a call again. This time Mukesh Chhabra was on the line and he asked me where I was hiding so far. He said the audition was a lot of fun and that he would like to test me again. It was a very important part, not because I was bad at the audition, but because he wanted to see my acting up close. I went for the second test and he told me that even Anurag Kashyap loved my audition. That’s how I got the movie. It was a small part of the wife of Chimman (Satyadeep Misra), but I got a lot of appreciation for that. After the film, many casting directors who never called me started contacting me.
Bombay Velvet was shot in Sri Lanka. We stayed at a resort in Yala. They had recreated the whole Bombay of the 1960s in Sri Lanka, with so much detail. Even a matchbox had ‘BV’ (Bombay Velvet, name of the club) written on it. They had set up shops. I was shocked to see such a lavish set. It was all jungle on the outside and a whole city inside. Vicky Kaushal and I stayed at the same small resort because we weren’t established actors. Varun Grover was also with us.
Sarika Singh and Ranbir Kapoor in a scene from Bombay Velvet.
What do you remember from your first day on set?
The set has a nice atmosphere, in fact Ranbir Kapoor is the best actor and the best human being. The first day I remember I hadn’t started shooting and there was a party. It was the first day off in our first schedule. Imagine, I was so nervous the first day and then I have to go to a party. Ranbir comes to me and says ‘Hi’. He asked me which department I belonged to. When I told him I’m an actor, he asked about my part. He was excited that I was playing Chimman’s wife and said he’s looking forward to my scene. So that was my best memory of the movie, and of course Anurag Kashyap who is such a laid back person to work with.
Were you nervous? How many resits have you done?
I had done a few ads so I wasn’t terribly nervous, maybe a little. It was more difficult to come up with hairstyles, makeup and saris in those sixties. They shot the club scenes in Sri Lanka and my main scene was shot in Mumbai. She is in the club all the time while others do their business. We shot those portions in Lanka. So my scenes there weren’t so important that I would be nervous on my first day. But I was so happy to observe other actors like Kay Kay Menon, Ranbir Kapoor, Manish Chaudhary, I loved watching them.
How was your relationship with your co-stars when you later met or worked with them?
I met Anurag at some parties after the movie. He even directed my scene in Sacred Games. He said I would meet him after the wedding. He is very sweet. Manish and I became very good friends after Bombay Velvet. We live in the same area and still hang out together, go for coffee and dinners. We didn’t even know we were playing male to female in Bombay Begums and were delighted. I also have a good relationship with Vicky Kaushal. He’s a great person.
Although I expected more after the movie, I only got small roles, until Kaamyaab came to me in 2018. Hardik Mehta threw me in there because he saw me in Bombay Velvet.
Sarika Singh played the on-screen wife of actor Satyadeep Misra (Chimman Chopra) in Bombay Velvet.
If you had the chance to go back to your debut role, what would you like to change or do better?
Absolutely yes. Now that I see it, I find a lot of flaws and I feel like I could have done so much better if I had worked a little more on my character or on set. Although I have the feeling that this happens with every project.
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A movie or role that inspired you to become an actor?
I’ve never had that movie-watching atmosphere in my house where the whole family goes to a movie theater every weekend. But we did watch those movies every Sunday at Doordarshan. Be it Bazaar, Mandi or Chupke Chupke, even if it came repeatedly, we watched it. Also the television movies on Doordarshan with NSD and FTII actors. They were such realistic movies and I loved them from the start. I’ve never been a fan of movies like Zanjeer or Deewaar.