Bring on the action, says actor Sagarika Ghatge ahead of her kickass new journey with BOSS
A national-level hockey player in real life, Sagarika Ghatge, for fans, is still the feisty Preeti Sabharwal from ‘Chak De! India’. But it’s time to make way for Sakshi Ranjan – Sagarika’s latest stint in ALTBalaji’s brand new web series.
You have seen her winning hearts as the fierce and determined Preeti Sabharwal in the 2007 Shah Rukh Khan starrer, Chak De! India. Ambitious and with ‘eyes always on the prize’, the character, brought to life by actor and real-life hockey player Sagarika Ghatge, was undoubtedly an instant crowd-favourite. All thanks to her striking looks, competitive spirit, and her grit as she scooped her way to victory in the climatic last few scenes.
It’s been more than 10 years since Chak De! and Sagarika is once again back in action. Having graced the covers of many a fashion magazine, the actor made a brief stint on reality TV and added a few Bollywood titles to her name. This time around, she is suiting up for the Indian digital space.
In ALTBalaji’s upcoming mystery thriller, BOSS - Baap of Special Services, Sagarika stars as Sakshi Ranjan, a cop from the special crime branch who is on a mission to reveal the real identity of an undercover cop (played by Karan Singh Grover). It might sound like all action at the moment, but if Sagarika is to be believed, the series – it releases this weekend – packs in a healthy dose of comedy as well.
On the heels of this exciting new journey, YSWeekender caught up with the actor to find out more about her latest stint as a cop, her journey since Chak De! and her life after getting married to Indian cricketer Zaheer Khan.
Edited excerpts from the interview
YS Weekender: The image of Preeti Sabharwal from the iconic 2007 movie Chak De! India is still fresh in our minds. How has the journey panned out for you since then?
Sagarika Ghatge: The journey has been fantastic. Right from the first film till now, it’s been a very good experience. I am very grateful that my first film was Chak De, which turned out to be such an iconic film. We got so much love and adulation after it’s release.
YSW: What was it like starring with Shah Rukh Khan?
SG: Who wouldn’t have a great experience working with Shah Rukh Khan! I got to learn a lot. With Chak De being my first film, it was a learning experience… right from giving my first shot to doing everything in front of the camera.
YSW: What made you turn to the digital space? How is it different from traditional TV/movie?
SG: As an actor, I can’t really differentiate because at the end of the day you have to go and perform and you have to give your 100 percent regardless. It’s your job as an actor. That I feel stays constant. But of course, the way [content] is presented to the audience now, is very different.
Everything is getting digital now, even films are being released on the digital space. The times are changing in terms of accessibility, but as an actor your job stays the same, whether you are working on a film or a web content. Also, digitally, the concepts that are being produced and written are very interesting.
YSW: Tell us about the experience of filming BOSS - Baap of Special Services. How was the chemistry with Karan Singh Grover?
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SG: In terms of my character [Sakshi Ranjan], she is a cop. She is somebody who is very disciplined, abides by all the rules, is righteous, believes in doing the right thing and solving crime in the right way. As opposed to this, Karan’s character does the exact opposite things and yet solves the crime. It was great to shoot all the episodes because the camaraderie was fantastic, especially with the kind of camaraderie our characters shared.
YSW: What kind of training did you have to go through for portraying Sakshi Ranjan on-screen, a cop from the special crime branch?
SG: It was exciting… as I got to ride a bike in Shimla and even put in a little bit of fighting. I love action, so I was more than happy to be a part of this filming. In fact, if we do a Season 2, I would make sure that I get more of the action sequences.
YSW: Web shows are known to have opened the doors for content-driven narrative and interesting characters, especially female characters. How is Sakshi Ranjan different from the other characters we have seen so far or from the ones you have played?
SG: Now when I look back – maybe I haven’t done too much work but the little work that I have done – my characters have always been people who are strong. Luckily, this character [Sakshi] was no different. Even though there is so much comedy in the show, she [Sakshi] has that kind of an appeal to her character which is very disciplined and righteous. Fortunately, I have played characters who have a strong hold in the film, and this was one of them.
Getting to know the Sagarika behind-the-scenes
Not many would know but Sagarika is also an athlete and a national-level hockey player. In fact, this was one of the major reasons why she was selected to be a part of Chak De! She is also related to the royal family of Kolhapur. And other than Bollywood, she has appeared in a couple of regional language movies as well, including Marathi and Punjabi.
We asked her a few more questions – questions that shows us a glimpse of the Sagarika Ghatge behind the scenes.
YSW: What is Sagarika Ghatge’s guilty pleasure?
SG: Chocolates. I am a foodie and I eat my heart out.
YSW: What is the toughest part of being famous?
SG: It is that sometimes people form opinions on their own without actually knowing the person. That is something you can’t really help.
YSW: Have you had any troll scare? How do you deal with such situations?
SG: These are things that are not in your control, so I don’t give them much importance.
YSW: How do you stay fit amidst hectic schedules? What’s your go-to fitness regime?
SG: I have been involved with sports right since I was a child, that has always been a part of me.
YSW: Did you have a plan B when you were starting out in the industry?
SG: Not really a Plan B. Everything that has happened in my life, I haven’t really planned
YSW: What advice do you have for young girls who aspire to become an actor?
SG: Whatever you do, you got to be passionate about it. It doesn’t matter if you want to be an actor or not, you have to have that kind of passion, to be wanting to give your time and effort.
YSW: On a parting note – a lot seems to have changed for you in the past two years, you got married, how is this new phase treating you?
SG: Life has been fantastic! Time has passed by so quickly since we (cricketer Zaheer Khan) got married and it’s great to come home to a person who understands you so well, encourages you so much in terms of every aspect of your life, whether it is work, anything personal, or any crisis situation that I am going through.
That one person is constantly there for you and it is the best feeling to have!