Busy Bee: In Conversation With Kubbra Sait
Sait has shown different sides of every character she has played, whether it’s the counselor Anushka with some weird idea of therapy in Rejectx, or Gaitonde’s transgender love interest in Sacred Games, or her appearances with Salman Khan In Ready and Sultan. With 2020 as busy as 2019, the actress sits down with us to talk storylines, character actors and more.
Kubbra, what’s on your mind right now?
(Laughs) I’m a multi-over thinker. Right now, I’m thinking about the painful physiotherapy session I have to go for right after this interview. I’m also thinking what I’m going to be wearing for the Emmy’s as I’m going for it because Sacred Games has been nominated. The feeling is mad. I remember when Sacred Games had just released, Inside Edge had just been nominated for the Emmy’s, and I had said, ‘Next year, we’ll win this.’ Now it feels like it’s happening.”
How has 2019 been for you?
It’s been a reflective year. You can only dream of something like Sacred Games happening to you, and it was reality for me. That being said, it’s also been one of the busiest years of my life. It almost feels like I used to anchor in my past life. I have finished five web series and I’ve been filming Jawaani Jaaneman with Saif Ali Khan, Dolly Kitty with Konkona Sen Sharma and Bhumi Pednekar and a film with Rajat Kapoor. I’ve done eight projects and 2019 isn’t even over yet…
One of the most breakthrough performances of Sacred Games has been your character. How does it feel to look back at it, now that even season 2 is over?
It leaves you with a feeling that all good things must come to an end. That story, that character left people asking for more. There can’t be a bigger joy than playing a character that left people with a taste of it in the mouth.
Do you think web content is going to be your domain?
No, acting is my domain. Have you ever had a CEO of a company introduce himself as ‘Hi I’m CEO (name)…? Or Salman Khan say ‘Main filmon ka actor hoon.” Eventually I want to be a better actor, not a better film actor or commercial ads actor.
Do you think that as an actor, there’s now more scope of getting to try different characters on the web than there is on the mainstream screen?
I think the timing of web content is perfect. It’s a time when everyone is consuming entertainment on the go. But it’s all about perception. Films on the big screen will be appreciated for the technology, the grandeur, the sound, the effects, there’s no comparison of the two. But the reason we are watching the web to show us more stories is because of no censorship. If we start to censor it, we’ll be limited to international content. That’s why web is perceived to be a breath of fresh air.
Do you still get bizarre questions about playing a trans-woman?
I don’t get questions…they’ve just decided I have a penis. People still ask me if I’m transgender. Someone actually said to me, ‘Very good trans face.’ And I was like…what the hell is a trans face? In fact, someone sent me a screenshot of a porn clip that wasn’t even me, saying I look good. I am literally on PornHub. We now have web shows and movies that have made us think, or have started a discussion.
Do you think we’re finally making more real stories?
I think we’re a developing nation in the truest sense. Our development goes beyond the culture of our upbringing, and that’s allowing us to make more real stories. While there is a segment that’s highly opinionated and easily offended, there’s a larger community that we’re doing service to. It’s not just about the makers, but it’s also about the viewers that are allowing us to tell stories like these.
What kind of movies does mainstream still need to bring out, according to you?
I think we need to make more films about the third gender, about same-sex, about sexuality in general. We also need to make films about older women. We need to tell stories about different people, about mental health as well. There are tons of topics to address…
If you had to do one thing differently when you played Kukoo, what would you change?
(Thinks) I wouldn’t kill myself. Kukoo was stronger than that. I could’ve been shot, but I wouldn’t have killed myself. Every role has its own challenges, and everyone knows Kukoo was challenging.
What about your other roles?
I had no benchmark of challenges when I did Sacred Games. When you work with a director like Anurag [Kashyap], he builds your quirks into your character. When you’re working on a different set with different film-makers, you can’t take the same quirks there. I had to undo the quirks that I didn’t even know existed. That was interesting. I realized I am funny, but by design, not by profession. So in Tripling, I had to work on my comic timing. As Anushka in Rejectx, I had to stop judging the character first to play it with respect to it. What she’s doing is wrong according to Kubbra, but not according to Anushka.
One role you wish you would have done…?
Kalki’s role in Made in Heaven. She was phenomenal. What’s your plan for 2020? Taking a breath. I’m going to plan a diving trip in the Andamans. I’ve worked so hard this year.