Meher Vij, the super mother in Secret Superstar, gets candid about the response she got about the film, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan and much more.
Umesh Punwani of KoiMoi had an exclusive conversation with Meher Vij where she opens about her mother whom she lost to cancer, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and how Secret Superstar is not merely a film.
The movie, many-a-times, is about direction but sometimes some performances are bigger than that and your performance in Secret Superstar is one of them!
Thanks a lot! It feels so great to get such compliments. Somewhere while growing up I have realised that films can influence you to a different level. That is why it is our responsibility to make good films.
The best compliment you got for Secret Superstar?
There were two types of compliments I got in abundance – one was the metamorphosis transformation of my personality as I am not the same person at all as shown in the film and second is people are talking about the natural part of the performance and my bonding with Zaira Wasim. My father is in full shock, he is very surprised. He can’t believe it is the same person on the screen. My parents are very proud and surprised at the same time.
In real life, we all know Manav Vij’s immense love for you how he cannot post a single picture without talking about you. But we all saw how your on-screen husband Raj Arjun was. So how did you bring in so much honesty to the role? How hard it was?
It was a roller coaster ride and emotionally very draining for me. Readings with Aamir Khan and Zaira Wasim helped a lot. A little bit I have picked up from my mom, some nuances, and her actions. Inspiration came from her. I followed Advait Chandan (Director), whenever I performed I saw his eyes to see if there is a feeling of satisfaction. I never had a clue what I was doing on set, initially, I thought I could never play this role. The graph is very tricky for Najma’s character, in one scene she is dancing behind the closed door and in other, she is getting beaten up. When Raj slaps me and how I get myself together and ask Zaira to go back to her room – that much awareness was difficult to grasp.
Even in the last airport scene when the guard says you can’t go back inside once you leave & you reply could this get any better, that scene had such a significant subtext.
Yes, that scene, Aamir Khan enacted for me. In that scene my character took such a big decision but what should be her next thought? What should I do next? Aamir Khan helped a lot to build this scene and he controlled the graph.
You have said how you are living your mother’s dream by acting in films.
Yes, it was my mom’s dream to become an actor. It couldn’t happen to her so she saw the same dream for me. It was her wish that has pushed me so much towards this industry. I was not much passionate initially but the fame attracted me. The ugly truth is you have to work really hard to get that fame. Yes, many have got that fame very soon – like star kids. There also are people like Anushka Sharma who have achieved everything from day one. For me, it was not like that because somewhere I was not that passionate or maybe the destiny was like that. After I lost my mother. I realized what would make her happy. Since then I got the kick and pushed myself to achieve her dream. The way I lost her bad, I lost her to cancer. I don’t know from where that force and passion got infused in me and after that Bajrangi Bhaijaan happened. Until and unless you don’t have the passion for your work, the work will not come to you.
Secret Superstar was all about inspiring people to dream. As you said you were living your mother’s dream, did you become nostalgic?
Many-a-times, there were incidents when I felt my mother is with me on the sets. There was a sudden temperature change in my room giving me the hints. The weather was warm outside and I used to confusion about what is happening. These are the things you cannot explain to anyone, you can just feel. Sometimes people may make fun of it or not understand but I felt my mother was around. In many scenes, I felt I have picked up things from her unknowingly which I realized later. My mother was guiding me throughout the film. The kind of response I am getting for the film, I never expected it.
Who has been the Secret Superstar of your life?
My Secret Superstar is my family. Manav (Husband) and my father-in-law they have been there for me. I didn’t had any godfather in this industry, nobody has supported me in this industry and I want to open about it. Moral support of my family has been so good it has helped me to recover from my mother’s death.
What was that decisive moment when you thought to become an actor?
At first, I never thought I could become an actor. During my television phase, I realized I am a decent actor and I should take it seriously. After Bajrangi Bhaijaan & Secret Superstar I have realized how much I love my job.
The best thing about Aamir Khan you got to know after working with him?
He respects himself a lot as an artist. At times we do not respect our art and take our work for granted. He is consumed by his work in a good way. From where the term perfectionist has come I don’t know. I don’t think he is the perfectionist I think he is very honest and consumed so automatically the outcome is so good that people think he is a perfectionist.
First with Salman Khan, now with Aamir Khan so only Shah Rukh Khan is remaining to complete your trio. How was working with both of them?
“Aapke muh mein gud, ghee aur shakkar bahut saara” (Laughs!) With Salman I did not do the readings as I did with Aamir, but whatever little I know about Salman Khan he is a very large hearted guy and very human. His approach towards his work and characters is different from Aamir Khan. Salman Khan is loved by people in whatever he does.
You said you have to do a comedy film now?
Yes! I am all on to do a comedy film. I would run and reach the sets if someone offers me a comedy film.