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Jawan actor Aaliyah Qureishi braved injury, took painkillers to dance in Zinda Banda: ‘Shah Rukh Khan ke sath naach ne ka mauka…’

Shah Rukh Khan’s Jawan is flying high at the box office, approaching the elite Rs 1000 crore club globally. The Atlee-directed actioner has become the second big hit of SRK this year. While one cannot stop praising the superstar, the film also gave a platform to three new faces — Aaliyah Qureishi, Lehar Khan, and Sanjeeta Bhattacharya. They played members of Azad’s girl gang along with Priyamani, Sanya Malhotra, and Girija Oak.

In a chat with indianexpress.com, Aaliyah shared how the success of Jawan is yet to sink in. “Sometimes I feel it’s real but at times, I feel I would wake up to realise it’s all a dream.”

While there were six girls, audiences got to see only the back story of three. Sanjeeta had earlier shared with us how Atlee had given her a brief about her character as a hacker. However, Aaliyah shared that she got no reference but wanted to build her character up and thus penned a story herself. “I wanted to understand why a musician would be in jail and hence I decided to write Jhanvi’s story. I will not get into details as it makes me emotional but I actually wrote a 13-page character graph for it. Because she is a musician, she spoke against something that the people in power did not like, and hence she was jailed. That thought gave me a push to perform better.”

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She also admitted that from day 1, she knew that they would not be filming Jhanvi’s past. The actor laughed to say that the film would have turned out for six hours if they had focussed on every character’s individual story. “Atlee sir is known for his fast-paced, action drama, and that’s how it was supposed to be made.”

‘You can learn so much by just observing Shah Rukh sir’

While watching the song “Zinda Banda”, we noticed Aaliyah missing from certain parts. The actor explained, “So, I had a small accident during the dance shoot. It sounds ridiculous but while we were practising, a dancer’s dufli slipped from her hand, went through the crack of the stair and fell on my head. Atlee sir was like you have a bump on your head, go home and rest. For two days, I couldn’t even walk because of the splitting headache but the third day, I took painkillers and rushed back. Shah Rukh Khan ke sath naachne ka mauka roz nahi milta hai (You don’t get a chance to dance with Shah Rukh Khan every day). It’s unfortunate that I missed being part of the start of the song.”

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Talking about the man of the moment, Shah Rukh Khan, Aaliyah Qureshi said how she was nervous on the first day, but tried to keep calm. “I didn’t want it to show on my face as that would affect my performance. Also, I am into meditation, so I would take deep breaths whenever it got overwhelming. At the end of the day, we are all actors and have to do our jobs. Also, SRK sir has been so nice and kind to us. He made us feel like an equal and taught us how one should keep working with the same passion for years.”

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The actor added that while her interaction with Shah Rukh was quite a learning experience, she also learned a lot by just observing him. “His discipline is the biggest learning. Also, he is a master of his craft. While we all have seen him on screen, to see him perform live… I was blown away. The way he uses his body language, modulates his voice and adds humour… I can go on for hours. Not many people know, Shah Rukh sir also modifies the scene. While the writers do an amazing job, he elevates it to take it to a new level. He adds his inimitable humour and charm and that makes the scene so much more different. It’s beautiful to just watch him and learn.”

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On a final note, Aaliyah added that King Khan is ‘wise’ and understands the industry deeply. “We were really lucky to have worked with him at this juncture of our life. There’s so much we soaked in and learned every time he was around us,” she concluded.

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