Remember Sheeba? Yes, the heroine cast opposite Salman Khan in the 1992-release Suryavanshi. Though Sheeba went on to do movies like Ghaat, Pyaar Ka Saaya, Boyfriend, Dum, Mr Bond and a few others, somehow her film career could never take off. But then you cannot blame one person for an average or an unsuccessful movie. Abhishek Bachchan is another example whose movies have either fared poorly or done average business at the box office.
The 48-year-old actor recently made a comeback with Haasil, a serial on the small screen. Ask Sheeba why did she stop acting after having worked with all top actors back in the decade of the 90s and she says, “I stopped working after the birth of my first son (she got married to actor-director Akashdeep Sabir in 1996) but I did Ghaat and Dum as also a Punjabi and a regional film after it. In those days, your career was almost over once you got married and had kids. Luckily, the equations have changed and one can get back to it full-fledged now.”
Born and brought up in Dubai, Sheeba’s parents had no connect with the Hindi film industry and are into business. “After completing her education at the International School of Choueifat, I came to India when I was 16 and started acting in Sunil Dutt’s Yeh Aag Kab Bujhegi,” she shares.
But then how did she get to reach Sunil Dutt? “Sounds ironic but I didn’t. Dutt sahib saw one of my sari advertisements in a magazine on a flight (Sheeba did modelling during her schooldays) and came to me through some distant connect. He asked me to come to Mumbai and when I did, he told me that I perfectly fitted the role of the heroine in Yeh Aag Kab Bujhegi (YAKB) which he was directing. And that is how I entered the film industry,” she recalls.
Was the migration from Dubai to Mumbai smooth and what was her parents’ reaction? “Well, they were not fully convinced and despite dad buying a house for my stay along with my grandmother in Mumbai, I was told by him that if I was unable to achieve something worthwhile in a year, I would be expected to return home and continue my studies,” she recalls, adding Dutt sahib too playing a vital role by regularly convincing and reassuring my dad about my progress during the making of YAKB.
On her comeback on the small screen, Sheeba says it was fun for she worked with friends and for friends. “Haasil was a big picnic because producers Siddharth and Sapna Malhotra are close friends as is Zayed Khan.” And how was the experience for the glamorous actor to play a mom on screen? “Playing a mother was a bit of a not-so-nice-feeling’ but then today 16-year-olds are playing lead heroines so what do you expect for actors like me so I got over it quickly,” says Sheeba whose favourite actors are Rekha and Amitabh Bachchan while her fave directors are Rajkumar Hirani, Karan Johar and Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
Would she want her sons to take up a role in the film industry, say as an actor, producer, writer….? “My boys are totally non-filmi. They don’t really watch Hindi cinema as they haven’t got into that genre. Moreover, they are still studying. But if they want to get into Hindi film industry, I am open to it because it has been a good ride for both me and Akash so we are fine with it,” puts in Sheeba whose mother has been her inspiration, her support and her guiding force. “Without her, I’m nothing,” she says in an emotional tone.
Having watched her social media updates doing most difficult of yoga postures, I ask how and when did got drawn to it and Sheeba replies, “Yoga has been with me for long. Remember me doing a yoga sequence in 1998 romantic thriller Miss 420. I have practiced various forms of yoga including ashtanga yoga, hatha yoga and Iyengar yoga. I try and give my best so that I’m able to train others. Also, I run a lot of yoga challenges on instagram to promote yoga. I have got a large number of my friends into yoga and that is a very big happiness quotient for me.”
On her plans for future, Sheeba says, “I plan to do some interesting work on the web and in films. As my kids are in school, I don’t have to be a full-time mother. I want to become a part-time yogi, a part-time mother and a part-time actor.”