Shilpa Shukla: Mentalhood is interesting and relevant

Sana Farzeen
Shilpa Shukla will play a modern-day working mother in Mentalhood.

ALTBalaji recently announced its latest web series Mentalhood. While it marks the digital debut of Karisma Kapoor, producer Ekta Kapoor has till now only introduced Tillotama Shome, Shruti Seth, Shilpa Shukla and Dino Morea’s characters. The team recently kickstarted its shoot in Mumbai, and the web show will launch in the coming months.

Shilpa Shukla, who shot to fame with Shah Rukh Khan’s Chak De! India, will play a modern-day working mother in Mentalhood. In an exclusive conversation with indianexpress.com, the actor opens up about the show, playing a mother and her career.

Excerpts from the conversation:

Tell us more about Mentalhood.

It is a very interesting and relevant subject. Every mother goes through these crazy times. When I got to know about the concept, I was really excited. Also, it has a good ensemble cast. I had a wonderful time working with them.

The series is about different types of moms. What kind of a mother are you playing?

I play Namrata who is today’s woman. She is a workaholic and tries her best to handle both her career and kids. She is a little materialistic, who feels money can buy everything. It comes as a revelation to her when she understands it doesn’t. The best part of Mentalhood is that it is peppered with a lot of humour. These issues are an essential part of lives. And the makers have nailed it completely.

It is being said that your character is inspired by Ekta Kapoor.

That’s really cool (laughs). Yes, this workaholic mother is actually very much like her. She is an achiever yet she works hard each day.

Was it challenging to bring out the emotions of a mother, since you are yet to embrace motherhood in personal life?

Not at all. I feel if you have empathy, you can achieve any kind of emotions. Also, I may not be a mother but I have friends and family, who are working mothers. So I understand that graph and have the utmost respect for them. Also, I feel every child is my child. I don’t need a biological one to bring out the emotions. And the kids that we have in our show are just too lovely. We share an amazing equation. We are more like friends now and are rising together in work. I really feel kids bring out the best in us.

You started your career with an ensemble cast, and this too has many popular faces, including Karisma Kapoor. As an actor, how comfortable are you with a multi-starrer?

Totally comfortable. Acting is a very different business. You want to work with good performers. Also, I come from a family that has nothing to do with showbiz. I didn’t know anything about the industry. So it’s more like an element of joy for me to work with people who I have seen on screen. Also acting is an exercise that needs teamwork. It becomes more exciting when you achieve a scene together.

What’s your take on the entire digital boom?

I feel it is a great platform with multiple choices for everyone. However, at times we are overdoing it a bit. I feel we are at a time where there is an explosion of lateral content. But it will all filter out in some time depending on the quality.

After a brilliant performance in Chak De! India, strangely we did not see much of you. Are you happy with the way your career panned out?

As I told you, I come from a non-film background but I wanted to be an actor. So there was a kind of peace when I started working. Of course, there has been an immense struggle, and even after Chak De!, when I had actually felt that I have finally arrived. But I am really grateful for all the work that I got. Also, as actors, I feel there is no coming or going. You just keep working and every experience enriches you. Also, having no expectations sometimes is a great thing, and that worked for me (smiles).