Meher Vij: Ever-smiling mom is unsung hero of Secret Superstar

In his review of the film Secret Superstar, Rajeev Masand, the noted film critic says, "Meher Vij is exceptional as the ever-smiling Amma and their (Zaira Wasim and her) scenes together are some of the best in the film."

We spoke to Meher Vij about Zaira’s charm and Aamir Khan’s quirky role in recently released film, about, who had also starred in Bajrangi Bhaijan as Munni’s mother, perfectly balancing her role of a battered wife and protective mother.

Meher Vij: Ever-smiling powermom is unsung hero of Secret Superstar
Meher Vij with Zaira Wasim and Kabir Shaikh in 'Secret Superstar'. Photo courtesy: Youtube video grab

CtoI: You have worked with Salman Khan in Bajrangi Bhaijaan, and now you worked with Aamir Khan in Secret Superstar, so next is Shahrukh Khan?

Meher Vij: How can I decide, you can’t really predict. But I would love to work with him, I really like Shahrukh Khan. I would enjoy working with him. So, if I get a chance, so why not. Then my Bollywood Khan Yatra will be completed.

CtoI: You are pretty young to play a mother on-screen, what preparations did you have to undergo to bring out the emotions of a mother in both movies?

Meher Vij: Preparation was nothing big because I am not Najma at all in real life. My only worry was I won’t be able to pull it off because it needed a lot of conviction as a mother which was a very difficult part for me. We did the readings but I had to follow the director of the film Advait Chandan all the time because I am not a calm and submissive person who is a very optimistic woman. I am not like that, I am very hyper. I am very reckless and anxious. So I had to tell him initially when we started the shooting that you have to calm me down every day on the sets. I had such a superb team that everything was served in front of me. I just had to speak the dialogues. Aamir sir has also enacted my scenes and showed me how I should perform and Zaira’s energy is also very infectious, which really helped me. Advait’s guidance controlled my graph all the time and every day. So, the credit goes to the team.

Meher Vij in 'Secret Superstar'.
Meher Vij in 'Secret Superstar'. Photo courtesy: Youtube video grab

CtoI: The mother in the film is also a victim of domestic violence, how difficult was that to portray?

Meher Vij: Emotionally and mentally, it was very draining because I haven’t experienced something similar which could inspire me. So, it was very challenging to do that for many days.

CtoI: How challenging and inspiring was it to work with Aamir Khan?

Meher Vij: It was amazing. He has very friendly vibes around him and when he comes on sets he becomes very friendly and happy, so you enjoy working with him. Of course, there is a certain amount of pressure you feel working with a person who is so good at whatever he does. You have that pressure to perform and live up to expectations. But he made us so comfortable from the day one when he did the reading.

CtoI: You have worked in TV earlier; how did films happen?

Meher Vij: With TV, after some time I wasn’t creatively satisfied. TV is good, it gives you instant money and fame, but it wasn’t giving me that creative satisfaction. So I had to take a break and pick up something which would have a longer impact on people and will be remembered for years to come. Because I want to be remembered as an actor that’s why I want to be part of films whether I’m playing a mother or a psycho or a doctor or a sportswoman, I just want to be a part of films which would be remembered. This is one film which I think will stay in people’s mind for a very long time.

CtoI: If today someone offers you a very big role on TV, would you take that?

Meher Vij: No, I won’t.

CtoI: With the #metoo and casting couch scandals, what would you do to deal with harassment?

Meher Vij: Thankfully, it hasn’t happened to me but I don’t know if it happens to me how will I deal with it. I think I would just walk away, I won’t even say a thing.

I feel every girl in the industry should get support from their families, who need to understand their point of view, support them morally and give them a lot of confidence and educate all the girls who are coming to the industry, because that makes you much stronger and confident. So the family support is very important.

CtoI: Any advice for people looking for a career in the entertainment industry?

Meher Vij: I would request parents to support their kids whatever they want to achieve, especially girls. And I would tell people who are seeking a place in the industry to follow their hearts and have patience.

Garima Kapil
Garima Kapil – Senior Writer

Garima Kapil has around five years of experience in the field of writing and editing. Specialised in writing, performing proof-reading and text editing functions along with content ideation; she has worked with leading e-commerce and as a freelancer. She writes on lifestyle, news, telecom, travel, education, healthcare, immigration, along with other subjects required as a full-time writer and freelancer.