Published: 06th May 2017
Godha is a female-centric film in a male-dominated society: Wamiqa Gabbi talks about Mollywood, going deglam and the Dangal hangover
Wamiqa Gabbi talks about making her Malayalam debut Godha and how playing a wrestler was a lot of fun, despite it having none of the usual commercial pizazz — including the usage of make-up
Even after Dangal, playing a wrestler isn’t quite glamorous or ‘regular’ for a female actor. So when 23-year-old Wamiqa Gabbi was given the opportunity to play a wrestler in her upcoming film Godha, she really had to think long and hard about the challenges coming her way. Godha marks the Malayalam debut of the Punjabi actress, who made her Tamil debut in Selvaraghavan’s film Maalai Naerathu Mayakkam in 2016 and Telugu debut in Bhale Manchi Roju in 2015. In Godha, Wamiqa plays Punjabi wrestler Aditi Singh with Malayali heartthrob Tovino Thomas.
We caught up with Wamiqa to discuss her preparation for the role and her take on the different film industries across India. Excerpts:
What was it like in Mollywood?
It was one hell of an experience. I was told by many friends in Mumbai that out of all the film industries in the south, the Malayalam industry is known for its quality and content. I was treated with so much care and the support I got from everyone during the action sequences was incredible.
Why did you opt to play a wrestler? It's not something a lot of actors would do.
You know how every actor says that they want to do different kinds of roles — that’s why I did it. It was different and challenging, but I went for it anyway. I’m actually grateful that it was offered to me. It is a female-centric film and to do one of those in a male-dominated society is special, at least to me. If I want to be respected for my work, then I cannot choose roles on the basis of its glamour quotient. I’m glad that I was asked to do this movie without makeup.
Wrestle Mania: Wamiqa received her basic training in Tarn Taran district of Amritsar
Did you undergo any training for the role?
I received some basic training in the Tarn Taran district of Amritsar, Punjab. I stayed there for a month at a coach’s house as it was in a very backward area. After that, I went to Kerala to work on my skills for the action sequences with wrestler Minil George. Aside from the training, I went to the gym regularly to work on my shoulders, arms and legs. I didn’t lose weight because I wanted to look more like a Punjabi wrestler; I actually built up upper arm mass.
Is there a difference between the South Indian and Punjabi film industries?
Obviously. They are completely different. The cultures are different, but the people are the same. I received a lot of love in Kerala during the shoot. Punjabi is my language and so I have a special place in my heart for Punjab, but the South Indian film industry has given me way more opportunities. Also, the industry down here is large, while the Punjabi industry is still developing. I believe that art has no language. I’m happy wherever it takes me. The scripts interest me, not the language.
My father is a famous Punjabi author who goes by the nom de plume of Gabbi. I changed my last name when I was in class X to Wamiqa Gabbi as I wanted to keep my dad’s name
Wamiqa Gabbi, Actor
What are your upcoming projects?
I have just completed a Punjabi film, Nikka Zaildar 2 starring Ammy Virk, directed by Simerjit Singh that is slated to release on September 29. I am also doing a Tamil film, Iravaakaalam starring SJ Suryah and directed by Ashwin Saravanan.