Kubbra: “An Equal Society Is an Empowered Society”

After grabbing headlines for playing Cuckoo in Sacred Games, Kubbra Sait feels she’s grown as a professional, and finds herself busier than ever. The famed anchor-turned-actress finds equality in society more desirable than just empowerment, and believes that movements and conversations are necessary for an evolved society. The artist speaks about her upcoming projects in a candid chat with You & I.

From anchoring to being part of B-Town, what’s the transition been like for you?
It’s been a lot of perseverance, focus, dedication, and knowing where you want to be. There are many times when you think it’s easier to give up or to be happy and kind of be content with what you have. Anchoring was a very big part of my life and possibly still is because it’s instant gratification. When you work on a film, a TV show or a web series, there are so many people involved as stakeholders that the patience level needs to be much higher. The wait for it kind of pushes you, and that’s something that I’m still learning, being a part of the acting fraternity. But in the same breath I would add that I absolutely love being called an actor. I like how anchor is now a suffix. For me personally, it spells growth. And the fact that I finally achieved a small iota of success that I can surely call my own is huge.

Cuckoo from Sacred Games must have been a demanding role.
Absolutely, not because it was so-called ‘bold’ or experimental; it was challenging because there was this constant sword on your head of being just fair and humane to this character. And most of the time in the past, when a character like this has been portrayed it’s always shown as being aggressive. They’ve always been unlikable or there has always been a sense of fear or a stigma that has been attached to them. But somehow in Sacred Games we just normalised her presence; we associated her to be the love interest of the biggest and the most powerful man in Bombay city back in the day. So it was amazing to be able to take a small little line as a narrative from the book, and flesh it out and give such a real being as Cuckoo.

How has life changed for you after it?
I think it’s just beautiful the adulation that one receives, the kind of love, engagement, and conversations you have with people. I find it funny to say that now I have fans. I never thought I would be somebody who would have fans. It’s just so empowering. Also, I have become much busier, working almost every single day on five different projects, and making sure that I am able to sum up the best of my ability in every capsule of work that I do. So, yes, it is a lot of pressure to continuously perform. But at the same time it is good pressure so I enjoy it.

What’s your take on glamour?
Glamour for me is a lot of pressure. I really want to get done with makeup and hair in one hour, throw on a pair of denims and be comfortable. I just want to get ready in 15 minutes and leave; that’s who I am in real life. I can live in pyjamas and shorts and in T-shirts. I am very happy with that, but you are part of this industry and people want to know who and what you’re wearing, and how you’re carrying yourself. So it can be a bit intimidating and a lot of pressure. But the more real and honest you are to yourself, the easier it becomes to deal with glamour and everything around you.

To what extent are movements like #MeToo crucial for an empowered society?
I think movements, dialogues, discussions or conversations are very important if we want to be better people. And a movement like #MeToo brings to light the kind of unfairness that has existed in patriarchal society for the longest time. I think the need of the hour today is reformation. And, yes, maybe some people will find closure and comfort in naming and shaming these people because it’s been hidden in a very dark part of their subconscious mind. So if this is what makes them feel better, then this is what we should do. But at the same time, if they’re going to wait for an apology that will never come, then they will continue to suffer. I think healing yourself and practicing self-love is something that you need to do on your own. Of course, discussions, reformations, setting up formal cells of counselling or a cell where you can discuss any sort of a sexual harassment or mental harassment at work, where people will listen to you with a non-judgemental ear is important, too. More than empowered, I think it should be an equal society, because an equal society is an empowered society.

Your next is Dolly Kitty Aur Woh. Where do you see Alankrita Srivastava as a filmmaker?
I am a fan girl of Alankrita, and I absolutely loved Lipstick Under My Burkha. Now that I’m working with her I’ve realised she’s as cool as a cucumber on sets. She never raises her voice and never gets angry. She’s always polite to everyone else, and somehow I think it would be right to call her the ‘queen of dark’ when it comes to women. There’s always a shade of grey she explores when she is writing her female characters, which is so beautiful. It shows that women can be flawed too, and that’s something that is the need of the hour. There have been a lot of women who are also dealing with grey spaces. I think for me, Alankrita gets full brownie points for exploring that shade or that side of women.

What kind of a man would fascinate you?
A man who is respectful, who accepts my drive, who has a great sense of humour, has well-manicured hands, a great smile, takes care of me, and is presentable.

How would you best describe Kubbra?
Kubbra is driven, perseverant, kind, energetic, and an effervescent human being (laughs)! 

   --- as told to Jaideep Pandey (Connect with @PandeyJaideep on #Twitter) @jdpjournaliston #Instagram) and Photography: Rahul Jhangiani