Fatima Sana Shaikh says she was molested at the age of 3

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Mumbai: Actress Fatima Sana Shaikh says she has faced rejection multiple times in her career. In a recent interview, she spoke about how she was not considered worthy of becoming a film heroine because she didn’t look like Deepika Padukone or Aishwarya Rai.

Fatima, who made her film debut with Aamir Khan’s Dangal, earned critical acclaim for her role in the film. It also went on the become the most successful Hindi film ever made.

However, she had to face a lot of rejection before she landed on the role. She said, “I was told many times that ‘you would never be a heroine’. You don’t look like Deepika, you don’t look like Aishwarya. How will you be a heroine?’ So there are people like them who will demotivate you. But now when I look back, I think, ‘fair enough’. That’s the standard of beauty they subscribe to. That one should look exactly like this or that to become a heroine. And I clearly don’t fall in that bracket, I fall into a different bracket. But there are opportunities now, there are films being made for people like me, who don’t look like supermodels, who look normal, average.”

Fatima also opened up about the sexism she had to face in the early days of her career. She even revealed that sexism runs so deep in society that she was molested when she was just three years old. “I have faced people telling me that the only way to get a job is through sex. So that has also happened to me. I have lost jobs to someone else for whatever reason. But I feel that there are a lot of struggles that a lot of people are facing apart from this industry and sexism is very much relevant and it exists in every industry. I was molested when I was five years old. No! I was three years old. So you understand how deep sexism goes. It’s a battle we fight on everyday basis. Every woman, every minority fights every day. And I hope our future is better,” she said.

Fatima will soon be seen in two back-to-back releases: Ludo and Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari. In a recent chat with Hindustan Times, Fatima revealed the real reasons she took up the films. “I never think of it as me wanting to try a different genre. Of course, I do want to experiment with different roles so it’s more about how interesting the project is to me. Like with Ludo, I wanted to do the film because of Dada (Basu) and with Suraj Pe Mangal, because of the amazing star cast. There are so many actors and all of them are so good. From Manoj sir to Seema Pahwa, Manoj Pahwa, Annu Kapoor, Diljit, Supriya Pilgaonkar…I mean it’s a heavy duty cast. And then Abhishek, who has made Tere Bin Laden, so comedy is his thing. So I felt like I want to be a part of it because it is going to be a learning experience. I don’t know when I will get to work with Manoj sir again so I had to jump into it,” she said.

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