Kubbra Sait’s journey can be described as anything but linear. Dissatisfied and looking to follow the yearning of her heart, the actress, anchor and TV show host sought a shift from the marketing world to being #PaidToTalk. From engaging with audiences at the Filmfare Awards, transporting people to Rajasthan through the television screen, hosting the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi, lighting up adverts and enthralling and captivating audiences in her most recent on-screen role as Cuckoo in Netflix’s Sacred Games, Sait found a way to propel herself forward after choosing to vest belief and time in her talent.
SheThePeople.TV converses with Kubbra Sait about her journey to the global stage and becoming a boss of life.
Kubbra has always humourously said that she is “Paid To Talk”. Her first step as an anchor and TV show host was to trademark the words to her logo and name. It took Yasmin Sait – her mother and manager – 4 years to seal that as the words went from TM (trademarked) to R (registered). #PaidToTalk was a byproduct of that movement. Sait has always conducted her work like that of a corporate – her mum has all the files and history of the work they’ve done so far.
On how to approach hosting a show
As an anchor, Kubbra started with the smallest of stages and embraced every show till she found herself capable and responsible enough to handle bigger and more serious shows. She learned on the job. “Prepare well. Don’t think you are just rattling a few lines and that’s your job. Your job is to make that evening the grandest evening of their lives. Make it memorable for them. Humour should be real and not forced. Embrace your flaws and learn from them. Reach a stage in life where you can command change and make suggestions to the event manager. You’ll be respected for it,” advises the stellar anchor on how to approach hosting a show.
No better teacher than travel
Her most memorable learning comes from a solo trip to Japan. The country had been secluded for long, opening its arms to world culture only a few hundred years ago and yet “you’ll see authenticity in people when they greet you, meet you or help you,” shares Kubbra. “Be honest to yourself and to your dear ones about who you really are,” she says maintaining that there’s no better teacher than travel.
On playing Cuckoo
The actress has always pushed herself to play new characters, as reflected in her diverse acting repertoire. “They’ve helped me evolve – not just as an actor but also as a person,” Sait observes. She wishes to be wise about what she chooses to work on, given her luxury of choice that wasn’t as extensive in the past.
“She (Cuckoo) is beautiful and powerful. She also happens to be super strong and comfortable in her skin,”
Kubbra Sait plays the layered character Cuckoo, a transperson and dancer, in Sacred Games. The character has captured audiences worldwide – viewers can’t stop praising Sait’s portrayal of a powerful woman, from when Mumbai was Bombay, in the Netflix drama. “She (Cuckoo) is beautiful and powerful. She also happens to be super strong and comfortable in her skin,” says Kubbra. The actress chose to play the role because she didn’t have a reason to say no. Working on her dancing was the toughest aspect for her as an actor. She watched The Danish Girl to prepare for the role and also listened to Anurag Kashyap’s (the co-director of Sacred Games) thoughts on and vision of the character.
The actress believes that “it’s a world where what you do mustn’t be dependent on what gender you are, or what your sexual preference is. It’s an unequal world, where opportunity should be for everyone,” which is why Cuckoo is liberating, out of the box and real, making her exceptionally special. “So far, the (trans) community hasn’t been represented with the kind of respect they command, but dialogue and a step in the direction is a positive sign of change,” maintains Sait.
“It’s a world where what you do mustn’t be dependent on what gender you are, or what your sexual preference is. It’s an unequal world, where opportunity should be for everyone”
Netflix versus Bollywood
As an actor on set – Netflix versus Bollywood – nothing changes. The whole team is essentially “Bollywood” but the sensibilities are unique and freedom is in abundance. The cast and crew of Sacred Games worked together as a single unit with a single goal in mind to create a good, honest and complete show. “I am pretty sure we’ve achieved that,” notes Kubbra.
“The idea was not to make a quick buck, but to be bloody good at what I do.”
It’s no mean feat to completely switch professions and achieve success through the choice. It made Kubbra Sait more focused and disciplined. Determination and action kept her motivated from losing sight of the goal and accepting blame when things didn’t go right. She kept busy – working, reading, honing her skill, diversifying. “The idea was not to make a quick buck, but to be bloody good at what I do. Which is still the endeavour, even as an actor,” shares Kubbra Sait. The actress and anchor has won India’s Best (Female) Emcee award twice, once in 2013 and a second time this year. She views this as a sign of doing the right thing, knowing that the award means progress.
“Experience and experiment. Don’t numb your vulnerability. Invest in growth, learn a new language, develop a new skill. It’s easy to sit and blame situations, but no one ever said that you can’t have a round 2 in life. Life is all about chances – take them. Even if we fail, we only become resilient to rise. But again, that is perspective,” asserts Kubbra Sait.
Feature Image Credit: Rahul Jhangiani
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