Ratna Pathak Shah nearly became an air hostess
In this episode of The Icons, her sister Supriya Pathak shares the history-making performance that changed her mind
Growing up in a desi household, we spent our evenings begging the thela uncle for a handful of sour candies, climbing over the neighbour’s wall to rescue a wayward shuttlecock, and gathering around the TV to catch an episode of Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai and Khichdi as a family.
The on-screen magic that Ratna Pathak Shah created with her character, Maya Sarabhai, was only matched by Supriya Pathak’s legendary role as Hansa Parekh. Both Ratna and Supriya have since gone on to play a range of memorable women, from the unconventional bua ji in Lipstick under the Burkha to the formidable Dhankor Ba in Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela.
In the latest episode of The Icons, Ratna Pathak Shah and Supriya Pathak sit down with Tweak India founder, Twinkle Khanna, to share the peaks and valleys of their journey, in between giggles and nuggets of wisdom.
While watching Hansa’s antics in Khichdi may have lightened our hearts, she was just as cathartic for Supriya. “Playing Hasna was like therapy for me,” she shares, admitting that even the long hours spent on set “never seemed like work”.
Ratna echoes her sentiment, admitting that “I was going to be an air hostess, because all my friends wanted to become air hostesses”. But after a history-making (Supriya’s words, not ours) performance as Rani of Jhansi in a school play that impressed even her kindergarten teacher, Ratna made a U-turn. Effectively cementing their status as the most talented sisters in the film industry.
Asked about their mantra for success, the sisters answer in stark opposites. “I didn’t do anything consciously, except keep working at the business of acting,” says Ratna. “I like thinking about it, I like practicing, and the fact that I do theatre regularly has definitely helped. It keeps me free and open in my head and looking forward to tomorrow.” Supriya shares that she’s driven by the necessity to be happy in whatever she does. “I’ve never felt that this is a low or bad time, I’ve always though that this is what it’s supposed to be. As long as my work is being enjoyed by my audience, that contentment keeps me going.”
With inputs from Sakshi Deshmukh