Life came to a full circle for actress Delnaaz Irani, who played one of the most adorable roles of Bollywood, Sweetu, in Shah Rukh Khan's Kal Ho Naa Ho, and cut to 20 years later, she was recently seen being a part of the superstar's daughter Suhana Khan's debut project, The Archies.
In a candid chat with Free Press Journal, Delnaaz opens up on working in The Archies, similarities between SRK and Suhana, her absence from the silver screens, and more.
Delnaaz tells us that the main reason why she gave her nod to The Archies was because it was helmed by Zoya Akhtar. Having said that, she exclaims that she had a ball working with the Gen Z in The Archies. "The young generation is very inspiring and you learn so much. It's a different school altogether. Working with these youngsters gave me a certain kind of burst of energy and it happened all the time on the film's sets," she shares.
Being on the same set as Suhana Khan brought back a lot of memories for Delnaaz. She shares that she spent a lot of time with the starkid discussing Kal Ho Naa Ho and Shah Rukh. "I didn't have scenes with Suhana, but there was a lot of warmth when we met on set. She was meeting Sweetu after 20 years, and we shared stories of Kal Ho Naa Ho and her father. It was all very nostalgic," she gushes.
Highlighting the similarities between SRK and Suhana, Delnaaz adds, "The one thing that's common between Shah Rukh and Suhana is their charm and that both of them are solid, hardworking people. There is a positive vibe and energy when SRK is on set and I felt the same about his daughter."
The Archies marked the acting debut of not just Suhana Khan, but also Amitabh Bachchan's grandson Agastya Nanda and Sridevi-Boney Kapoor's daughter Khushi Kapoor, and it once again kicked off the nepotism debate. However, Delnaaz opines that it is wrong for people to judge and pressurise the kids who are out to pursue their dreams.
"The word 'nepotism' has been given too much importance. It's not just in our industry, but everywhere. Like a doctor would want his son to be a doctor, it is natural in showbiz too and the kids are not to be blamed. They are young and dedicated towards their craft, but it is so unfair to put the pressure of being someone's child on them and have these extra high expectations. Let them breathe. They too have dreams and a right to be here, work and make a name for themselves," she explains.
Delnaaz was last seen on the big screen in 2012 in the film Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum, and on the small screen, she starred in the 2022 daily soap Kabhi Kabhie Ittefaq Sey. When quizzed about why haven't the audience seen much of her of late, the 51-year-old actress says, "More than me, that question is for the producers. Whenever I come on screen, there are only praises and positive feedback, so I don't know where things are going wrong."
"As far as television is concerned, I am not really interested in the roles that I am being offered. I want to do something very different and substantial. I don't want to go on a set and be unhappy ever. So I am only going to take up work that excites me," she quips.
With a message for filmmakers, she concludes, "You have a very good and talented artist out there named Delnaaz and I would love to work with each one of you, so do look at me and give me a chance."