Yehali Kalidasa plays the character of a Sri Lankan cadet who has come to the Pakistan Military Academy for training.
If someone visits Pakistan and says they fell in love with the hospitable people, food and environment, believe them! Sri Lankan actor Yehali Tashiya Kalidasa, who stars in Sinf-e-Aahan as Nathmy Perera, came for the project as someone who didn’t know much about the country and has become someone who knows it all thanks to the people who made her feel welcome.
In an interview with Fuchsia Magazine, the actor started off with how as an 18-year-old she’s still pursuing her studies back in Sri Lanka and is only here for a short while. “I started doing projects at the age of 15 and I have done a film, three teledrama serials and 15 commercials,” she told the publication. Kalidasa will be completing her studies by 2023.
Trending for her current project Sinf-e-Aahan, Kalidasa was asked about her experience with Pakistani actors, specifically Sheheryar Munawar (Capt. Usama), and all she could say was, “He’s very handsome.” We get it and completely agree.
Kalidasa narrated her experience with each and every actor but also emphasised who her favourite of them all was — Sajal Aly (Rabia Safeer). “I’ll start with Sajal, she’s my favourite. Even in Sri Lanka I watched her film Mom so from there onwards I liked her. She’s an amazing person and very talented.”
Kalidasa credited Yumna Zaidi (Shaista Khanzada) for all that she learnt on the sets of the women-led drama. “She’s the best and very talented as well. What I liked about her was that she’s very appreciative and I definitely picked up on the comedy Zaidi brought to the drama.”
She described Kubra Khan (Mahjabeen Mastaan) as the most “humble” and genuine person and Dananeer Mobeen (Syeda Sidra) as a person “who simply loves to laugh and make others laugh as well”.
“I told Ramsha Khan (Pariwesh Jamal) that every time I look at her she reminded me of Indian actor Anushka Sharma to which she said that it’s a normal reaction as she gets that a lot,” said Kalidasa. For Syra Yousuf (Arzoo Daniel), the actor said that she is a good mother and “very appreciative” of others, including her. She also met Yousuf’s seven-year-old daughter Nooreh on the sets and said “she’s very cute.”
Everyone who visits Pakistan is always asked about what they liked the most, be it the people, hospitality or the food. We’re glad Kalidasa’s company quickly got her used to traditional food and safe to say, biryani and gulab jamun are her favourites.
The Sri Lankan actor also described the relationship she had with the crew of female-led drama and said she couldn’t have found a better and more supportive team. She described her experience with director Nadeem Baig as “the best.”
Upon being asked about the role of Perera and how she got it, the actor said, “the script of Sinf-e-Aahan initially came via a family friend who happens to be a colonel in Sri Lanka”.
“After submitting the requirements I was selected for the second step which was a Zoom meeting where I met the director and Colonel Umair. They asked me to record a video saying a dialogue in Urdu and while that was difficult as I didn’t speak that foreign language, I was selected on the basis of my audition,” said the actor.
She also shed light on the fact that, despite being confirmed, she chose to go through the script before accepting the project.
It is indeed very scary when you travel to a country you’ve never been to before. Likewise, Kalidasa was terrified of travelling to Pakistan solely because she didn’t know anyone or how to speak the language.
“After I met the people, I’ve begun loving Pakistan and it’s my second home,” said Kalidasa. “I first came to Islamabad and then to Abbottabad. Based on what I asked fellow Sri Lankans, I was prepared mentally to meet the hospitable and humble people that I was told about,” she said.
Her first interaction with a Pakistani was on the sets of Sinf-e-Ahan with none other than her “favourite” actor, Sajal Aly. She later communicated with rest of the team but says that Aly and her were scheduled to film their scenes first, making it her first-ever Pakistani interaction.
Speaking about the challenges faced on the set, Kalidasa revealed that the entire training process at the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) was real and that they had to train for days. The one thing that really put her on her toes was the “salute test,” which made her cry.
“I had never held a gun before and did so for the drama. However, I never got to use a parachute [as seen in the trailers] only Sajal did the scene as most of us were scared of heights,” she confessed.
Often stunts are done by stunt doubles and to hear that most of what we’re seeing in the recent episode was done by the actors themselves makes us even prouder of the leading ladies of Sinf-e-Aahan.
Kalidasa ended by saying that she will most certainly miss the friends she has made here but also the PMA where she got to make memories and met people like Aly, Ramsha, Kubra, Mobeen, Zaidi and Yousuf.
Courtesy: DAWN | Fuchsia Magazine