Motorcycle diaries

Fatima on how she brushed up on her biking skills before Dhak Dhak rolled in Delhi

Fatima Sana Shaikh in the film’s first look

Barely a fortnight after Taapsee Pannu announced her new production Dhak Dhak, leading lady Fatima Sana Shaikh is zipping down the roads of Delhi on a motorcycle, shooting for the film. Playing a biker comes easy to her. “I knew how to ride a bike. So, my manager pitched [my name] for the project. I shared photos and videos of me riding a bike to show [the makers] that I could be this character. It was almost like I chased the film,” she smiles. The actor brushed up on her riding skills for a week before she reported to the Delhi set. “Initially, I rode in and around my area, then started going up to Juhu and Carter Road.”

Dhak Dhak, helmed by Tarun Dudeja and also starring Dia Mirza, Ratna Pathak Shah and Sanjana Sanghi, revolves around the life-changing experience of four women who ride to the world’s highest motorable pass. With the theme of self-discovery, the film is right up Pannu’s alley. “It’s wonderful when [stories] speak about empowerment, without it being in your face. Dhak Dhak is a personal story that ends up giving a [powerful message]. Everybody knows how Taapsee is — she chooses strong roles. If the producer’s sensibilities match yours, it becomes a smooth ride,” says Shaikh, who recently won praise for her performance in Modern Love Mumbai.

Delighted as she is to be part of the women-led offering, she is ecstatic about sharing screen space with Pathak. “She is a pataakha! She is a good [biker]. If she falls, she gets up and kickstarts the bike again. I love her.”

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