Aaliyah Qureshi, who is known as Jhalli, is preparing to take on the role of one of the six girls in Shah Rukh Khan’s girl squad in the highly anticipated film “Jawan.” Directed by Atlee, this movie is one of the most eagerly awaited releases of the year and proves to be a perfect fit for Jhalli, who has previously showcased her acting skills in films like “Hawaa Hawaai.” In addition to her film career, Jhalli has made a significant impact in the independent music scene with well-received tracks such as ‘let me be ur girl,’ ‘Mukkadar,’ and ‘stupid games.’ In an exclusive interview with AVMint discussed her experiences with the upcoming film “Jawan,” her collaboration with SRK, and more.
Could you share your initial encounter with Shah Rukh Khan on set?
My first interaction with SRK sir was truly surreal. I often had to remind myself between takes that I was indeed acting alongside him. However, during the actual scene, I focused solely on my character, blocking out all distractions. When the camera rolls, we are all actors with a job to do, and I didn’t want nerves to affect my performance. Moreover, SRK sir’s kindness and welcoming attitude towards me made it easier to stay composed.
How was your rapport with the other girls in the girl squad? How did you all relax with SRK during breaks from shooting?
Our bond as a group was remarkably strong, and I consider myself fortunate to have such strong, witty, and empathetic women in my life. The six of us clicked exceptionally well and became like a close-knit family. Even during breaks between scenes, you’d often find us in each other’s vanity vans, sharing jokes or watching funny YouTube videos. When we weren’t in the vans, we typically spent time with SRK sir on set. He graciously answered our questions and shared entertaining and insightful stories from his extensive filmography.
Working alongside a legend like SRK, what valuable lessons did you learn about your craft and life in general?
I gained a wealth of knowledge from working with him! I learned the importance of discipline and hard work. Witnessing him tirelessly bring three movies to life in a single year was truly inspiring. I absorbed valuable lessons about acting, movement, and delivering dialogues simply by observing him during scenes. He is deeply committed to realizing the director’s vision, and that’s something I aspire to carry forward in all my future projects. Moreover, I learned the significance of humility and kindness from how he treats everyone around him with respect. He once advised me never to judge something unless I had personally experienced it, a piece of advice I find truly valuable. He also emphasized that if you wholeheartedly believe in something, it will come to fruition, but you must harbor no doubt whatsoever in your mind.
Could you share your most cherished memory from the film’s set?
One memory that will forever hold a special place in my heart is the opportunity to sing for SRK! During the initial schedule, we would all have dinner in Atlee sir’s tent every evening. Upon discovering my musical inclination, SRK surprised us all by bringing two guitars, a microphone, a mic stand, and speakers to the set the following night, allowing us to jam together. I played some of my original music and covered songs. Then, while we were shooting in Chennai, “Brahmastra” was released. We were all eager to watch it but had a tight shooting schedule. In a generous gesture, SRK booked an entire theater in Chennai for us to watch the film together. It was an incredible experience to watch SRK in “Brahmastra” while sitting alongside him in the theater, cheering for him. It felt like our private premiere, and it’s a memory I will always cherish. Another amusing recollection from the set is that I used to carry almonds (badaams) in all my costume pockets, as our shooting hours were often extended without breaks, and I would get hungry. Every few hours, I’d take out my little ziplock bag of almonds and enjoy a few. On one occasion, SRK sir was standing right beside me, so I offered him some of my pocket almonds, and I was delighted when he accepted. From then on, whenever I had almonds, I would always share them with SRK. I never imagined I’d be sharing almonds with the legendary Shah Rukh Khan!