Lizaa Malik is an Indian actress who made her Bollywood debut with Sanjay Dutt’s film ‘Torbaaz’. She was also seen in the 2020 web-series ‘Who’s Your Daddy’.
She recently had an exclusive chat with Lehren where she talked about her films, her love life with Saurabh Pathak and how she is helping people amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
How are you and your family?
Fortunately, we all have been doing great. Last year, my mother suffered from Covid. And she was so unfortunate and unlucky because she had a mild heart stroke and we had to take her to the ICU and she got the virus from there. But as much as I was worried about her last year, that since she has recovered from cancer and heart stroke, she recovered like nobody’s business in a jiffy. So, what I have understood about this virus is, of course, to a lot of people it is fatal, a lot of people are suffering, oxygen cylinders are not available and there’s scarcity in the market, but you need to have a lot of self-esteem, confidence and positivity. That’s what helps you recover faster and my mother is a firehouse and full of positivity. So, touchwood, by God’s grace, she recovered in a week’s time last year.
And this year, in the immediate biological family, everyone is safe and sound. But we have lost a lot of people in the immediate friend circle due to lack of oxygen etc. All of that is going on but life goes on.
How do you keep yourself motivated with such sadness around?
As you all know me, that I have always been a box of positivity and chirpiness, but this year, I had a slight downer because I have been losing people with whom I was in regular contact on WhatsApp. But still I am trying to keep up a happy face. I have been in Delhi since last two months. I don’t know when I am going to come back to Mumbai. I have a parallel business here in Delhi. And in our office, about 57 staff members have tested positive. All this gets you sleepless nights but what can we do. We have to put a happy face. In situation like this, when people are looking up to us, and we fall weak, how will we help others? So, there’s no choice. We have to be strong and brave.
How are you spending your days in the lockdown?
I am sleeping during the days and I am awake during the nights. Reason being, as I told you, that we have to arrange for oxygen cylinders, oximeters etc. There are a lot of interns who joined our company, who have come from small towns and live alone here in Delhi. We are trying to help them out. So, I am on call till 4-5 in the morning. I don’t know why the repercussions of this disease happens in the night only for a lot of people. I don’t know what it is all about. So, mostly I am sleeping at around 4-5 in the morning. While, last year, I used to wake up at 4-5 in the morning and go out strolling and cycling. So, this year things are little different. But, other than that, when I am not doing all of that, I paint and cook. So, putting my thoughts with colors into the canvas and my creativity in the kitchen.
I am being extra precautious. I am not stepping out for any job or cycling. Because the scenario in Delhi is very bad. This year, I have kept it very low profile, not doing any super adventurous stuff, which I am known for. I am just going to help people as much as I can.
Do you have any projects in pipeline?
There were 3-4 web-shows that I was supposed to start shooting last month and this month. Everything is on hold as we all know. My three songs were supposed to release, which we shot a couple of months back. We kept that also on hold. So, work is at stand-still. I will not come back to sets till things get better.
You recently opened up about your relationship with Saurabh Pathak. How did you guys meet?
We met last year during a shoot. We met on a professional ground through a common friend.
How has been this journey so far?
The journey has been very sweet. But, very challenging because the days are challenging. So, its not like a normal Bollywood love story happening here. It’s more like a war ground that we are facing. We have not even explored the romantic side of each other because he is equally a person who goes out helping others. In the blink of an eye, he will be standing there for people in need. He is just a replica of mine. We both are Librans actually. So, he is just a male version of a Libra and I am the female version.
I think when the shooting will resume, our romance will also bloom. It’s a stressful scenario right now.
Kangana Ranaut’s Twitter account was recently suspended. What are your views on this?
Honestly, if I tell you, she is one of my favorite actresses and I look up to her. She is superbly talented and from where she has come and where she has reached is commendable. Not a lot of people can achieve that. She is one bold girl who stands alone and speaks her heart out but I think she has taken her speaking out loud very differently and seriously on a lot of levels, where she has misled herself. When she used to speak earlier, I used to look up to her and I was like ‘Wow’ for speaking her heart out and it sounded good and made sense. But lately, I think she is in that zone and in that race where she tries to stand out and overshine and outshine everybody else. So, she is speaking anything against anyone.
Kangana has made a lot of enemies. So, I think, she should just go a little slow and be a little low profile. Speaking your heart out and speaking your mind out is not a problem. But when we add up extra things instead of focusing on real issue, just to be in the limelight is wrong. So, obviously, there had to be repercussions. It’s an unfortunate scenario, but what to do.
Recently, many actors like Richa Chadha and Farhan Akhtar criticized the Central Government for conducting the election rallies and also mishandling the second wave of Covid-19. Do you also think that the government has not handled the situation appropriately and they could have done better?
I am sitting in the epicenter, Delhi. And I am related and in touch with a lot of bureaucrats. Because of my mother, I am directly in contact with the politicians here, and a lot of people at the higher level. So, we can make tens of arguments while sitting comfortably on our couch. When it is time to get on the ground level, then not a lot of people will know and understand, who is working and suffering. It’s very easy to sit in air-conditioned rooms and comfortable positions and comment on other people working. If that is the case, why don’t you work? Look at Sonu Sood what he is doing. He stays in the building next to mine, in Mumbai. Even before Covid, he used to take care of a lot of things without even coming into the limelight. There are a lot of actors who do that. If these people speak less and do more, then I am with them. But those who speak more and do less, I don’t believe in that.
Many people blame the policemen saying that they don’t take care of anything. Have you gone and seen them? They are bloody standing in heat all day, not having a drop of water, wearing mask. You wear one mask and you feel uncomforatble while breathing, but they wear two masks and stand in heat all day, taking care of other people and our security.
Likewise, the government is trying to do their best. We can scrutanize all we want. But if you feel anything is wrong, they step up and do something. Atleast, at your level, do something and then give arguments.
The Central Government initially announced the nationwide vaccination drive from May 1 for the age group of 18-44. And then, a day before, they said that they don’t have the stock. Did they not see this coming? Were they not aware of the stock of the vaccine and its supply?
This is a human error. This is not done by a robot or machine. When I have to arrange 50 oxygen cylinders for people, the amount of pressure is a lot. And I am just talking about 50. Here we are talking about crores. So, it’s a human error. Managing this is not as easy as people think it is.
Yes, sometimes there is an over-commitment. And it is probably because they don’t want people to get scared and panic. Because people are already ailing, suffering and dying. The cremation grounds are full. So the government sometimes over-commit, to bring some positivity in them. It’s not something they are doing for their own benefit.
I had to arrange 50 cylinders and I could arrange only 25, despite trying my best. Even while sitting in such good position, I couldn’t do it. The goverenment is dealing in crores. So imagine the pressure on them.
As a citizen, how can we help?
We should do whatever it is in our capacity. It doesn’t necessarily mean monetary help. Sometimes people can misuse the money. I am not saying everyone will misuse , but because of some people, we judge everyone the same way.
But you can provide medical help, food supply, shelter etc. I aranged for food and shelter for my staff in Mumbai. So intention is what matters. Instead of scrutanizing others, we should start helping others. That would be more helpful.
Also, awareness is very important. People are still superstitious. They believe that Gods in our country are upset and that’s why Coronavirus happened. So, we should spread awareness among people. Just help people around.
As we are talking about superstition, a minister said “Maa Ganga’s blessings are there in the flow. So, there should be no corona.”
Tell them to clean Ganga first. Ganga me snan karne jao to baju se potty nikal ke aata hai, vo sab pehle clean karay. With due respect to Ganga Maiya, I am a Bengali and you know how it is during Durga Puja. We go and take a dip in Ganga Maiya and that’s how we start our Puja. With all the respect that we have for our religion and Ganga Maiya and Yamuna Ji, these people should get the river cleaned instead of spreading superstition.
How such statements from an influential person can put the country at risk?
That’s why people like Kangana Ranaut get a chance to comment. These people cause an insult to themselves by making such statements. If you are a public figure, if you are someone people are looking up to, make sense and talk. Think before talking. Just to prove a point and attract your vote bank, don’t do all of that. If your vote bank is people below the poverty line and believes in superstition, then you should not serve the country. Sit back home and watch television.