Sharmin Segal reflects on her journey as AD on ‘Mary Kom’: Priyanka Chopra was one of my biggest inspirations – Exclusive |


Heeramandi’ fame Sharmin Segal, in an exclusive interview with ETimes, opened up about her incredible journey from being an Assistant Director (AD) for Sanjay Leela Bhansali to making her acting debut in ‘Malaal.’ With candid reflections and heartfelt gratitude, Sharmin shared how her early experiences on film sets, particularly with Priyanka Chopra, shaped her career.
“I basically finished school and then two weeks later I decided that I wanted to work in films,” Sharmin began, recounting her initial steps into the industry. “But I needed to understand films because, before that, I had no understanding of filmmaking. I used to watch movies but didn’t understand anything about it.” Determined to learn, she approached Sanjay Leela Bhansali for an opportunity to assist him on a film.
At that time, Bhansali was shooting ‘Ram Leela,’ but Sharmin felt that the project was too significant for her first venture into the industry. “So, I was like, okay, you’re producing ‘Mary Kom,’ is it okay if I start assisting over there? So, I can at least understand the world of filmmaking,” she shared.

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Her time on the set of ‘Mary Kom’ proved to be invaluable, largely due to the influence of Priyanka Chopra. “Priyanka Chopra was one of my biggest inspirations and till today, the things that she has taught me on the sets of ‘Mary Kom’ I still keep with me,” Sharmin shared. She learned crucial aspects of the industry, from fittings and makeup to carrying oneself with poise. “She embodies them really well.”
Following ‘Mary Kom,’ Sharmin felt more prepared and joined the team of ‘Bajirao Mastani’ as an AD, specifically handling costumes, hair, and makeup. “After ‘Mary Kom,’ I was like, okay, I think I have understood enough to be able to stand on that set and execute whatever sir asks me to execute,” she said.
The experience was demanding yet rewarding. “It was an unbelievable experience. It kind of prepared me for ‘Heeramandi.’ Handling costumes on Sanjay sir’s set is also a big thing. There were days where I was carrying costumes to set, running back every day.”

Despite her growing expertise behind the scenes, Segal harbored a desire to act, which became more pronounced after her time on ‘Bajirao Mastani.’ “I knew somewhere after ‘Bajirao Mastani’ that I wanted to act but I didn’t have the confidence at that point to go out and say it,” she admitted. Eventually, she pursued formal training in acting, which gave her the confidence to transition to the screen.
Her breakthrough came with the film ‘Malaal.’ Reflecting on this pivotal moment, Sharmin said, “For me, acting is feelings and emotions out to the world.” With ‘Malaal,’ she took her first major step as an actress, a journey that had been years in the making, starting from her days as an eager learner on the sets of ‘Mary Kom.’


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