Kubbra Sait, the actor who won us over with her honest and raw portrayal of Kuckoo in Sacred Games is now making waves in Hollywood. The actor is playing the role of Phara Keaen in AppleTV+’s Foundation and it is an avatar in which we have never seen her before. 

As she took this new step in her career, we decided to sit down and have a chat with Kubbra Sait about her new venture and the journey so far:

1. How would you describe your journey, from Ready to Sacred Games?

Kubbra Sait: “I think I’ve been rolling the dice and landing on a 6 every time. There have been times when it has moved a little slower than expected but it has always been a phase of growing and learning. In that sense, the last 11 years have been a really interesting ride. There are things I still don’t understand. Like, “Arey, aap OTT actor hain,” Nahi, main actor hai.” 


2. What made you want to become an actor?

Kubbra Sait: “I honestly associated acting to fame. And I think I wanted to be famous when I came here to Mumbai. I didn’t know what acting meant, I didn’t come from a formal background of learning, it is not something I naturally took to. But there was an interest and I wanted to find out where it led. When I acted for the first time, I felt something change inside me. Acting allows you to escape from your own conformities, and when that happened, I knew.”

3. What proved to be the greatest challenge when you decided to be an actor?

Kubbra Sait: “Who is going to cast you? Because everything is around perception so when I was a host, they never looked at me as an actor. They were taking me at face value, so it took me a lot to tell people I am an actor. I started going for auditions for ads and I used Facebook to get my work out there. My biggest challenge when I became an actor was that I didn’t know what it takes to be an actor.”

4. Did playing Kuckoo change you? How did that impact your life?

Kubbra Sait: “It changed my career tremendously and I’ll always be grateful for that opportunity. It is still being spoken of after 4 years, that for me is an achievement. It allowed me to be in a place where I could choose. When I say choose I don’t mean I’m sitting in a buffet, but at least I am able to find a way to absorb characters and do them well. I’m really enjoying it.”


5. Your intimate scene with Nawazzudin was very heavy, emotionally. As someone who was a part of it, how did it affect you?

Kubbra Sait: “I never looked at it as a physical scene at all, it was an emotional scene. So I remember I kept telling Anurag, “How will I cry?” and that was my biggest question. But when it actually came to the scene, I absorbed it and the emotions came so easily to me. I just felt like I was hurting and so was Kuckoo. Every time someone calls it my frontal nudity scene, I call it the emotional revelation scene. It felt like a huge burden had been lifted off my chest. I went to dub it and I cried again, that’s when I knew I had done something true.”


6. What was the challenge you faced while playing the role of a trans person?

Kubbra Sait: “There were no challenges, I had to play another human being. There were emotional challenges. I had to play the role through instinct, I had to be a person who is confined from pursuing her dreams, limited by her anatomy. I was very proudly Kuckoo, I never felt uncomfortable, I was just unapologetic.” 


7. What made you pick the role of Phara? This is also your Hollywood debut, how challenging has that been? 

Kubbra Sait: “I think Phara picked me. Because Phara could have been from anywhere in the world but she just happened to be me. They looked for Phara and said, what if Phara was Indian? I went, I taped. But they expected Pharah to be much older so they weren’t sold on me entirely. I’m speaking to you in English, but Phara’s dialogues are archaic English. And memorising these lines, learning a whole new language, which was made for this universe.”

8. How did you approach the character? Had you read the books before? 

Kubbra Sait: “I actually didn’t because Foundation is such an old series. And also, I didn’t need to because I was living it. Phara isn’t even in the books, because when it was written the characters were predominantly white male characters. However, there is so much diversity in the show. And it hasn’t been done to make a statement, there is a reason behind it and we aren’t in the show as trophies. We are important to the script.”

9. How long did it take for you to transform into Phara? There is obviously a lot of prosthetic makeup involved. 

Kubbra Sait: “About an hour and a half, every day. About 75 minutes to put it on and 40 minutes to take it off so that’s a lot of time in the chair.” 

10. Web series or movies? Where do you think you feel your skills as an actor are put to use best?

Kubbra Sait: “I just shine as an actor, it could be anywhere.”

We can’t wait to see what Kubbra has in store next.