Being a part of beauty pageants, showing off your acting prowess, and making the top 10 on The Times’ 50 Desirable Women of 2020 list … How do you look back on your journey so far?
My journey has been enriching. Of course there was blood, sweat and tears, but it was a very rewarding experience. I am very grateful to the Miss India organization. Representing India on an international platform has been the greatest learning experience for me. My outlook on my life has changed and it has given me the confidence to pursue my dreams. As far as my acting career goes, I’ve worked really hard to make my place in the industry. I am known as someone who has constantly worked on my profession. I was honored when I had the opportunity to start my career with a Madhur Bhandarkar film. He is a national award winning director. Anurag Kashyap sir distributed ‘The world before her’. My recent projects, ‘Chakravyuh’ and ‘Runaway Lugaai’ are the two highlights of my career; I was able to work with Sanjay Mishra sir and Prateik Babbar. Both shows were well received. People loved me so it was particularly satisfying.
To be one of The Times’ 50 Desirable Women is truly an honor. It is every girl’s dream to be desirable. This is a coveted list that I have featured with all of these amazing women, who have amazing careers, and talked about across the country. To be part of this list, in the top 10, was a dream come true. It motivated me to pursue my dreams even more aggressively. It gives me a lot of hope.
Tell us about your beginnings in the film industry. What kind of experiences have you had?
I worked really hard when I started out in the movie industry. You have to continue to motivate yourself every day because it is a tough industry. I was very lucky because I had a platform like the Miss India organization, where I had a clear idea of the direction I should take in my career. I had a lot of exposure because of it. I went to several auditions and got rejected, but kept praising myself. Never giving up on your own is the one thing that will help you survive in this industry. I have had both difficult and incredible experiences.
How did you land “Calendar Girls”?
“Calendar Girls” performed at an audition. I was very happy when I was selected. Madhur Bhandarkar is one of my favorite directors; I really wanted to work with him. I remember watching ‘Fashion’ with my dad. When I was selected for ‘Calendar Girls’ it was a dream come true. It was my first film with the director of my dreams.
Madhur Bhandarkar films are known to reflect the company and industry you are a part of. As an insider now, how much do you agree with his films?
I think I agree with most of his films. But the reality is subjective. His films are also his opinions. We all look at society with our own lens and our own filter. To a large extent, I agree with his films. Much of it is real. Even when it comes to complex relationships, the complexity of being in a competitive world, I agree with him.
What kind of roles were you offered after your first film?
All the films I was offered after my first film weren’t something I wanted to do. There was nothing I could offer these films as an actor. I am very passionate about what I do. I want to tell stories through the characters that I play. I got all the brilliant roles, but I was looking more for fleshy roles. So I decided to take a break and work more on my job.
Did you feel like you were cataloged because you came from a modeling background?
Of course, I was labeled because I came from a fashion and modeling background. As soon as people see someone looking a certain way, they immediately assume that he or she cannot act. They say models can’t act and I think they couldn’t be more wrong. You can’t judge a book by its cover. That’s why I think it was a blessing that ‘Chakravyuh’ and ‘Ranaway Lugaai’ performed. Critics got to see my skills and acting and not just judge me for my looks or because I came from a beauty pageant. I thank Ekta Kapoor madam who gave me “Bang Bang”, where I played a cop. People also saw me as a victim of the dark web in ‘Chakravyuh’ and immediately afterwards saw me playing the part of a Bihari girl in ‘Runaway Lugaai’ with Sanjay Mishra sir. I feel lucky and blessed to have the kind of work I always wanted to do.