1. Can you tell us about your journey into the world of acting? What inspired you to pursue a career in this field?
I have been passionate about theatre and extracurricular activities since my school days. My journey into the world of acting began with my active involvement in stage shows and college functions. Over time, my interest in theatre continued to flourish. In college, I had the opportunity to perform in a play that garnered recognition, which eventually opened doors to television work in both Lucknow and Bombay. Additionally, I pursued Bengali theatre outside of my school and found it an immensely enjoyable experience.
From a young age, I used to watch plays during Durga Puja festivities and harbored a deep desire to be on stage myself. As an adult, my active engagement in Bengali theatre allowed me to partake in Durga Puja performances, where I had the privilege of participating in a play each day during Saptami, Ashtami, and Navami celebrations.
2. Being born into a Bengali family in Lucknow, how did your cultural background influence your choice of roles and acting style?
Growing up in a Bengali household exposed me to a wealth of art and culture. During Durga Puja, we visited various pandals and enjoyed cultural performances. My father’s strong interest in music, cinema, and the arts meant we often discussed these topics. This upbringing significantly influenced my appreciation for art and culture. Watching plays at the Bengali club and eventually becoming a performer in those plays contributed to my love for art. Even if it wasn’t directly taught to me, I believe that my exposure to art as a child had a subconscious impact on my artistic journey.
3. You have had a successful career in theatre, television and films. How do you approach these three mediums differently as an actress?
As an actress, I enjoy adapting to different mediums. Theatre is a live medium where every moment is unique and cannot be repeated. There are no retakes, but extensive rehearsals are common. I have to project my voice more in theatre, as it is important for the audience, even those sitting far away, to understand my emotions. Television and film are different, but I must remain true to my character. My approach to voice projection and body language varies depending on the medium. I find joy in the versatility of being an actress and the continual learning and growth it brings.
4. Many viewers may remember you from TV series like “Saat Phere” and “Koi Laut Ke Aaya Hai.” What were some of the challenges you faced while portraying negative roles, and how did you prepare for them?
As an actress, I don’t categorize characters as solely negative or positive. Every character, like a coin, has two sides. I believe in exploring the shades of grey. To prepare for a role, I always strive to find my character’s motivations and reasons for their actions in the script. Understanding these motivations allows me to contribute meaningfully to the story. If the audience can believe in my character, then I consider my performance successful.
5. Your recent film, “The Vaccine War,” has generated a lot of buzz. Can you share some insights into your character and what drew you to this project?
I was drawn to this project because it revolves around the development of vaccines, a topic of great relevance in light of the recent pandemic. It was an exciting subject to explore, focusing on how India successfully created its own indigenous vaccine despite numerous challenges. The film tells the story of the “vaccine war,” wherein India’s scientists defied the odds and achieved remarkable success within a short span of time. It was a remarkable journey for me to learn about the scientists’ struggles and sacrifices, which were truly eye-opening.
- As an actress and someone not part of the scientific world, portraying the character of Dr. Pragya, a scientist, was a challenge. I was humbled by the dedication and sacrifices made by the scientists for the greater good of the nation and the world. I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Balram Bhargava ( the film is based on his book ‘Going Viral’) & Dr. Pragya & other scientists in person after the film was made, and I commended them and the team for their incredible achievements.
Convincingly conveying the language of science was another challenge, as precision and accuracy are essential in this field. I couldn’t improvise in scientific matters and had to be as accurate as possible. It was both a challenging and enjoyable experience.
6. You’ve worked alongside Nana Patekar in the vaccine war. Can you talk about the experience of sharing the screen with him?
It was a great pleasure to work with Nana Patekar ji. I have always admired him as an actor, and seeing his process up close was a privilege. He is a hardworking and dedicated professional who takes his craft seriously. He is warm , supportive and has a great sense of humour. Since we filmed it in winters, we would often look forward to lunch time, indulging in some delicious Lucknow food. And we’d often talk about food, be it recipes or farming or agriculture.
7. Lastly, what message would you like to convey to the readers of WomenShine Magazine, particularly to women who look up to you as an inspiration?
I want to convey a simple yet powerful message : Women are inherently powerful. We often talk about women shining, and it’s an undeniable reality. Believe in your own strength, celebrate your womanhood, and cherish it. I’ve held this belief since childhood, and I’m grateful for the upbringing that treated me and my brother without distinction.
It’s crucial not to burden your daughters with the same baggage you may have carried if it wasn’t a positive experience. Instead, empower them to be strong individuals.
For the young girls I’d say avoid the trap of comparing yourself to others, whether it’s through Instagram or elsewhere. Everyone faces their own set of challenges and struggles. Focus on your strengths and work diligently towards your goals. Success comes through hard work and dedication, not shortcuts.😊