How have things changed after ‘Aadha Ishq’?
I’m fortunate that I’m getting great offers. There are a couple of things that I’ve okayed, so things are going great. I am looking for more challenging roles. OTT is a space where there’s a start to end, it’s more like a film. So, as an actor, I get to prepare for the role. I know the character’s journey, and am preparing to get into the skin of the character. I’m doing workshops for that. So this is the space that I’m really enjoying, because I’ve never done all of this before.
After TV, you ventured into films, but have few projects to your credit. What was the reason behind it?
Firstly, I didn’t have anyone to guide me with the films that I did then. I mean, I don’t have any regrets, I’m glad that I was part of those films, because I am here today because of my journey. Of course, what I’ve experienced highs and lows, they are very important in life. I experienced a high with ‘Kahiin Toh Hoga’, then I experienced not so great response in terms of my films. But then I didn’t get the offers that I probably should have gotten then. A lot of films that I had auditioned for, they didn’t go ahead because I had a television background. It was not easy. There have been acceptance issues and I still face that for OTT projects as well. There are a couple of shows that I’ve done the look test for. I fit the role completely, probably the makers have loved it and think I could really play the part well. But then there are certain projects that haven’t fallen into place because I have experience on television and they feel, ‘no she’s been a part of television, so she can’t be a part of this platform’.
You’ve mentioned that the struggle for you began much before entering TV. If you could shed some light on that…
So I came from a very, very strong Muslim conservative family. None so far has been a part of the industry. As a kid I was a diehard fan of Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and their films. But I never had anyone to guide me, I never thought that there’s a possibility of venturing into films. In my FYJC, I started getting a lot of offers for music videos and advertisements. It took me a lot of time to convince my mother to allow me to do one ad film because it’s been my dream. She had to go against my entire family, my family didn’t speak to my mom for a very, very long time. For me to make it big in the industry, my mom had to sacrifice a lot. I am here today because of her. So I’ve experienced all of that.
From ‘Kahiin to Hoga’ to ‘Ek Villain’ and ‘Aadha Ishq’, how would you describe your journey spanning nearly two decades?
I still have a lot to learn, I still have a lot to prove. With every project I feel I can better myself as an actor. The drive in me is so strong that I want to do good content, which is very important. You can never get complacent in life as an actor. Some projects do well, some projects don’t. But I feel one should look at the projects that have not done well, instead of concentrating on the highs.
Is there anything you would want to change about the journey that you’ve lived?
The kind of focus and drive that I have right now, I think that is the only thing I wish I had a few years ago.
So, what next do you want to play? Like something on your bucket list, some genre, some character?
I’m just keeping it open. I didn’t know I would like to play a cop, I took up ‘Damaged 3’ because it excited me as an actor. It got me off of my comfort zone. I’ve been wanting for so many years to play a romantic character and it finally happened with ‘Aadha Ishq’. It really excites me as an actor to do romance on screen but at the same time, I want to play different characters. I don’t want to follow the monotony but explore challenging and completely different roles.