“𝘓𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘴… 𝘤𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘳𝘢… 𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯”
I remember this memorable time when it took me 75 takes to perfect the role of a Kashmiri girl!
From the very beginning, I never wanted to join the IT industry. It’s mostly like I got into this industry accidentally! In 2017, I had only attended the campus placements to help my friend and eventually landed myself in a job I was least willing to.
After my college got over, I shifted to Bangalore. While working there I realized that I was not made to become a software engineer. Rather I had my calling in dance and acting. I was already trained in dance and acting. For 7 years, I was taking lessons in Odissi. It was then I felt that it was time for me to go back to my roots.
The foundation had got laid in 2013… when I was in VSSUT, Burla. I knew I could dance well but I never knew I could act also. During the spare time, I used to do a lot of mimicking of the characters and people. There was one instance when I tried mimicking Amir Khan before the teachers. I had never expected they would applaud me for that. The best thing happened when they suggested me trying my skills in drama. That’s when my real journey started. As I slowly progressed, drama became my life and I started performing more in nukkad and on stages.
In the first year of the college, I appeared for auditions for the dramatics club and became a part of the club. Being a member, I got the opportunity to travel to various places and perform drama and street plays. I would say the four years of my college days were the most eventful time of my life so far.
As you already know, after getting posted to Bangalore, I found urge to return to dancing and acting. I started managing my working hours. I tried to reach theatre groups where I could join and polish my skills. I was out of touch. Unfortunately, I felt the scope was less. The traffic was a headache and I needed to travel distances like 23 kilometers to reach theatres. I realised I needed to move to Maharashtra. As you already know for people having aspirations like me, it is the city of dreams.
During the lockdown, I started laying my base for the comeback. I started making videos and uploaded them on IG. At first, I only got around 1500 followers but the number of views seemed promising. There were like 10k or 15k. Then I started researching for schools where I could join to learn more about acting. Then I came across ‘Anupam Kher’s actors prepares’. They were providing 2 months course online. I registered there instantly.
In that span of 2 months, I got to know that diction and accent played a huge role. Our accent differs a lot from a Mumbaikar or a guy from Kanpur. We used to have a lot of workshops on that. There was a teacher who always gave feedback to every student. For me, he always asked me to work on my diction. By the end of the course, he gave me the assignment to enact a Kashmiri girl. It was a fifteen to twenty minutes long monologue. I had to speak in Urdu Hindi. I guess it took me almost a week to prepare for that video. By the end of the week, I felt I was that Kashmiri girl! I had to repeat recording my video 75 times! The place where I was staying was next to a road. Every time I tried to record the video, some noise always disrupted the rhythm. The sound in the video got mixed up with horns, barking of the dogs, or moos of the cows… I kept trying till 4 in the morning. By the end, I was hardly able to speak. My throat seemed messed up. But this pain was nothing compared to the happiness it brought me. When everyone saw the recording, all were impressed! My teacher was almost in tears. It’s indeed very tough to get into the shoes of a character and portray it perfectly. People like me, especially from the eastern and the north-eastern region face a lot of difficulties in getting a hold of the accent.
At the end of the course, they also provided suggestions to individuals on how one was going to continue the journey after that. “Given your age, you can have a promising career. You can come to Mumbai” – after hearing this, my resolve had become stronger.
I am very much thankful to my teachers, seniors, and friends who kept encouraging me to pursue this direction. Almost a year ago, I confessed my passion to my parents. Till then, they thought I was doing this for my hobby. They were kind of angry and disheartened. After the death of Sushant Singh Rajput, they were more in denial to send me to Mumbai. It took me a lot of time and effort to convince them. Now my work location is Pune. Hence, once the office reopens, I will be shifting there. Then I would be some kilometers away from Mumbai! “You better stay in Pune. If you still want to stay in Mumbai, I will also have to shift with you” – my father has said. I am happy… I feel the things have started to fall in place.
Total Work Experience : 4 Years (Infosys, Accenture)