The first time the spotlight fell on my face, while I was standing on stage being somebody else, I realised acting is something I want to do throughout my life. I’ve been on stage since the age of three, but this time it was different.
My first stage performance was when I was three years old, it was a dance performance.
I have a vivid memory of the photographer asking me, and others my age, to focus on the camera that would be at the centre of the auditorium. Cut to me being on stage and staring right into the camera with a huge smile throughout the performance.
I didn’t move my head an inch, even during the steps that required me to look sideways. So, here it was…my newfound very evident love for cameras.
In 2017, I got a call from a theatre group to join their PR team. I had my 12th exam in about a month, but I found theatre to be a welcoming distraction.
One day Abhrajit Bhattacharya, the director of Natakkiya, asked me to play a character on stage who had no lines but had a great presence throughout the play. It was a role that demanded emotions through expressions and physical movement only.
I freaked out! I was okay to dance on stage, but acting was far from what I ever imagined myself to be doing. I still remember him trying to motivate me, “Try kore dekh, you will be able to do it.”.
He discovered the actor in me before anyone else, and in March 2018, I went on stage with this character, and this marked my start towards a very different life.
It didn’t take me long to fall in love with the whole process of acting: from building the character to living those different worlds… I was enamoured and loved the challenges that it brought along.
Within a month, I got my first on-screen acting gig. A close comedian friend started a production house, Baked Rosogolla, and there, I played my first on-screen character, Kobita. She was Blair from Gossip Girl and Poo from Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, but an all-out Bengali version. I loved it!
After this, I shot two web series where I ended up playing a similar character, and that’s when I realised that I was being typecast, and a new fear was born. I started declining scripts where I had to play a similar role.
At this point, I decided to focus on my academics instead, I was a law student.
During the pandemic, I craved the life I was living… but God had a plan for me. During this time, I auditioned almost every day for various ads, music videos, projects, and acting gigs. However, I never heard back from anyone.
One evening, I got a call from a casting director, asking me to send a fresh introduction video. I remember being half-asleep when I did this, but this was when and how I got my big break.
Within the hour, I got a call from a production house, and in two hours, I was in a meeting with the entire directorial team. The next day, I met the cast and a week later, I began shooting for Biye Scenes. I was playing the lead, a young photojournalist from Pune who fell in love with a Bengali boy.
This was a new experience for me. I fell in love with the process of shooting and being in the eye of the camera. Even before the show was released, I found a new love for life, and I knew this was what I wanted to be doing.
But the journey wasn’t as smooth as I’m making it out to seem. Things started going uphill from here. Along with the success of my show, I met people who tried to exploit me. I also realised how ugly this industry could be, and its fast-paced left me feeling like I was falling behind. I even lost some good friends along the way.
But, as all bad things go, this phase did pass, too. I met Ramesh Khattar, scriptwriter-director, and worked with him on an award-winning film titled Bhaymari.
Acting comes with its own love-hate relationship. There are days when you want to run away from it all and days when you realise that you don’t want to be doing anything else other than being in front of the camera. It’s been a roller coaster ride for me, but I always found myself coming back to it with more vigour than before.
While this industry is a constant, ever-evolving one, I think the one motto I find myself following is just to be patient. You have to work hard, invest your time in mastering the craft, learn new skills, stay relevant and keep polishing yourself to sustain yourself in this industry.
And for this, you need your tribe. You need your people who will be there to motivate you and support you constantly. For me, they are my co-workers, other young actors, and writers sharing a similar dream.
Acting forces you to play other roles and characters, but on this journey, you will also meet and learn about yourself. And I think that’s one of the most wonderful gifts that my passion has given me.