‘I don’t subscribe to the idea of a role model’
By now, are you completely comfortable in the industry?
Absolutely. Before I entered the industry, there was a perception and impression that actors have the most luxurious life, and they don’t have to work hard, but now that I am in the industry, I understand how much hard work and dedication goes into being an actor.
Do you think people will compare Dangal (2016) and Secret Superstar (SS)?
Not really. I am quite sure that SS will be loved. It’s a beautiful story that defines the unfortunate reality of our life. I hope audiences understand the message that we are trying to send across.
Did you identify with your part in the film? Was it difficult to portray it?
Yes, it was definitely very tough for me. Initially, I couldn’t connect with the character and her surroundings. So, while my character has a dream that she struggles to achieve, I personally don’t have any such dream or a passion currently. Also, the environment she lives in is very hostile and her father is very patriarchal. But I come from a family where the girl child is pampered. My family has always supported me to become whatever I wanted to.
Music also seems to be an intrinsic part of the film...
Music plays a very important part in this film. So, another challenge was that I had to look like I was actually singing. I had to learn to play the guitar and I spent a lot of time with Meghna Mishra who has sung for me. I studied her thoroughly and observed her while she was singing. I didn’t want it to look like I was faking it on screen.
Earlier this year, when you were in the eye of controversy (she had to issue an apology after being trolled for meeting Jammu & Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti), you said that don’t intend to be a role model. Why?
It’s probably because of my own ideology. I don’t subscribe to the idea of a ‘role model’. I can’t comprehend the idea of a person dedicating his entire ideology, aspirations and dreams for another person, who they consider their role model but don’t even know about. I genuinely believe in a phrase that, ‘instead of following someone else’s footsteps or a path, build your own path’.
Was it sad the way the entire episode played out?
While I was writing and putting up the Facebook post, I was happy. But after that, I was upset with the way it was blown out of proportion. It was upsetting that there was an absolute misrepresentation of actual things. It was nowhere close to how it was supposed to be. But the media blew it out of proportion and it was disturbing. Now, I feel that it was a phase and I am happy that it has passed.