How do you approach a character?
I build a character from what the writer has given me in the script. I am a student of literature and sociology and use those tools to my benefit. My script is always full of little sticky notes, keeping every minute detail in check. I always start by identifying where the character comes from, and who are her parents. Body language is determined by who we are and where we’re born. If you understand your character as described, you can build something authentic around it.
What challenges do you face?
My biggest challenge is to do something new every time to put myself in a territory where I have not gone before, as an actor.I’ve come to realise that finding good scripts, and finding good roles, are a blessing. Most of the work you are offered is going to be bad; you should be able to pick up the nice ones. But as long as I feel challenged, I feel happy.
How do you cope up with the negativity?
I don’t understand the shame attached to mental health. Do we ever feel ashamed of a fever? Life is hard; as an artist and as a freelancer it is even harder because everything in our life is always in a flux and insecure. There’s a lot of uncertainty in this business. Everything about our life leads to anxiety. No matter how big of a star you are, you’re basically a freelancer. The most important thing is to recognise the reality of the world you live in and work in, and then to understand what effect it’s having on you. I don’t believe in being ashamed about things that are normal. Being down and out or being worried is a sign of our humanity.
One mantra that keeps you going in life…
I am a great believer of human intentions. When you want something wholeheartedly and truly, the universe works it’s magic to bring it closer to you. Human intention has a lot of power.
A message to aspiring actors…
It’s really hard. So be prepared for a long and tough journey. But if you love the job that you are doing, it will not be pressurising. Also, equip yourself to be employable in some other thing than acting. If it doesn’t work out, you should have a plan B. This is a hard life with a lot of failure and frustration. You can be the biggest star and still have moments of frustration and failure. Always remember that the world is big and beautiful and the film industry is a very small part of it. So, if God forbid, your Bollywood dream doesn’t work out, it’s okay. It is not a big deal. There are so many interesting things you can do. Chase your dreams but don’t lose yourself in chasing your dream.