Her lockdown routine in hometown Bareilly
I have been sleeping a lot and I need to change it. I want to change my sleeping routine. I want to workout, eat healthy. I have been eating a lot too and want to go back to my dieting. I’ll be praying and spending time with my family and just waiting to get vaccinated.
How does it feel to earn so much love and recognition with Jijaji… show?
It feels amazing. Everytime I come to Baraeilly, distant relatives and friends get excited and they come to meet me, see me and they really appreciate my work. I attended 2 weddings here in the last three months and I got so much love all around. They were delighted to have me. I just want to thank God, he made me what I am today. In return, I want to entertain all Jab tak hai jaan, jab tak hai jaan, jab tak hai jaan.
Inhibitions on a show going off-air abruptly
Of course, such thoughts do come to mind. An actor is a very insecure being. There are a lot of insecurities in an actor’s life for a lot of reasons. Shows go off-air for many reasons and now one more reason has added to the list – lockdown. We do get negative but the only aid is to stay optimistic else we all will go into depression. And if things are not working out, you need to accept it and move on. Jijaji S2 is my sixth show and for the first time, my show has been put on hold indefinitely. I have seen shows falling apart, wrapping up in 3-7 months. I have seen a lot, have been depressed, I have cried a lot but then at the end of the day, you accept it and move on thinking better things will come.
What do you do to stay positive during such uncertain times?
Sometimes when my heart is full I just cry. I cry out loud, I scream my lungs out and cry but in my room. I don’t want to haunt my family. Sometimes it is ok to cry it out when you are feeling too low . It’s ok to vent out, it’s ok to cry and it’s ok to not to talk to anybody. It is normal to feel a certain way when you are locked in a room, not working, not being productive. I have been eating a lot and that’s not my usual self. When you are not your usual self, you are depressed. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel. I am waiting for that post Covid-19 phase when everything will be fine. I keep motivating myself.
How was your school life, were you the naughty one?
Well, honestly I was quite inconspicuous in school. I did want to be famous in school, but was the quiet one and even teachers never took note of me. It was after I started doing TV they knew who I was. I actually became a naughty one while acting in Jijaji. I used to have a lot of fun and was in my element. Personally, I am very introvert and quiet, but on sets I am an extrovert. I am really moody and often tend to get grumpy.
Her obsession with food and being conscious about gaining weight
I talk a lot about food. I am not able to eat much because of gaining weight but I can go on and on discussing food. I do feel it is important to look a certain way as an actor. When you are inspiring so many people, it has to be done in a positive and healthy way. If I am telling people to lead a healthy lifestyle, I am also supposed to eat healthy. I have to follow it. I am not saying that get six-pack abs but eating healthy and mindful is important. I get finicky because I like myself a certain way.
But did you face weight issues and asked to lose weight?
Yes. But not really pulled down. Sometimes I gain weight and look fat and chubby on-screen. And I get a review from the makers/ channel and they want me to lose 3-4 kgs and I am on it. There are times when I eat a lot on sets. We all actors go through this actually. We are told to look a certain way. It’s a part of our job. We eat healthy, we look good, it’s a win-win for us.
Inhibitions in mind on working in a web show
I would want to be a part of it. But honestly, what’s stopping me is the bold content. I am not comfortable exposing myself or doing bold scenes. I do get calls and the moment I ask if there are any kissing or intimate scenes, they say yes. My family is not in favour of it. As an individual, I am also not comfortable.
On being a conscious dresser
It is a conscious decision to not dress provocatively. I belong to a Muslim family and we have a different culture. I am actually opposing the culture a lot and I don’t want to push it even further. This is my family and my decision. Even right now at times they are not okay with me dressing in a certain way and want me to dress up differently. But I have been a little rebellious and don’t want to hurt their sentiments further. They are very understanding and supportive. But I don’t want to wear a bikini, show cleavage and all. That’s my decision and not any conflict.
You started your journey in the industry as a child actor, did you always have the acting bug in you?
I have always said that I didn’t choose the acting industry but it chose me. I was just a kid, an 11-year-old when I bagged my first show. I didn’t even know that I would get it. After one and half years, I got really bored of the industry and didn’t want to be a part of it anymore. I just wanted to come back to my hometown, spend time with my family and friends as I was living on rent in Mumbai. My father was connected to all the production houses and I didn’t have a phone. I was in 10th standard when I saw a message on the phone that some selection was going on for Channel V. It was a youth-based channel and I was a fan of all the shows there. So, I got selected and finally came back again. And then I joined the industry again.
Has it been a smooth journey for you or did you have your fair share of struggle?
Initially, I used to travel a lot by train and bus. And my parents got me a house and helped me settle down comfortably in Mumbai. My parents put all their money into my Mumbai life. For the first six months, I didn’t have a car. I would travel from Mira Road to Madh Island daily. There was a time, when for me it was a lot of struggle because in Bareilly, I would hardly go out or had my own mode of transport. Mumbai is very big and it was new to me. Eventually, my parents got me a car and they never left me alone. I have always been the pampered child. I am 24, but I am still their bachcha.
Being so guarded always, do you also discuss your projects with your parents?
Initially, I used to. Now, I tell them about the project when I am about to sign the contract. Their opinion is also important. I always obey them. I discuss the perks and disadvantages. Because of my parents, I haven’t struggled a bit. I have heard my friends’ struggle stories but I have been blessed.