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I want to be a lambi race ka ghoda

DECCAN CHRONICLE | Lipika Varma

Published on: June 5, 2023 | Updated on: June 5, 2023

Shriya Pilgonkar

Shriya Pilgonkar, daughter of veteran Marathi and Hindi actors Sachin and Supriya Pilgonkar, first acted as a boy named Bittu in the Hindi serial Tu Tu Main Main directed by her father at the age of eight. In 1996, she acted in a ten-minute stageplay Freedom of Love directed by Karan Shetty.

Shriya made her film debut in Hindi with Shah Rukh Khan starrer, Fan. She also worked in a trilingual movie, Kaadan. Now her career has taken off, thanks to OTT platform.

Excerpts from an interview:

How do you look at your journey?

I have performed as a lawyer and a news reporter in Taaza Khabbar. In my latest series, Crackdown, I am getting to do out and out action. Crackdown has been super fun for me because compared to the other work, in this I’m playing a double agent. As actors, at some point we crave to do action. I like the interesting arches in my character. It’s important for me as an actor to present myself differently. It’s very easy to be stereotyped in this industry. It also depends how you end up picking your work.

When will we see any of your films releasing theatrically?

It depends upon the market situation and it’s the producer’s prerogative. I want to maintain a balance between series and films. I have 2 films — one will be announced soon, the other one is called, Ishq E Nadaan. It has Neena Gupta, Kawaljeet, Lara Dutta and more. It hasthree different stories —an Urban, romantic drama. I don’t know how they plan to release it. I also wish to mix my work with the commercial genre. It’s important for me to build on my versatility as an actor. This is something that I am always looking at. I want my acting career to go on for a long time. Want to be a lambi race ka ghoda.

What kind of commercial films are you looking out for?

Until now I have never got an opportunity to do an out and out dance film. But recently, I got that kind of a film. I just want to show that aspect in me. By the end of the day people are valuing good stories, so I don’t want to just pick films for the sake of doing it. I would love to do a period drama as an actor. I visualize myself doing different cinematic work.

Why are you not taking up more regional films like Tamil, Telugu...?

I did a film with Rana Daggubati which was shot in Tamil/Telugu/Hindi —Haathi Mere Saathi — directed by Prabhu Solomon. It was a beautiful experience but there were some release issues because of covid. Tamil/Telugu/Malayalam industries have produced some wonderful films. With RRR its gone on to global scale. If I get more Tamil/Telugu films I will surely take it up.

Do you like to mouth dialogues when you do regional films, especially south films?

Though I am not fluent, I was speaking the language but it was dubbed by somebody else to get the right accent. Since it was my first time someone else dubbed for me. But voice is indeed such a big part, I would like to do it myself.

This is a very unpredictable industry, newcomers even end their lives being unsuccessful in getting work. What’s your advice to newcomers?

I think it is very important to build a certain internal strength when you decide to be an actor.

Emotionally, being attached with friends and family is very important. It is a combination of talent, luck and opportunity. At the sametime something I have experienced/learned is that it’s constantly a process of attaching and detaching. There are too many variables in an actor’s life. You can depend on your craft and skill but I don’t think you can depend on work which is uncertain. If you accept this uncertainty in work, then survival becomes easy. Eventually, I think the ones who last are able to carry themselves at certain risks. Your good-bad days need to be balanced. If a few days for me don’t work I move on. I keep reinventing myself.

Besides talent there are many other factors that come into making it up. You have to have that student’s mentality. You can never have the feeling, ‘I have arrived’. You are constantly arriving every time with your shows/films. Nothing is big or small. You have to be ready for things as you won’t know what is the game changing moment