Kingfisher Calendar Girl to Bad Cop, Aishwarya Sushmita is Raring to Go

From modelling to showbiz, Aishwarya Sushmita has carved her own path. Sushmita began her career as the face of the Kingfisher calendar. But her ambitions went beyond the ramp as she ventured into acting, making her debut in the recent web series Special Ops 1.5 on Disney + Hotstar.

She was also seen in Khakhee on Netflix.

Her upcoming project is the highly anticipated Bad Cop directed by Aditya Dutt. In Bad Cop, Aishwarya Sushmita will be seen playing Kiki alongside Anurag Kashyap and Gulshan Devaiah. The web show will be released on Disney+ Hotstar on June 21.

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In an exclusive conversation with Deccan Chronicle, Aishwarya Sushmita talks about her journey so far.

Congratulations on your upcoming web show Bad Cop! What drew you to this project, and how did you prepare for your role as Kiki?

Thank you! What drew me to this project was primarily the cast and the complexity and depth of the character.

Preparing for a role like Kiki in "Bad Cop" was an exciting challenge. The role of Kiki is multi-dimensional, and portraying her allowed me to explore a wide range of emotions and situations, which is something every actor looks for in a role.

To prepare for the role, I focused on Character Study, I delved into Kiki's backstory, understanding her motivations, fears, and desires. This helped me portray her more authentically. I also spent time researching and understanding con artists based characters like Margot Robbie and Will Smith in the movie focus, Jennifer in American hustle, Julia Robert’s from Pretty Woman and watched other few films to understand different interpretations and techniques. Overall, the preparation for "Bad Cop" was intense, but incredible and I am excited for the audience to meet Kiki.

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You have had a successful transition from modelling to acting. What inspired you to make the switch, and how do you think your experience in modeling has helped you in your acting career?

Acting was always there in the back of my head, it’s just that I didn’t know the way. So I didn’t end up investing much time thinking about it, but when I got an opportunity after winning Kingfisher supermodels and had the right exposure like the Kingfisher calendar, I realised it’s time to pursue acting as a career, and since then there has been no looking back.

Transitioning from modelling to acting was completely driven by a passion for storytelling and a desire to explore new creative avenues. Acting also allows for deeper emotional expression, that modelling to some extent restricts it. And how long can one hold onto expressions.

However, modelling has helped me mold my personality through understanding camera presence, which translates well into acting. Modelling instills a strong work ethic and professionalism that are beneficial on film sets. Somewhere industry connections helped me connect with the right people like casting directors who connected well with me while auditioning and saw the passion in me for storytelling.

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Your debut web series Special Ops 1.5 received great reviews. How did you find the experience of working on that project, and what did you learn from it?

Yes absolutely, it received such great reviews for the first part itself that while auditioning for its prequel I knew I had to bring my best given the standard of Special Ops. However, my experience on set, once I was cast, the real excitement began. Working with a seasoned team and being directed by someone as accomplished as Neeraj Pandey was both a learning experience and an opportunity to refine my craft. The environment on set was professional yet collaborative, which made the entire process enjoyable.

As my debut, “Special Ops 1.5” was a significant learning curve. I had to adapt to the demands of acting in front of the camera, which is quite different from modelling and something that I wasn’t used to, The role required me to tap into a range of emotions and perform stunts, which was challenging, yet rewarding. This debut certainly helped me build more confidence in myself as an actor. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed being on set, its process, and a pivotal cast of the creation.

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You have worked on various streaming platforms like Disney+ Hotstar and Netflix. How do you see the OTT landscape evolving, and what opportunities do you think it offers for actors?

OTT is evolving rapidly, and it offers immense opportunities not just for actors like me, but all the creative people who had ideas, but lack of opportunity or non-availability of enough right platforms were restricting them in this era of a highly competitive entertainment world. But the good part is OTT caters to a global audience with different tastes and has global reach that not only allows creative freedom, but also lets one push boundaries. Audiences like variations not just in content, but they also like to watch the variety in characters that OTT delivers.

In Bad Cop, you are working alongside seasoned actors like Anurag Kashyap and Gulshan Devaiah. What was it like collaborating with them, and what did you learn from the experience?

Anurag Sir, known for his profound impact on Indian cinema, brought a wealth of knowledge and just his presence motivated me to elevate my work and craft. Working with Gulshan was fun and much to learn from him, he was humble and approachable. This grounded attitude is something I admire. On set, he helped me understand the intricacies of action sequences in detail as he came with his bit of experience, which was quite helpful.

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Your character Kiki in Bad Cop seems intriguing. Can you share some insights into her personality and what audiences can expect from your performance?

About my character Kiki I would say she’s multifaceted who brings a lot of depth to the story. She is a strong and resilient woman. The challenges she faced in life have made her tough. She is compassionate and loyal, despite her tough exterior, she’s extremely loyal and puts her faith in those who she cares about and goes to any extent for her loved ones. She’s not afraid to show her vulnerability, doesn’t back down easily and is determined in what she stands for and what she believes in. She is smart, resourceful, intelligent and thinks on her own feet and comes up with creative solutions to the problems. Her character overall makes her very relatable and human, that audience can resonate with and will definitely connect to on a deeper level.

How do you approach character development, and what research or preparation do you do to get into the mindset of your characters?

Approaching character development is a process that involves deep research and study, preparation, and emotional connection. I aim to bring authenticity and depth to my characters by being connected with my own self first and with people around. Observations and building background stories helps a lot in the process.

You have been building your filmography on streaming services. What kind of roles or genres are you interested in exploring in the future?

I am eager to explore a diverse range of roles and genres that challenge me and allow me to grow as an actor. I am passionate about exploring a wide array of roles and genres that push my boundaries as an actor. The streaming landscape offers a plethora of opportunities to take on diverse and challenging roles. However, I would love to do a few historical dramas, action thrillers, and emotional narratives and I am excited to see where this journey takes me.

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As a model-turned-actress, how do you handle criticism or negative feedback, and what keeps you motivated to continue pursuing your passion?

Handling criticism and negative feedback can be challenging, but I try to detach myself from it and focus on the points being made that helps me identify areas where I can improve and grow.

I feel for me it’s very important to surround myself with a supportive network of friends and family. What keeps me motivated is my passion for storytelling and the desire to connect with audiences through my performances.

What message would you like to convey to your fans and audiences who will be watching Bad Cop on June 21?

Through my character and the story in “Bad Cop,” I aspire to entertain, provoke thought, and perhaps even spark conversations about morality and the complexities of human nature.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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