Bollywood seems to be finally ready to accept one of the most-loved television actresses Kritika Kamra, who makes her debut with the release ‘Mitron’ also starring Jackky Bhagnani.
The actress got chatty with Deccan Chronicle as she opened up about how the film came her way, television and more. Here are excerpts from her interview:
How did Mitron happen?
They say that the best things happen when you’re looking away. I think this qualifies for that for me in the sense that I have been on the brink of making my film debut so many times in the past and it’s not happened for whatever reasons. There were different reasons to that – sometimes the film never took off, there were times it got delayed and I had my TV commitments, sometime I lost out on the role because somebody was better or related to somebody. I had just finished a show and was taking a break. That is when I got a call for this film and met Nitin sir. I was very excited for it because I knew he’s a National-Award winning director. I love his first film. He’s one of those rare realistic kind of filmmakers who make honest stories. So I was very excited to meet him and he narrated the whole thing to me and he was judging me. At the end of the meeting he said, “We’ll let you know in a day or two.” When people usually say that, it doesn’t really mean one or two days. Maybe you get a call maybe you don’t. Being an actor, you learn to detach yourself from the process. But I did get a call from him and the very next day. I woke up and the first call was actually from him. He said that they’d like me on board and I didn’t soak it in till we actually started shooting because it all happened so fast for me. Before I knew it we were doing the clothes trial, script reading, going to Ahmedabad. Me and Jackky were taken early to get feel of the place and grasp how people chit-chat, where they sit, what they do – just to get us familiar with the culture.
What do you think changed that this became your debut film?
I’m grateful he saw something, but my approach is still the same. I’m still meeting people, auditioning for parts and being a TV actor, you have to go an extra mile and prove yourself. People think you have that TV baggage and are over-exposed. They just assume that you are a loud actor and won’t be able to understand cinematic sensibilities but that’s not true and I’m glad Nitin sir didn’t subscribe to something like that. He didn’t look at me with any prejudice. He saw me for who I was and when I was doing the film, I realized what he saw in me maybe was that I connected with the character so much. Avni is a small-town, goal-oriented, ambitious, independent girl and that’s what I aim to do in life and have done so far. I have big dreams and want to make a name for myself and get married to a person of my choice and live life on my own terms which I think a lot of girls will also identify with. She represents the young women of the country but lives in a very conservative, orthodox, joint family, in an ancestral kind-of house. So it’s beautiful that these two worlds co-exist together in a place like Ahmedabad which has young crowd and students. We’ve shot in real cafes and real houses. There was a point in the city where we couldn’t take our cars, so we used to take auto or two-wheelers and go to sets. We had literally invaded so many houses. I remember doing make-up in somebody’s bedroom, playing Avni in my own bedroom since there were no vanity vans. It’s a very organic process which is what one expects out of a Nitin Kakkar film also. It was fun.
Do you think it’s the best phase for a TV actress to come in Bollywood?
I’m elated that so many peers are suddenly taking this new step but having said that, I don’t think it’s by chance. I think everybody’s had their own journey and it’s not like Bollywood has suddenly become accepting of TV actresses, which it wasn’t since the longest time. Being a TV actress, what’s offered to you most is supporting characters or just small roles. I don’t mean the length of it, but I don’t want to be an accessory. I don’t want to be standing there like a prop or be there for just a song or be love interest of the person but not part of plot of the film. We’ve been working really hard for so many years, playing protagonists, so the transition wouldn’t make sense if it wasn’t for meaty parts. This year it just happens that so many films with TV actresses are releasing but I’m sure everybody has had their own journey leading up to this. Radhika also did her first film which hasn’t got an Indian release yet. It’s in the film festival circuit. Brilliant film I believe. Mouni has also been in the industry for longer than me. She’s my senior and she cracked Bollywood only now.
From Kitni Mohabbat Hai to Mitron, how has the journey changed? Do you feel pressurized?
Kitni Mohabbat Hai will always be close to my heart but even before I heard Mitron, I was a fan as an audience, so I really would like to believe that whoever watches the film will enjoy it and come out with a smile on their faces. As far as the pressure is concerned, I am more excited than nervous right now because these last few months, almost a year, have only been about Mitron for me. I’m a workaholic and used to shoot every day for television. I have patiently waited for this film whereas in television is instant gratification. I want to share the film with people here and see what they feel. I want to see the industry’s reaction to it – my peers, others in the films. I obviously know a lot is riding for me on this film. I want to get good content and be part of more films and all mediums actually, even web. A lot will depend on what people think of me in this film – that I’m aware of. Since I’m a television actor, I’m a producer’s actor and understand that everybody needs to make money on the film and it needs to go certain business to qualify as a hit. I’m not detached from that side of the business at all so those pressures are there and also there is some loyal following since Kitni Mohabbat Hai – people who have been my constant cheerleaders and support. They’re my ‘Mitron’. I want them to enjoy this page of my journey also.
With your film releasing, do you feel a part of you is also going away?
Always. That even happens with TV shows. I attract roles where there’s a girl with a purpose who is of course a good wife, daughter, sister but has an identity, purpose, ambition, dreams. These kind of roles I think also connect with the youth and somehow speak to me so subconsciously I think I always attract these roles. Now what has happened is that there’s a part of me in each of the characters which I have played and a part of the character in me. Today also if you shout out Aarohi, I will turn back that’s how much of it lives inside me. With Mitron too, there’s a bit of me in the film and I’ve also taken back from Avni.
Will we be seeing you in more Bollywood films?
I hope so. Fingers crossed. I’m going to take it slow. Patience and security has helped me choose things I’m proud of so I don’t want to rush into something just because there’s a momentum. I want to sit back and see how this fares and then I want to be able to wisely pick the best of my plate so there’s nothing that I’ve signed so far.
So will television get a backseat?
I’ll never shut my doors on that. I’ve been getting a lot of calls. This financial security of being able to sit and choose a film of my choice wouldn’t have been possible if I did not do television. I’ve only used my investments for this, to be able to have this freedom of choice. I just want to give good content on any platform. I’ve actually done a few short films, but I did them before the whole trend came in and I’m very surprised by the kind of views those got. One of my short films has 14 million plus views the last time I checked, which I think was last year. So that was really surprising because we didn’t expect it. We didn’t even make any money out of it because it was just an exercise for me. That showed me the power of web. So if I get something cool to do there too, I would jump at it.