In a candid interview with L'utopia magazine, actress Anupriya Goenka replicates her career graph and narrates her journey.
We asked her why she decided to switch from corporate to the business world and whether she would still like to go back and she said, “I was working in the business space, then, in the corporate space and then acting happened to me. So, I started working very early in life, when I was around 16 and primarily, everything I was doing for the next seven eight years was only to make ends meet.” She also tells us that she started helping her father in his business, when she was in 11th standard. She says, “By the time I passed out and started working with him full time during my college, the business was already sinking and we had to make a choice, so I made the decision to wrap it up.” In her later years of college, she did a lot of travelling to various places to terminate the business and that was the time she started working in the corporate space. She tells us, “I started with call centres and then moved on to becoming an executive assistant, worked up with some top names and some major companies. By the time I shifted to Bombay for corporate work and later settled my family in couple of years, I started to feel that I needed to do something for myself and something creative.”
She tells us about her interest in theatre since her school days and about her brief experience of it in the NSD extension workshops when she was in 12th standard. She says that theatre wasn’t possible with the normal working hours of a corporate setup and how she came up with a way out. “I had taken a leave to do theatre for some time and was supposed to come back to my corporate job. That was the initial plan but that kind of never happened because theatres didn’t pay my bills and I had to start earning from this line of work in order to sustain and be an actor on a regular basis. So that’s how commercial acting started for me.” We asked, whether she plans on going back to the corporate space and she said, “I don’t plan on going back to the corporate space as of now because acting is my passion, it’s my life and I really enjoy doing it. But at some point of time I do want to open up a small scale industry, I do want to be involved in some sort of a manufacturing setup. I plan on doing something which involves local artisans and have a shop setup, somewhere in the countryside; that’s also a dream along with acting, a distant dream as of now but, I believe that will happen sometime.”
We asked about her association with the “Down to earth” organization, she told us how she wanted to do something for other people, kids, their education etc. She says, “It was ridden with some challenges because of the lack of proper systems and regular teachers. To have one kid or couple of kids constantly be with you was a little difficult because they keep getting shuffled between different centres and they would keep going back to working in odd jobs to sustain their families as well but, Down to earth really worked very hard in giving a regular sort of guidance, aligning themselves with each one of these kids and their future irrespective of where they were and keeping track of their performance. They really have shaped some lives beautifully.” She tells us about her contribution to the association as, “Primarily being involved in the events, support them as a volunteer, go meet the kids, get involved in teaching them sometimes and doing activities with them because it’s always nice for the kids to see outside people come and be part of their lives, which inspires them, gives them a perspective. I tried to support the organisation in any little way that I could.”
To serve the obvious curiosities of every fan, we asked her about her upcoming projects and she told us about Asura 2 which should be released any time soon on voot, then there is a film called Gubaar which she completed last year and is playing the role of a psycho killer with a bit of comic space, with Vinay Pathak. Then there is Sultan of Delhi, a hotstar series, which has been directed by Milan luthria and Suparn Verma, which again is expected to come out next year sometime. Right now, as a main lead, she is shooting for a film called “Khilone” which is an action film.
We asked her about the different experiences she had in the south industry compared to Bollywood to which she said, “ I think south industry functions differently than Bollywood – in the casting process, in the process of how you meet directors, how you audition for parts. I believe there are mediators but not so many casting directors, at least not at that time when I started off in 2013. That was my very first year in acting and I had done two films back to back, Potogadu and Paathshala, both in Telugu and after that I came back to Bombay and started working here more regularly so I don’t have that much of experience but, they really welcome you with open arms, they are very supportive, extremely quick with their work, very methodical and it was a great experience working there!”
About facing the language barriers, while working in the south industry she tells us, “Both the projects were different as to how we approached rehearsing for dialogues and shooting scenes. In one project I had actually stationed myself in Hyderabad for one and a half months, just to prepare for the role and we had a bound script given to us and we kept rehearsing the lines. I am very bad at mugging, I was even as a student so it was very challenging for me. Generally I am very quick with my lines but because there was a language barrier, I had to really stress over learning my lines and trying to understand them rather than mugging and then emoting of course. In the second project, our lines would literally come to us on the day of shoot during hair and makeup and they were far more chilled about it. I would learn lines, sit with the Ads, they would make me understand each and every word as much as possible so that it would be easier for me to emote but a lot would be handled during dubbing to be honest. It was a great fun experience, though challenging it was quite a learning experience and the people in Hyderabad thankfully talk a lot in Hindi and understand it as well. They are very supportive so it never really felt that I was an outsider except for, when they would converse around me in their own language which I had tried to pick up on as much as possible, it was a very good experience!” I would love to work in the south again, hoping a good opportunity comes. They are doing fabulous work and their hard work and passion shows in everything project. The quality of content they are making is super and inspiring.
We asked her, which book or people had the most influence on her growth and why, and she answered that the book which had a great impact on her life is “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. She said, “It’s just the nature of the book of being so hopeful and full of promise and perseverance, talking about the mysteries of life.” Apart from that she told us that she greatly admires Amrita Preetam. She said, “She was a poetess, a novelist who was so filled with emotions and insight about life and yet, also very brave, very vocal and very edgy. She was this perfect combination of enigma and romanticism along with being very brave and edgy in her pursuits for what she wanted to do in her life and I greatly respect her for that.”
We asked her if she could tell us about her aims for the future and the impact she aspires to have on her audience and fans and she told us, “There are many things that I want to accomplish, both career wise and personally. As an actor I want to do more challenging roles, roles which explore different aspects of me as a performer, like this year, thankfully, I have been part of different genres like, I am playing a psycho killer in one, I always wanted to do some comedy so it has a bit of comedy in it, I am doing an action film, I am playing this very negative and unredeemable character in Sultan of Delhi. So I am doing a variety of roles and I hope the audience will appreciate it and see the versatility even more. I have always got to work with great people and have very potent roles in the past like Padmaavat, War, Tiger Zinda hai, Asura, Ashram and mostly all these were intense characters. I do want to do a slice of life, and easy breezy characters too. Also I did play a rural character in Meri desh ki dharti but I want to explore that, much more. I did Padmaavat, i love period dramas aspire to do them even more. So there is a lot that I want to do as an actor. I really want to be attached to subjects which also have a social message and have an impact on my audiences, to be able to contribute in saying something that needs to be talked about and initiating a dialogue. So I hope through my work and acting I am able to make a larger difference and talk about subjects which have a bearing on us and our everyday lives, subjects that need to be discussed and the mindsets that need to be changed, like in Criminal justice 2 we discussed domestic violence, a very important discussion and I was glad to see the kind of dialogue that got initiated. I would like to do more of those things, those kinds of roles and bring about some kind of impact and difference.”
Being a body positivity and women empowering magazine, we asked her to share her views on these topics for our readers. She stated, “I think as women, we are so blessed to be born in this sex, we have so much to offer in terms of our versatility of emotions, we are kind, compassionate, passionate, we can emote and experience much more, we understand emotions in a very different way and we can be strong and sensitive at the same time. I think being a woman is a blessing and it’s really sad that we get bogged down by having certain sort of parameters to follow when it comes to looking a certain way, be it in terms of the way we are coloured or shaped or dressed. I love a voluptuous body and dark skin and I am dusky. I have always been very comfortable with the way my body is. Though, I want to be and feel fit. I never really aspired to be a certain figure only, even though my job requires me to be. I need to be feeling good and be agile and physically fit which is very important I feel. But I do not want to cage myself by pressurising myself and suppressing my belief system, or my confidence because I need to be a certain size. So it’s very important to me to be comfortable in your skin and to appreciate what you have and that can only come from having the innate sense of appreciation of who you are. So fashion or being looked upon a certain way, is not so much about what is given to you and but more about what you do with it, how you appreciate and inspire yourself.’
You have to use fashion to make yourself feel good and not for others to feel good about you.