Sandeepa Dhar from Kashmir made her debut into Bollywood with the movie Isi Life Mein in 2010, from then it has been an upward journey for her. She has starred in multiple hit movies and critically acclaimed web series such as Abhay and Mai: A Mother’s Rage. Dhar has been nominated for the Filmfare Best Debut Actress, Star Screen Award for Most Promising Newcomer – female and the Stardust Award for Superstar of Tomorrow – Female.
She opens up to us about the challenges she faced in the industry, her learning experiences in the shooting spots, her co-stars and her philosophy when it comes to life and work. The Pandemic has taught her not to plan things far ahead, she’s more conscious of the changes in the Bollywood industry and is ready to take one step at a time. She’s not in a hurry to the top. It is the process that appeals to her.
“Personal growth as an actor and as an individual is the most important for me. I think that's where I see myself going, I see myself evolving, changing, getting better and better with time.”
Sandeepa Dhar is working on a new project, meanwhile she spoke to us about working on the sets of Kaagaz with the legendary actors Salman Khan, Pankaj Tripathi and Director Satish Kaushik. She shares a special relationship with Salman Khan, as she had already worked with him; and Tripathi according to her, is ‘an amazing and smashing human being.’ She quoted an incident where Kaushik came to her with a song and told her that it was about women empowerment, and that he would never shoot an item song or show women in a poor light. ‘It was reassuring and refreshing to see him talk like that,’ she said.
“It was a wonderful experience working on Kaagaz, I'm extremely lucky that I get to work with such an amazing set of creative minds who've been in the industry for a really long time, who are so experienced, and at the top of the game. Ihope I get to work with them over and over again. Fingers crossed.”
When asked about her experience so far in Bollywood, Dhar said that it is like a rollercoaster ride, having it’s ups and downs. She is extremely grateful to have worked in diverse roles, with multiple stars and franchises like Netflix and Hotstar. She is also ready to fight for and hope for more bigger, stronger roles and recognition. Looking forward to many more exciting opportunities, Dhar remains optimistic.
“…I feel like I'm also very grateful, because I have got an opportunity to work with some amazing set of people from Salman to Sajid Nadiadwala to Tiger to Kriti and Rajshri. Even with the web, I have gotten the opportunity to work with some brilliantly talented people; platforms from Netflix to Hotstar, the best in the game. I think it's been an interesting journey and I'm only very excited to see where it goes henceforth. Because I don't know myself where it leads me to, I don’t know how much I'm going to grow and evolve. No matter what, I'm really, really looking forward to the opportunities that I get henceforth and to the choices that I make ahead.”
Working with Atul Mongia for the web series Mai has been a dream come true for Sandeepa Dhar. The series was produced by Clean Slate Filmz owned by Anushka Sharma and Karnesh Sharma. It was a critical and commercial success, and it impacted her personally and professionally as well says Dhar. She goes on to talk about her views on personal development and how she focuses on being a better person and artist, never comparing herself to anyone but herself. She strongly believe in personal growth, and looks forward to being a better version of her self both on and off screen. ‘People who compare their lives to others’ are quite narrow minded, as everyone’s journey is different,’ she adds.
“. I feel like anyway, with the kind of lifestyles that we all have, we all need to look inward and work on our own selves, that's the only way that we can keep a straight head in this crazy world. Because, social media and people can play with your head and I think at this point, the only thing that can save you is your own self and knowing who you are and working on it. I think for me that is what is the most important.”
For a final question, we asked her about the obstacles she has faced and her journey so far. She replied that being an outsider had been her first obstacle; she knew no one in the industry and had to work hard to land roles, to reach the relevant people. Since she had no one to guide her during her earlier days, everything was of ‘trial and error,’ method for her. She had to learn from her mistakes, sometimes she erred three four times, before learning her lesson. She also spoke about the ‘perception’ that people have about actors, which stereotypes them and thereby denying them of certain roles. This fight against people’s perception of her is a constant battle she says.
“In this industry, the stereotyping is immense to an extent it’s quite ridiculous in a way because isn't it stupid that as an actor, you're putting people in boxes, according to the way they look. But as an actor, I should mould myself physically and emotionally as per the character. That is my job, right? I'm supposed to play a different character irrespective of what I look like, but the industry forces you to only play roles, which kind of suffice to what you look like physically. So, if I am, for example, fair and modern and good looking then, according to them, I would only fit in roles wherein the character is rich and from an affluent family or speaks English. I am honestly quite fed up with people thinking like that. I think there is that obstacle that I'm constantly fighting hence, if you look at my filmography, I'm always playing roles wherein the character is quite the opposite of what I am in person.”
We ended the interview with a positive vibe, with Sandeepa Dhar asking the audience and readers to look forward to her movies and series, not because she is in them but because they’re worth watching.
We are indeed looking forward to your next project Sandeepa Dhar!
Wishing you all luck and success!