Aahana Kumra: Powerhouse of talent
Interviewed by Deepti Chandak
How difficult is it to establish yourself in the film industry?
I don't think I am the only powerful woman, and I think there are a lot of women out there who are establishing themselves. I feel like I am very different because I count myself in the most human and most normal possible actors in the new generation because everyone is trying so hard, and I feel that its okay, maybe it is fine for them, I don't want to. I want to have normalcy in my life and I do have a voice of reason, I do reason before I pick up a project, I ask myself, will I be proud of it when I look back on it 10 years from now and I think most of the projects I have done, have been something that I will be extremely proud of. And I can look back and say that I entertained, and did not bore people, I did not try to preach anyone, I spoke when I wanted to, I worked in projects that resonated with me and my mindset and my family, and the skillsets I have been brought up with. As far as establishing yourself in the film industry is, I feel it is something you have to strive for all your life, you can't think you can be a 1 film wonder, you can't be complacent, and you can't sit tight and be like my job is done, you have to keep striving and keep working hard, so you spend the rest of the life establishing yourself in the film industry. You have never arrived.
Have you progressed in your acting career as planned?
I don't think I planned anything and I feel because I didn't plan, I did not have expectations, I don't expect people to recognize me on the roads, I don't expect people to ask for my autography, or selfies, I don't. If that happens, it is great, and if it doesn't, it does not bother me or affect me. Trust me, I go out a lot, and meet a lot of people, and it is lovely to know their stories, know the human side of their stories and to be able to put that to my characters. I have taken this year very lightly and I have met a lot of people in the last few months and I haven't planned anything, and because of that, I have been far more relaxed, as opposed to I usually am - very riled up and up and about, but I have been very easy and relaxed this entire year. I am not planning anything and I want to see how that goes.
When it comes to choosing scripts, whom do you go for advise?
While choosing scripts, I don't go to anyone for advice, I usually read it myself, I speak to my team, but I am the one who solely decides what I want to do, it is one person who makes the decision and it is me. It has to resonate with my values, my mind, my career, and something I believe in. So while looking at scripts, I look at whether I will be proud of it, 40 or 50 years hence, if there will be a young girl maybe in a small-town is watching my work and goes like this is what I want to be, and I think that's the work I really want to be doing, and I don't ever want to box myself into doing certain kind of roles, I want to entertain and work wholly as an actor but I definitely want to be archived as someone who people want to read about or films students watch, because I did that as a child. As a film student, I watched actors and I still watch actors and I will always remember them for their work and I hope I can be one of them.
What are you scared of and have you overcome your fears?
I am scared of failure, like massive scare of failure, I always feel like what if it fails. I think over the years, I have learned to detach myself from that fear, mentally it is exhausting because it feels like you have put all your eggs in one basket and that is not right, especially not in our industry. I think now, I have moved towards becoming a content creator, and I am really happy out of that, and that is somewhere responsible for making me calmer that what I usually am, because I am usually at my wit's end for a lot of things. This an entire year I have literally taken time off, written things, built content, worked on subjects that I feel very passionately about, and I feel because all that has happened simultaneously, I have become a lot calmer that I usually am and that fear or failure has completely gone somewhere. Of course it will always be there as an artist, and satisfaction is death, as George said, also something that I believe in, I don't think I will ever be satisfied but have I overcome the fear of failure, because if I don't fail, how will I learn, so I feel that is something I have really overcome.
Of all the roles you have played, which one is your favorite ?
Quite a lot, I have loved playing Leela from Lipstick, it will always be like really close to my heart, because it really changed me as a woman in the film industry and even in general, and definitely Sameera Chauhan from Marzi, I think it was a show that for me, was very important that spoke about consent and that is a very important discussion in today's time. Apart from that, I loved my character in Call My Agent because I think that is another really interesting part I have played in a really long time, because it is fun, and it is really me, somebody who is crazy and thinks out of the box. I feel I really relate to Amal a lot, and I think these 3 will always be my favourite characters.
Outside of acting , do you have any other major interests or passions?
Yes, I am a content creator, I am writing, it has been an exciting time for me, I am looking at content creation and I am very happy with the way things have been shaping up at the moment, and I would like to produce at some point of time. Apart from that, I am a connoisseur for travel, I love travelling, I hope I can do something in that portal at some point. Iy would great if I could be a part of a project I put together myself and people I like to work with, so that is something I am really passionate about. Apart from that, I'll also open a shelter with a very close friend of my mother because we are passionate about animals. Over the lockdown, we have adopted a lot of animals and we have take initiatives to feed animals, and I love it, I love spending my evenings with them, with all the dogs we have adopted in the building, so probably open a shelter in the future.
Any upcoming projects you would like to talk about ?
I am a part of Avrodh season 2, that will be shot really soon. Apart from that, I don't think I am at the liberty to talk about anything else and if something materializes, the world will anyway know.