Aahana Kumra | After debuting on TV with Amitabh Bachchan’s Yudh, she has done films like Lipstick Under my Burkha and The Accidental Prime Minister. Kumra speaks with Shalini Saksena about her journey so far, among other things
What got you interested in acting??
I attended a workshop at Prithvi Theatre. I always participated in extra-curricular activities when I was in school. It was one of those things where you took part but nobody pushed you to become an artist. But at 14, when I took this workshop I thoroughly enjoyed it and decided to pursue acting. I decided then and there that I could do this for the rest of my life. It was great fun. More so since I can make money too.
How has the journey been so far?
So far so good. It was not as if I had to struggle a lot. I didn’t have to go through a lot of problems as an outsider. It is easier for an insider though. If I was from inside the industry, the things that would worry me would be which project to take up and or how I could better my game. But for us — outsiders — it is about how to get a role. If one can get past these things, the journey is a learning curve.
Would it have helped if you had inside help?
Yes, definitely. It would have been a great help but I would have still had to prove myself. It is the little things that matter. There are few films which have roles for women and everyone is struggling for those, I am talking about films and not the web. The web allows actors to experiment and offers them opportunities. In films, things are different. Because you are from a certain family, you get a certain kind of launch. As an outsider, you don’t get to choose. But after you reach a level and look back you feel great about yourself.
You played Priyanka Gandhi in The Accidental Prime Minister. Did you have to do a lot of research?
The role was difficult even though my role was pretty much summed up. Each actor does his research. One has to understand the impact this film would have. A lot of homework has to be done before hand. Nobody will spoon feed you. Though there is a team to help you, at the end of the day the effort has to come from you.
You are also doing a show for ZEE 5. How are you managing films and TV?
The show is not for TV as of now. Don’t know about the future. ZEE5 is a digital platform and the show is about a gangster from UP in the 90s. When I pick up a role it is about what character I am going to play — not just being a glam girl. I take up projects where I am not repeating myself. I don’t think where it will be showcased. I look at a project from a purely story point of view.
Is that why you have chosen to be part of different platforms — TV, films, web and theatre?
As an actor, one would want to do films. But every medium has its own charm. Take theatre. It is one of the most fascinating and interesting platforms. I have been a part of a play that has been running for six years and has completed 100 shows — Sir Sir Sarla. Each line delivered has to be differently, the audience is different and you experiment each time.
Was there a role that came to you easy?
It was a web-series It Happened In Hong Kong. It was easy since I was myself. It was about travelling and fellow travellers.
Was there a movie that you have seen recently and loved it?
Yes, Andhadhun. Tabu has outdone herself and given a run for money to many young actors who can learn one or two things from her.
You were part of Lipstick Under My Burkha. What made this movie so popular?
Every film comes with its kismat. The millennia don’t care who the actors are. If this was the case, moves of big actors would not tank. It was not like Khoon Bhari Maang. It was not about feminism where the women were trying to put the man down. Lipstick Under My Burkha just highlighted the plight of women. The film resonated with the women globally and that they don’t want to be treated like puppets.
Is there a role that you would say no to?
If there was a role where all I had to do was sit and look pretty I would say no because I would get bored.