Aahana Kumra the talented, gazelle-eyed actress who played a rebellious young beautician in Lipstick Under My Burkha has gained a lot of fan following since her amazing performance in her latest flick. She had made her on-screen debut playing Amitabh Bachchan’s daughter in the TV series Yudh. The actress talked about a wide range of issues to thestatesman.com in an email interview.
When and why did you decide to become an actor?
I was 4-year-old when I decided to be an actor. Thankfully destiny fulfilled my desire as I moved to Bombay from Lucknow. After school, I used to attend workshops at Prithvi Theatre with Neeraj Kabi and that’s when my eyes opened to the world of theatre. I did everything from selling tickets to backstage, so I could be a part of this wonderful world. That was the moment when I realised acting is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Tell us a little bit about your journey into acting?
I’ve always participated in every extra-curricular activity in my school and college. I used to win accolades for my college. My principal and the staff of the school knew me because of my participation in these activities. That is when my mother saw my inclination towards acting and she asked me if that was my true calling and I couldn’t say anything but yes. She told me that we cannot teach you acting since none of us belong to the industry. However, I had to complete my formal education before pursuing acting as a career. I remember Whistling Woods had just opened its doors to students around that time. I was one of the very first few students to enroll there. I learned the nuances of acting and gathered all the knowledge about the field at the institute from my mentor Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah.
What made you accept the role in Lipstick under my Burkha?
The script was very interesting and the subject was very different. The film actually spoke about the real troubles that women face in their day-to-day lives. I could identify with each one of the characters that I was reading. This film needed to be made because it was certainly defying gender norms and sending out a strong message. The script was actually the key that made me decide that I wanted to do it.
Your role in the film was bold. Were you nervous at any point of time? How did you prepare for the character?
Nervousness was something that I didn’t pay attention to, I was concerned about getting my scenes right. If I was nervous I would have never selected the role. There was a lot of preparation that went into the making of the movie, we had a long 10-day workshop and I was made to feel comfortable with both of my co-actors Vikrant and Vaibhav. It was primarily with Vikrant because I had a lot of scenes with him. I think you have to be at ease with your co-actor; you cannot just jump into filming with somebody you don’t know.
How was it working with co-star Amol Parashar in your upcoming series?
I have known Amol since my theatre days when he did a play. We were a part of the same theater group, but unfortunately, we never got a chance to work together. The moment I knew that Amol was doing the series and Lakshya Raj Anand was directing it for Viu, I thought it was something that I couldn’t miss out on and I jumped at the opportunity. Amol had co-incidentally also written the dialogues for the show which made it very comfortable. We used to brainstorm every night, and shooting it the next day. So, working with him was very fulfilling. I am really looking forward to this and I hope that we have more such collaborations.
Tell us about your character in the web series — It Happened in Hongkong.
The character is very similar to me. Thankfully, we haven’t even changed our names. It was Lakshay who asked us what names you want to keep and we were completely at ease with our own names. Somewhere that really helped and because of this, while we were shooting and having conversations, we actually got to know each other well. So, I think that was the most interesting part of the entire show.
What kind of a person are you off-screen?
I am a traveller and don’t like to be tied down to one place or one surrounding. I am also an extremely private person and love spending time with my parents, my sister and my nephew who is just 2. So, it’s either travelling or spending time with family and friends.
What are your plans?
I don’t really plan my future because my plans have never worked. I have realised that God has plans for you and they work out for your best. It’s best to leave your plans open since possibilities are endless.
The actor also indulged in the quick rapid fire:
Who is your favorite actor/ actress in the film industry?
Naseeruddin Shah, Manoj Bajpayee, and Emma Stone
With which director you would like to work
There are a lot of young directors I would like to work with. I have already worked with Alankrita, I would love to work with her again. I would also like to work with Advait Chandan, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, Nitish Tiwari and Abhishek Chaubey.
Mr. Amitabh Bachchan
Favorite TV show
The Crown and Black Mirror
Describe yourself in one word
My hobby is to be able to explore a city on foot