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Every experience counts for an actor Disha Arora

– By Farhad Dalal

With a stellar start to the year with Sutliyan, Disha Arora is on a roll. In an Exclusive Interview with Farhad Dalal from Popcorn Reviewss she talks about the reception of her show Sutliyan, her journey, how the onset of OTT has resulted in opportunities for artists like her and the year 2022 ahead.

1. Now that the Sutliyan vibe has finally settled, how has the response been for you as well as the show?

On a personal level my family and extended family have really enjoyed the show. Sutliyan has been a complete family show with short episodes that has come like a breath of fresh air in times where most shows are comprised of violence and thrills. The response has been extremely positive and I am glad that my performance has also been mentioned and appreciated by all.

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2. From Charlie Kay Chakkar Mein To Sutliyan, how has the journey been?

My journey hasn’t been easy, infact it has been full of ups and downs. But the best part about it is that it is ongoing and work in progress. From the time I shot for Charlie Kay Chakkar Mein till today, I have had so many different experiences. Everything has taken time but it has definitely been worth it. These experiences have helped me evolve as a person and I am really looking forward to the journey ahead. The way I look at acting now is very different from what I had perceived it when I started. For me, the integrity and spirit of acting is still present but a lot has changed primarily because I have evolved as a person and learnt through different experiences in my life. And I hope to get the right kind of opportunities by putting that experience of mine to good use.

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3. Tell Us something about your early life, how did the acting bug hit you?

I always loved the stage ever since I was in play school. Infact, I was on the lookout for learning new skills in the field of art and sports, I was an alrounder(no puns intended) in school and college. Be it in dancing, music, elocution, compering or sports, I was the first to put my hand up. So acting started very early on. Later I did theatre in college too as a part of the Asmita Theatre Group. I performed stage plays for 2 years, so this was my first professional experience of acting. I always wished to work with different directors and understand the nuances of theatre. And so fate brought me to Mumbai where I came for an acting workshop conducted by Nadira Babbar. At that point, I did not have any ambition of acting in films. But what I went through personally was life changing. I was literally thrown out of the house by friends and family which came as a shocker to me. I was very young and I wasn’t sure how to deal with this setback. Luckily I was able to rescue myself with the help of a few new friends which I made in the city. That one month in Mumbai was full of challenges. I went back to Delhi and it was then that my father told me that I am not made for this place. He asked me to go back to Mumbai and pursue my dreams. Back then I was naive and waited for something to happen simply as I didn’t know a way to break into the industry. Now things have changed and I have evolved as a person. The thing that kept me going even then was that I was still curious and eager to learn new skills and hone them. So I kept doing workshops which was a whole new experience. It was also a period where I learnt different dance forms like Kathak, Jazz and Contemporary. Eventually, I created my own path and here I am today, evolved yet learning something new everyday.

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4. You have also performed on stage. How different is theatre acting from the one in films or shows?

They are both very different. On stage, you have the chance of performing in front of a live audience and you just get a single take to prove yourself. And you need to project your body and your voice both internally and externally when you are onstage. But in front of the camera, it is a different ball game. The camera catches every moment and so you have to be very specific with your movements. It is technical at the end of the day. But the thrill of performing live in front of the audience is a different feeling altogether. I feel theatre prepares you to be a good performer in front of the camera as well. I still get jitters on stage as well as in front of the camera. So the spirit of acting is same but the craft is slightly different.

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5. We haven't seen you often in films or shows although there is an element of quality to them. Are you someone who consciously looks for quality as opposed to quantity?

I wish I was in a position to say yes. Ideally I would like to believe so. But I feel actors at my stage are vulnerable and I feel it depends on your position in life. When Charlie Kay Chakkar Mein had released, I was offered the same kind of roles and I decided to turn them down. Honestly, it is a luxury to choose from the roles that you are offered. But as an upcoming actor it is difficult. At times you go without work for a very long time but you soon realise of the expenses to be paid. And this reflects in the choices which you make. While I wasn’t getting much work, the entrepreneur in me helped me start a coconut milk business to cover my basic cost. At the end of the day, every experience counts for an actor. At times when you are called for auditions, you decide to take them up even though you are not overtly excited for it. So it is tricky but at the end of the day I am grateful for it. There have been times when I was in the race for a role till the very end only to lose out later. Which is why Sutliyan was special. I did get the role and it was a fruitful ecperience.

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6. You have donned multiple hats too, besides being an actor you have also been an executive producer for short films. Tell us something about that and how easy or difficult it is from acting.

These are two very different aspects. But being an actor myself, I was able to understand the nuances of being an executive producer a little better. It helped me understand the things which were required to contribute behind the execution of a scene. I have been a problem solver all my life right from my theatre days where I have managed many things besides acting. And it is this skill of making things happen, which has helped me in my role of an executive producer. Kaushik Sarkar was a close friend and I did exchange different ideas on producing. I have previously done commercials and I am a keen observer of things that go on behind the camera. So he gave me the script and I decided to get involved in other technical aspects. And it was a wholesome experience. While producing, I was less vulberable and more active while taking end to end decisions. The shortcomings which I had experienced while acting helped me curb the same while I was producing. So in a way, my acting helped me become a better producer wherein I could contribute in a larger way. Hopefully, I shall continue doing the same.

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7. With the boom of the OTT space, how do you place yourself as a performer?

OTT has definitely been a boon as far as I am concerned. It has lead to better written roles, much more nuanced and meaty parts. I am really looking forward to my journey in the OTT space. In fact, this has translated in a lot more acting calls for which I am honestly grateful.

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8. Would you like to venture into other technical mediums like direction too, given the opportunity?

Yes, if I manage to learn the required skills then why not? I am willing to take the plunge after understanding the creative and technical aspects of it, and then learning to eventually put them together. So yes I am open to it.

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9. 2022 has begun on a good note with Sutliyan. Are there any other films or shows lined up which we as fans should be looking forward to?

There are talks on with some big production houses. Hope things materialize soon and hopefully you will see me in something soon, very soon! So exciting times ahead but fingers crossed!

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Farhad Dalal

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