There is nothing predicable or permanent in this profession: Ana Ilmi
– By Farhad Dalal
After having tasted success with the show Miya Biwi Aur Murder, Ana Ilmi is on a high. In an Exclusive Interview with Farhad Dalal from Popcorn Reviewss she talks about the response to her new release, her vulnerabilities as an actor and the year 2022 ahead.
How has the response been to your new show Miya Biwi Aur Murder and more specifically to your character Supriya?
What are the things you consider while choosing to essay a character? Also what are the kind of preparations that you undergo for your role?
First and foremost I look for the potentiality for me to perform in a role.
Even if it’s not a very big role but its impacting the storyline, it gives me enough impetus to look into a role and take it up. Secondly, the story and plot must appeal to me. My senses must be triggered and I should be excited while reading a script.
I usually work on my scenes in advance and figure out ways to emote it which can definitely change on set depending on the give & take with my co-actors.
I also learn about my character in-depth from the writer and director to get a wholesome sense of what I am playing on screen.
Then exterior preparations like costumes, hairstyles, gait and habits of my character etc. is obviously done with the help of the team and the backstory we create of the character.
There were mild intimate scenes featuring your character in Miya Biwi Aur Murder. What are the things that goes in an actor's mind before performing them?
I feel the most important aspect while performing such scenes is the comfort level your director, your co-actor and the entire team on set provide you. Also, the conversation with your director and co-actor while preparing for the scene matters a lot. We all should be on the same page. Once we have everyone’s consent then shooting such scenes with a certain amount of sensitivity and understanding makes it easier.
In this case, my director Sunil Manchanda and my co-actor Prasad Khandekar were excellent, so shooting the intimate scenes was easy.
I was clearly told by Sunil sir that the objective is not to show intimate scenes but to show what’s going on in my character ‘Supriya’s’ mind and how I take out information from my co-actor’s character. So it was also taking the story forward as opposed to just showing these scenes for the heck of it. So in my mind all I had to think of was the reason and objective why my character was performing these scenes and then it was a cakewalk.
You are a trained dancer as well. How easy or difficult was the transition to becoming an actor? And where does your first love lie - dancing or acting?
Since I am a trained dancer, it has always helped me perform as an actor on stage and camera. So the transition was extremely smooth. From the reality show I was in (India’s Dancing Superstar) to the live dance drama show (Beyond Bollywood) where I act and dance, to my film (Bhangra Paa le) acting and dancing have overlapped many times and this imbrication has made the transition seamless .
I started my career as a trained jazz, ballet dancer which got me to Mumbai. So my heart is titled an ounce more towards dance as my first love.
What are the insecurities or vulnerabilities which you have faced as an actor and how do you keep yourself motivated when things don't go your way?
There is nothing predicable or permanent in this profession. Hence all actors by default are competitive. When I see actors doing some great work, I am extremely happy that writers are writing good characters and new actors are getting brilliant opportunities but I also feel the restlessness of waiting for my turn. Hence, I remind myself every day that I have to be thick skinned and not take others success negatively or take any negative comments to my heart. I can safely say for all actors that we have to constantly motivate ourselves by focusing on ourselves rather than others.
I do so by pursuing other passions like dancing, yoga and travelling. My love for these make me come back to who I essentially am and help me focus better on myself.
With the rise of OTT platforms, how do you think it has affected actors, good or bad?
I am so grateful for the opportunities OTT platforms have created for actors like me who are not from the industry. I have done all my work through good auditions and hope to just keep doing performance based roles in every project. Earlier I was lost and had no way of entering the industry but now I look forward to good scripts that new writers have for actors especially for OTT .
Are there any other films or shows lined up this year which we as viewers should be looking forward to?
Yes. I am eagerly waiting for ‘Dahaad’ on Amazon Prime directed by Reema Kagati and ‘Tribhuvan Mishra- CA Topper’ on Netflix directed by Amritraj Gupta and Puneet Krishna. So exciting times ahead😊