Posted by Vivek on March 6, 2013 | No Comments

You have seen her in soaps such as Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai and Ramayan, of late. Of course her performance in Ek Chalis Ki Last Local, is still very well remembered. But here we catch the amazing actress, who also dabbles in writing, AD’ing and production, in another avatar, that of giving a perspective of the struggles of making a life in Bollywood, including its disparities and shocking facts such as being nominated for an award, but not even being invited to the Premiere. Over to Sunita:

Sunita, how did you end up in the acting profession?
Basically I am from Haldwani, which is  small town close to Nainital so I went to Nainital for my Post Graduation. Theater is very well developed over there. We have a theater group called Yugmanch. There I ran into the late Nirmal Pandey. He was looking for some people who were keen to do stage. Taking permission from our hostel warden, we (friends and me) started doing plays with Nirmal. Since I was anyway very motivated to do theater, it showed in my performances and everyone was very pleased with how I was acting on stage. Nirmal suggested that I join National School of Drama. Back then I did not even know what NSD was. With his guidance in my second attempt I got through to NSD. NSD is a three year course and you eat, breathe and sleep, theater and performances. For one and a half years thereafter I  was with NSD Repertoire where you get paid to do theater. Due to some personal issues I decided to shift to Mumbai and as time passed, work came my way. I also assisted people in films and I did writing and casting.

A wonderful performance in Ek Chaalis Ki Last Local?
I got a nomination for the best performance of the year, by Stardust magazine, in 2007. But the irony of the situation is, that despite being nominated, I was not even called for the premiere of the film. I really am clueless on the mathematics of this Industry, sometimes. Nobody appears to appreciate how you perform, or how sincere or serious an actor you are often times plain overlooked.

Is the industry really changing?
This is the thirteenth year in Mumbai.   Checks still bounce, nepotism still exists, work  and creativity wise our field has developed. On humanity, ethics level we have gone back. We had concepts like respect for the seniors. Today’s generation is very intelligent, but in certain respects very casual. There are times when they don’t even know that their dialogue is done.  They learn the tricks of the trade, but the humanity dies somewhere along the way.

Do you see things improving from basics like professionalism?
Things have gotten so bad, that it can only get better, so yes, I do foresee that time happening. The actors association CINTAA has become quite active. They are there to assist on support lines. Actors have also adapted to the environment and react accordingly. Now it is more of “he will do his job and I will do mine.”

Which medium is the most satisfying for you?
Theater. When we perform in remote parts of India and get a wonderful response, that feeling is much higher than even getting a film in Hollywood. The experience is magical. It is a direct connection with the audience. Even amongst actors. We rehearse for months at a time. The love, the passion that we see in theater, is rarely seen anywhere else.

What are the upcoming projects?
I  got few offers from reputed production houses  lately , but the money they offered was humiliating… so i denied…These are the people who pay to the extent of  rupees seventy five thousand to a lakh per day to few artist and for some they don’t have budget…I at times doubt if its me going wrong in the process , how long  do I  wait for my time to come ?

You have been an Assistant Director in movies like STRIKER, so is there a Director in you?
People do say I have directorial skills, but I am not so sure myself. I would be more inclined to direct a documentary I think.

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