Art & Entertainment

‘Pyaar Hai Toh Hai’ Debutant Paanie Kashyap: Little Easier For People From The Industry, But Talent Is What Will Help You Survive

Paanie Kashyap opens up on how she bagged such a big project, the struggles she had to face being an outsider in the film industry, the hullabaloo around nepotism, and why her film was promoted so less. She also talks candidly about casting couch and unconditional love for someone special in her life.

Paanie Kashyap
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Paanie Kashyap, who hails from a small town, recently made her big-screen debut with ‘Pyaar Hai Toh Hai’. The film may have not received a lot of screens when it was released, but it surely got a lot of great reviews. Even Amitabh Bachchan shared the trailer of the film and congratulated the newbies on making their entry into Bollywood. The film directed by Pradeep RK Chaudhary is now looking for its big release on OTT and hopes to make it big for digital audiences.

Talking to Prateek Sur, Paanie Kashyap opens up on how she bagged such a big project, the struggles she had to face being an outsider in the film industry, the hullabaloo around nepotism, and why her film was promoted so less. She also talks candidly about the casting couch and having unconditional love for someone special in her life.

Excerpts:

How did the role land on your plate?

I auditioned for this role. I had previously done a short film with the producer, who loved my work. They were looking for a semi-known face for the character Nimmo, but couldn’t find anyone appropriate. They asked me to audition, and I had a meeting with the director. When I met him, I was on walkers because my leg was fractured. They saw some spark in me and asked me to give a second audition with a more intense scene. After the second audition, they took some time to confirm, but they eventually verbally agreed to give me the part. No contract was signed at the time, so I was in a dilemma about whether or not I would actually get the part. Fortunately, after some time, I was offered the role. It took almost six months for the entire process to be finalized.

People keep talking of nepotism, but you’re a big example of how outsiders also are able to make it. Are there instances before when you were rejected for a role and some celebrity’s daughter was given that role?

Yes, of course. Auditioning is a process of both rejection and selection. I believe that facing rejection is an essential part of being an actor or working in this industry. It’s a part of life. Many times, people reject you to your face, which can be demoralizing. However, it’s important to understand that it’s not about you; it’s just that you’re not right for the role. After all, hundreds of people audition for each role, so the probability of rejection is high. Certainly, they can’t select you for every role, because sometimes the character demands something different. It all depends on your craft and talent. I take it as part of the job.

How do you look at the whole nepotism debate?

I don’t give much importance to the word “Nepotism” because I’m focused on developing my craft. I believe that the more you train, the better you become. I also think that there are a few factors that matter when someone is being launched or given a debut, such as their social media presence, how much the audience is interested in seeing them, and finally, how well-trained they are. Of course, it’s a little easier for people from the industry, but ultimately, talent is what will help you survive in the long run.

You debuted opposite a Starkid in this film. Did you ever feel starry airs while working opposite him?

Honestly, I didn’t feel that way while shooting. I never felt like he was a star kid while working with him. But since I started doing media interactions, I’ve been constantly asked the same question, and now I’m starting to wonder if it’s that way. Before, it never even crossed my mind.

The film talks of unconditional love and friendship. Besides your family, is there anyone special in your life for whom you have unconditional love?

I love my family and there’s nobody apart from them. I’m in unconditional love with my work, apart from my family and friends.

The film has got good reviews but it was promoted really low. Do you think the promotions could have been more which would have resulted in more people knowing about the film?

I think more than promotion, it’s all about getting more screenings. People still know about the film and the songs are trending, but what we couldn’t get was enough theatres. That’s what I learned from the producers as well; due to so many other releases, we couldn’t get many screenings.

You’ve done short films and music videos before, which became very popular. Being an outsider in Mumbai how difficult was it to get those music videos and short films?

While it wasn’t that difficult for me to break into the industry, as I was confident in my talent, things luckily worked out for me over time. However, in the beginning, it was definitely challenging to reach the right people and get the right kind of roles.

Many people also talk about how young girls are taken advantage of in Mumbai when they come from smaller cities and towns. Have you ever faced a bad situation like this in your struggling days in Mumbai?

Frankly, I believe that Mumbai and this industry are far more open-minded and a better place than the outside world. From a very young age, I’ve been stepping out of my home for work and have met all sorts of people, but I feel that Mumbai is safer than any other place in my experience.

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Has there ever been any untoward incident when you were asked to do something morally wrong in order to get a role in a film? - Do you think the casting couch exists in today’s time or is it all a thing of the past?

This industry is a melting pot of people, and I understand that some people may have had negative experiences. However, I have always felt safe in my work environment and have been fortunate to work with people who have made me feel comfortable. I have never experienced a casting couch, and everything I have achieved has been based on my talent.

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If you could chart out one takeaway from your debut film, which you’ll always remember for life, what would that be?

First, unconditional love is the most important thing. Another lesson I’ve learned is that actions speak louder than words. We should not let our emotions cloud our judgment but rather think rationally.

What next can we see coming from your end?

I’m in talks for a few things and reading a few scripts. I’ll talk when things materialise soon.

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