The latest star kid to enter the world of cinema is the daughter of actress Bhagyashree, Avantika Dassani. The young actress made her debut this Friday with the Zee5 web show, ‘Mithya’, which has received rave reviews all over. Usually, star kids are known to start off with a big Bollywood project, but Dassani decided to start her journey with the new-age medium of OTT.
In a heartfelt chat, Dassani speaks up about how the response to the show has been, why she decided to start off with a web series, how tough it was to go loggerheads with a seasoned actress like Huma Qureshi and clarifies the rumours about her making a film debut with a Salman Khan project. Excerpts from the conversation:
How has been the response to ‘Mithya’?
I have been getting really good responses. I am really excited and overwhelmed. The response has actually stunned me. I still have messages on my phone that I haven’t even responded to yet. I am very happy to see people responding so positively and that they are so excited about watching the show.
What prompted you to take up the project?
The character of Rhea Rajguru is such an interesting one. She is an explosive girl and every time I walk onto the screen, you know that something is about to go down. Being a part of a project which is being led by females and working with an ensemble cast like Parambrata and Rajit sir and a project that is directed by Rohan Sippy himself excited me a lot. It was really exciting for me to work in a psychological thriller as my debut project. I think it was a careful decision. The kind of industry and the kind of world in which we are living right now; to be able to make my mark and to be able to do something different and challenging as an actor was my only goal. It was quite a hard project to take up for my first time but I am excited and I think as an actor that is what we look out for.
Was your debut on OTT a conscious decision?
I think it was not about doing something that was very different and unique from what others do but the idea was to cope with the change in the landscape of the industry. OTT is ruling the hearts of the audience right now and it is where everyone is going to look for interesting content and things that people find more intriguing. It is not something usual, and quite different from the content that we usually see and that was the reason why I chose to do ‘Mithya’ as my debut project. There is so much happening in the OTT platforms and I wanted to be a part of it and wanted to make my mark on this space. I am definitely taking a risk by doing what I am doing but I think that is the exciting part and that is what keeps the conversation going.
Were you nervous doing the scenes in which you had to go loggerheads with a seasoned actress like Huma Qureshi?
We had a couple of reads before we started shooting. There was a great level of comfort between me and her that had been formed from the very first day. So, by the time we had to do those intense scenes, it went really well. My most strenuous scenes were completed in the first three days of the shoot. I was relieved of the pressure. She (Huma Qureshi) has been my constant support system on the sets and I didn’t feel the pressure because she was always there to help me out and that made me feel very comfortable. My role needed me to work every day and every time I come on sets you know that something explosive is about to happen. The scenes that were the most difficult for me as an actor was thankfully completed in the first few days.
Was acting always your first choice or did you have some other ambition in life?
I feel that I am a very passionate person and I always do things in which I am very interested. So, I would say that I was always drawn towards acting. Also because I have grown up in a film environment. I have always been interested in acting and every time I watched a movie as a child I would fall in love with the character and ended up imitating the character for the rest of the month. There is a part of me that has always enjoyed the process of being able to jump into other people’s shoes. As I grew older, education took the forefront and I have done several internships since I was in class 10. I worked as an intern for several companies so that I could figure out want I wanted to do in life. However, I have always sort of pursued the idea of doing something creative work-wise and nothing made me feel more passionate and fulfilled than acting. When I started doing my acting workshops, I immediately fell in love and I knew that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I knew that taking up acting as a career would not be very easy and it would require a lot of hard work but the fact that it was so fulfilling reasoned everything for me.
Is there any actor with whom you want to work in future?
There are so many actors actually with whom I want to work. However, Tabu ma’am is someone whom I really admire. I think she is fantastic. The kind of work that she is doing today inspires me even more. Her performance in ‘Andhadhun’ and ‘The Suitable Boy’ just blew me away. She is someone with whom I would love to work with. I would love to be just a fly on the wall watching her doing the scenes. I have only heard the nicest things about her. I have heard that as an actor she is a delight to be around on sets even though she takes up such serious roles.
What is your equation with Salman Khan, given the fact that he has a very good equation with your mother as he was her first co-star?
Salman sir is someone whom I look up to. When you talk about someone like him, they have this incredible instinct about things that can’t be taught. The kind of careers that they have made is incredible. It is like they have made a separate language in which they communicate with the audiences and that is something that I really admire. It is like they exactly know what the audience wants to tell them. They understand the audience better than anyone does.
Is it true that Salman Khan is going to launch you in a film?
As you can see my first debut is with ‘Mithya’ and Salman sir is not at all related to it.
What next after ‘Mithya’ can we see you in?
I am currently shooting for a Telugu film and I am really excited about it.
Isn’t it difficult to learn a new language completely?
I love to challenge myself in every sphere of life. It is quite challenging for me to pick up the new language but we have translators on sets and there are devices to make it work.