Monday, June 17, 2024

‘I do everything necessary to get as close to the character’s world as possible’

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Actress Ayushi Gupta, who rose to fame with Hostel Daze, takes The Pioneer through her inclination towards the arts, rejection while auditioning, and much more.

Amartya Smaran

Actress Ayushi Gupta, who gained astronomical fame for playing the lead role of Nabomita in TVF’s Hostel Daze, is at the zenith of her career following the release of the latest instalment of the series. She’s also popular for being a part of successful films, short films, and web series like The Lineup, Cubicles, Uncommon Sense with Saloni, and The Song We Sang. All the unique characters that she donned brought her closer to the Indian audience.

Like most Indian kids, the actress took the route of finishing her engineering degree before she could pursue acting full-time. However, her inclination toward the craft of acting began at a young age. Discussing her humble beginnings, the Hostel Daze star recalls, “It all started when I was five years old. I used to participate in elocution contests with my cousins when I was a kid. While all my cousins found different things to do in life, I stayed with it. I realised acting was something I truly enjoyed and even gave my exam to prestigious acting schools like Lamda. However, it was too big a dream to blurt out loud. At that time, I never thought I would be able to make a career out of it. It so happened that while pursuing engineering, I started a screenplay club at college and simultaneously began part-time teaching kids at the same school where I studied. I didn’t attend college much, but I’ve always done well. Although I was good at academics, in the second year of engineering I realised that it just wasn’t for me. Then I told my parents about my acting aspirations. It wasn’t easy to convince them, but eventually, they said I could finish my degree and give acting a shot. Later, they asked me to sit for placements, and that’s when I decided to finish my degree and pursue acting full-time.”

Discovering something beyond the extraordinary is what makes an artist unique. Attending acting workshops and facing the camera opened up a new dimension for the actress. She explains, “In my entire life, I had only done theatre. I took a film acting course even before I moved to Mumbai. I sort of fell in love with acting for the camera because I discovered you can’t lie to the camera. The idea of not performing and experiencing a range of emotions as an actor struck me, and the possibility of honing my craft opened up. In my process, the first thing I do is try to understand where in my life I can relate to the character. No matter what character you play, there’s always a certain aspect you will be able to relate to, and that’s what I look forward to when I read my scripts. Only when I relate to the character on some level will I be able to bring something unique to the table. Aside from that, I do everything necessary to get as close to the character’s world as possible.”

The new season of Hostel Daze is now streaming on Amazon Prime, and the fans of the franchise seem to be having a ball with the output. The relatability of the content helped the series penetrate a wider section of the audience. Speaking of her association with TVF and how elated she is about the constant love that’s being showered on her, the Lineup actress shares, “Hostel Daze happened to me quickly when I moved to Mumbai. It was all surreal for me because I sort of grew up watching their work, and at that point, OTT wasn’t big either. TVF was one of the first platforms to make full-length web series in India. Initially, Nabomit’s character was a smaller part of the series with some interesting character traits. They called me for the audition, and a few days later they said I was selected. The continuous association with TVF has been great, and I feel grateful for it. I am very overwhelmed when I receive so much love for the character. When people come and tell me how relatable the character is, it feels gratifying to be a part of their experience.”

Some of the best actors in the world have unanimously said that auditioning is a dreadful process. Walking into a room where you are already predisposed to rejection is daunting, isn’t it? Most of us are even scared to talk to a bunch of people. Imagine that you have put yourself into the shoes of a character and excelled at it to win the part. “There is definitely rejection when it comes to auditioning. When I first started, it was really difficult because I didn’t know how things worked. Now, it has become important in the way that I handle it. It is not Ayushi who is giving the audition. The anxiety increases the moment I put myself in a place where I think this is the part that is going to change my life. I think the process for me is to treat each part the same in the sense that I need to truly be there in the moment and disassociate myself at the same time to enjoy the process of being the character,” muses the Cubicles star.

Did you know that Ayshi started her career as a casting associate? However, there is a misconception that she started her journey in the casting industry with the famous Netflix series titled Sacred Games. Clearing the air about the false claims and talking about what she had learned from her casting days, the charming leading lady reiterates, “Sacred Games wasn’t my first project as a casting associate. When I first moved to Mumbai, I didn’t have any idea what I was doing. I didn’t know anyone from the industry, and I am someone who keeps busy all day. Suddenly, I didn’t have anything to do except go around and hope for an audition. At some point, the anxiety of not doing anything kicked in, and I figured I wanted to learn about the industry and meet more people. Then I stumbled upon this opening for casting, applied for it, and got into it. From what I experienced, every project was different. What you do for a commercial film differs from other kinds of films. It is important not to get intimidated by the process. For me, it took away the fear of being uncomfortable with myself and enabled me to genuinely enjoy the process.”

When we enthusiastically asked her to let us in on her upcoming projects, the young star concludes, “I am currently working on two shows as of now. We kicked off the new season of Hostel Daze. I’ve also written something really interesting that is still in its nascent stages. I am super excited about it, and we’re developing it.”

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