Thursday, May 23, 2024

Urooj Khan recalls ‘being bullied’ during her initial professional days

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Former flight attendant and Mrs. Asia Pacific Intercontinental Urooj Khan had recently made her debut with the Randeep Hooda-starrer Inspector Avinash. In an exclusive chat with The Pioneer, she discusses working with Randeep Hooda, transitioning from a different industry, and more.

Tejal Sinha
Our Indian entertainment industry has always welcomed new talents with open arms. Today, we’ve got to see many newcomers in the industry who’ve been climbing the ladder of their way to success. Adding to this, with the advent of OTT, many talents have gotten the platform to immensely showcase their talent.

With the recently released web series Inspector Avinash, starring Randeep Hooda, we’ve got a new debutant, Urooj Khan, who is seen playing the character of Inspector Mamta Awasti. Before that, she joined the glamour world. This Hasanpur native has worked as an air hostess for over 8 years. Not just this, she has also won the title of Mrs. Asia Pacific Intercontinental. With her never-give-up attitude and a number of audition rounds, Urooj jumped at the opportunity to make her debut alongside Randeep Hooda and Urvashi Rautela. While the series has received astonishing responses and reviews from the audience and critics, on a surprising note, the debutant shares, “Now that I am staying in Qatar, and since there’s no signal in the Jio app here, I still haven’t watched the series completely. All I have been doing is downloading it from some apps in bits and watching it.”
Actor Randeep Hooda is touted as one of the most dedicated actors in the industry. And working with him on their debut project couldn’t be more than a dream come true. Urooj shares that she’s had an amazing experience working with him and is very comfortable too. While she says, “He is a very disciplined person on the professional front, but he used to also crack jokes with this straight face. You’d get confused about whether he was cracking a joke or being serious. But it was really fun. He didn’t really make me feel like I was a newcomer. All the success that he’s had, he’s never let the fame get to his head. After that, I watched him on screen. I felt he was very strict, but he was quite the opposite. He was very gentle.”

No surprise, with the type of projects that we’re getting to see, the audience really feels connected to them. Urooj believes it too, as she says, “As an actor or artist, we do what the character needs and requires. We do as per the instructions of the director, since he has his own vision. Once we, as actors, do justice to the character, we will be able to connect with the audience as much as possible. Now one great thing about the films and webs storylines and directions is that you know what the audience will connect with.”

The web series is shot in Uttar Pradesh (UP), and our newbie too was born in Hasanpur, UP. However, she’s not got many memories there since she was brought up in Mumbai. But she says, “I keep travelling to Hasanpur as my father’s family is from there. I love the culture there. Every time that I go there, I feel like getting connected to ‘my mitti and dharti’. The people there are very respectful, though there’s a little bit of harshness in their language. Gaaliyan bhi dena hai toh tehzeeb se dena hai (she laughs out loud). People there will always welcome you with open arms.”

Many feel that the job of a cabin crew is all glamorous in a certain way. In fact, many have tried their hands in everything from the cabin crew industry to the acting world. Well, she has observed it too. But she says, “People have this misconception that the flight attendant job is a glamorous one. Yes, it is, but it has its own challenges. You meet different people with different faces every day and have to face different challenges. When you deal with these situations, you start getting more confident. I remember when I started flying, I was not that confident. Trust me, I used to get so much bullying from the people within my crew community, just like when you go to college. But these challenges make you grow stronger.”

She in fact recalled her cabin crew days and revealed that when she joined the cabin crew group, she was bullied by her seniors. “Since I was young, I didn’t know how to answer back. But it’s not always important to answer back. You’ll have to make your actions speak. This will help you explore yourself.”

Not just this, but her participation in the Asia-Pacific pageant had helped her gain more confidence. But when she entered the sets of Inspector Avinash on the first day, she did feel nervous, but she says, “The team and the actors never made me feel like an outsider. I should actually appreciate director Neeraj for this because not only was I there, but there were many newcomers, and he gave us all a chance to showcase our talents. Generally, it’s not easy, especially for an outsider, to get into the industry.”

Having been a Muslim by ethnicity, there’s a lot of concern that surrounds Islam, especially when it comes to films. So, now that she’s become an actor, does that affect her on the professional front? She gracefully says, “Coming from any specific community, especially talking about my professional career, I strongly believe religion for me is humanity. My parents, in particular, have never taught me to respect or disrespect any particular community. We have been raised with so much love and respect that I believe we should respect everyone. This is very important.”

On a concluding note, Urooj also highlights that rather than judging anyone else and cribbing about what one doesn’t have, one should just spread love and humanity.

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