1.What do you do for a living?
Acting and modeling
2.How would you describe what you do?
I try my best to mold myself into the ‘character’ to do justice the best I can to my director’s or photographer’s vision.
3.What does your work entail?
Above all the artistic and technical skills, one needs a glut of certain mindset or character-traits – good judgment, patience and self-confidence. Another very important thing required is obviously ‘luck’ which typically favors only the ‘bests’ in terms of probability or likelihood.
4.What’s a typical work week like?
Working as a freelancer doesn’t bestow upon me the luxury to have a defined work-week or month. On a typical workday, I take time to plan for the job at hand starting from familiarizing myself with the location and the surrounding areas, the driving route and traffic conditions (in LA, you would need it the most, believe me), to schedule, etc. I prefer to study the key-people I will be working with beforehand, if possible. I like to be a little more controlling when it comes to my hair & makeup, and diet, so I typically plan more around those aspects. On the set, it’s not just about work but also about building good relations and creating future opportunities for myself. So, I take time and enjoy socializing with people as well. At the end of the day, I typically retrospect to realize my strength and opportunities for improvement. In some cases, I also send a ‘Thank You’ or follow up note to my co-workers.
5.How did you get started?
Being from Jalpaiguri, a small-town in India, I had to move to Kolkata to further my studies. Although I was good enough to complete my doctorate in literature, acting and modeling have always been my “box of chocolates”, which I eagerly opened not until I went to college. Ever since I performed in several prestigious theatre-productions, played in several music-videos, TV-series, adds, and films. I was pretty much a self-starter and self-driven. Although, I initially got resistance from my family and had to be ‘insensitive’ to their wishes, a strong support from my mentors and friends balanced that out.
6.What do you like about what you do?
For me the best reward is to have the opportunity to experience different lives on screen through the different characters that I play and getting more insight and understanding of life in general. This is a kind of wisdom which only comes with real-life experience and time.
7.What do you dislike?
Once a while having to get up as early as 5:30 AM in the morning against my will.
8.How do you make money or how are you compensated?
Nothing special in my case. I earn through the same process as anyone working on this field would do.
9.What skills are needed to do this?
I partly answered this question previously. I always had a natural knack and sense towards my field of work, but never took it as granted and always tried to build upon it through learning and doing. To get the best results, one needs to understand both sides very well – the world in front of camera and the one behind it and that’s what I have been striving towards.
10.What is most challenging about what you do?
Challenges are plenty and can be equally daunting depending on their natures and impacts. Personally, I feel that telling the genuine from the fakes and the friends from the foes gets very difficult.
11. What is most rewarding?
Aside from money and fame, it’s the ecstasy and contentment of contributing to possibly the most popular and powerful form of art in this world.
12.What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
If you are passionate about your work, rewards will follow. Don’t keep on chasing the tails.
13.How much time off do you get?
It varies throughout the year. I manage to get a couple of hours a day for myself.
14. What else would you like people to know about your career?
It is as challenging as it’s rewarding as with most of the profession and only sky is the limit.
15. What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
Misconceptions and myths can’t be denied, but they vary depending on the geographic location, demographics, etc. From my experience, I feel that the biggest misconceptions arise when people try to judge this profession by its facade without doing any research. People tend to draw conclusions as it’s easier than studying and knowing about a particular subject. All I can say is that this is just like any other profession with some of its own unique perks and setbacks.
My take on #MeToo”
Sexual and racial abuses and discrimination against women are as old as the history of modern society. Unfortunately, in a complex society it’s often difficult to even recognize and/or define such abuses as they are not often very explicit and that makes this problem very difficult to deal with.
As a woman myself, I can imagine my predecessors dealing with lot more challenges in protesting against such abuses as the sociality was still by and large patriarchal. With the growth of Internet, a more egalitarian world was born and then came this revolutionary hashtag which completely flipped the way we are protesting today. It’s ‘top-down’ approach in the sense that it’s seldom intends to launch a direct retaliatory action against the perpetrators, rather raise a general awareness among common people on a daily basis, thus compelling law-makers and law-enforcement department to take actions. Unlike the old way of doing things ‘ground-up’ where the protests were more localized and direct, this is I believe a much better and easier way of bringing out a change.
Text: Saif Rahman Sozib