An Actor Speaks: In Conversation with Shriyam Bhagnani

Belonging to an active film family, which includes uncle Vashu Bhagnani (producer), cousins Jacky Bhagnani (actor-producer) & Deepshikha Deshmukh (producer), it was no surprise that Shriyam Bhagani also decided to make a mark for herself in the world of cinema. But she chose to chart her own path as an actor, beginning by getting herself trained by veteran acting coach, Barry John. After doing small but interesting character roles in films like Baaghi 2 & Batti Gul Meter Chalu, she’s now all set to be seen in some interesting projects. Here’s an excerpt from a conversation with Shriyam Bhagani-

From character roles to one of the lead characters now in Nagesh’s show? How has this journey been?

Honestly, it hasn’t sunk in yet. I am pretty surprised myself that I’m giving interviews now! I feel nothing but grateful to the universe and I know I still have miles to go before I sleep.

 

You’re collaborating with Nagesh Kukunoor! Apart from his guidance, what are your other sources of inspiration, especially for this web show?

His writing and his team! Most of the departments in his team are led by women and it’s one of the warmest sets I’ve ever been to. The character I’m playing took a lot of inspiration from these women hustlers on set.

 
Tell us about your experience working in both Baaghi 2 & Batti Gul Meter Chalu? 
Both the projects have been extremely special for me.
I remember Baaghi 2 as if it happened just yesterday! It was so much fun being on that set, the energy there was crazy! Imagine getting to see Tiger Shroff live in action! The best part is Ahmed Khan sir knew I had no experience but gave me the opportunity to make mistakes on his set and learn from them and I feel extremely lucky to have received the chance for the same.
Batti Gul Meter Chalu was special from the word go. I got casted for it literally while taking a walk in Aram Nagar at the time I was assisting in auditions. The casting director came up to me (unknown to me at that point) and asked if I wanted to work in a film. He immediately took my test and I was locked in! That was my Luck By Chance moment!
Working with these established directors and actors was an extremely humbling experience for me because all of them were so grounded, friendly and hard working at the same time. I’m glad I was exposed to that level of professionalism at such an early stage of my career.
What is your stand on the theatrical release versus digital release debate?
I am going to be completely biased about this answer because I love and absolutely miss going to the theatres! A theatre is an ambience created for one to have the best community viewing experiences taking care of all your senses. Digital releases are the need of the hour but I hope this clock runs fast!
 
What kind of physical transformation are you going through for your upcoming project? If you can give us some hints! 
Let’s just say the foodie in me has been really happy since I signed this project!
 
You’re from a filmy background but still chose to do things on your own? What’s your take on nepotism? 
My take on the debate is that it is over-simplified and diluted and ideally the debate shouldn’t exist. We should be pro-talent and not anti-nepotism. We must provide the same amount of attention and coverage to new and old talents who aren’t as recognised, as we give to nepotism debates – I think that’s when we’ll really win.
 
Tell us about your upcoming projects? Have you started shooting in the new normal scenario?

I am working in Nagesh Kukunoor sir’s next directorial web series and I’m constantly reading scripts and auditioning for projects I’m being approached for. We haven’t started shooting in the current scenario yet, but hopefully we should be going back on set soon!

Here’s wishing Shriyam all the very best for her forthcoming projects.

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