Hey, Folks! In this episode of #blabwithsandy, I have actress Priyasha Bhardwaj with me. Having dabbled in various dance forms, Priyasha churned her way out in the field of acting and has played notable roles in films/series like Aarya, Mirzapur 2, Made in Heaven, etc. Let’s wait no further and dive into the exciting blab I had with Priyasha:
Sandy: Hello, Priyasha! Could you let us know about your background?
Priyasha: Hi, Sandy. I was born in Guwahati. My mom is an Assamese while my dad belongs to Rajasthan. He settled in Assam and I very much have this Assamese-ness in my blood. During my teens, we shifted to Delhi and that’s where I completed my schooling and college. I was into dancing and used to enjoy every bit of my extra-curricular activities.
I graduated in Psychology and I was an average student, who dabbled in all courses but nothing really worked out. I got into a job after college and was with Fairmont Hotels, a Canadian Hotel Group. I worked for over 4 years and it seemed like that was going to be my life ahead. I also got a job in Dubai as a Corporate Sales Manager but I did not take that offer. I felt something was not fitting in and something was amiss in my career. On the side lines, I used to take up wedding choreography in Delhi in order to carry my passion towards dancing. I got to meet many people and used to take up weekend dance classes.
In 2015, I quit my job and got into freelance dancing, did some voiceovers for children audio books, worked as an assistant casting director, joined a production hub which made corporate films, etc. I did many things to survive and to ignite my passion towards art. As I was also an associate in the casting department, I got to learn how films and adverts worked!
Sandy: Interesting! How and when did acting beckon you?
Priyasha: Whilst my work in the casting team, I got to learn about the client requiring a dancer. As I was a dancer myself, I went for the audition and got selected for the part. From then onwards, I got many advertisements like Britannia with Deepika Padukone which grabbed many eyeballs. Post the adverts, I received calls for films& web series and that’s how I entered the cast of Made in Heaven wherein I played a small role of a nurse.
I came to Mumbai with a friend in 2018 with no family base. I tried giving auditions and got a lot of gigs through which I got money. I did have my share of struggles too as I attended many auditions. I stood in queues for hours together, and was part of endless auditions.
Sandy: Your recent claim to fame was your role as Soundarya in ‘Aarya’. How did you grab the role?
Priyasha: Getting ‘Aarya’ was a big break for me. It released during the lockdown and did very well. I had the number of casting director Abhimanyu Ray and I’d called him up to state that I have shifted to Mumbai and call me up for any suitable roles. He did call me for auditions and I got some good TV Commercial projects through them. Later which, he started calling me for web series and films.
That’s how I got the call for ‘Aarya’ audition and I wanted to prepare really well for the role of Soundarya. I went to the mall, bought jewellery to nail the audition. My first take was fine while the second take went good. I was not sure what was going to happen but eventually I got picked for the part of Soundarya.
Sandy: How was the experience of working with Sushmita Sen?
Priyasha: I went for the costume trials and that’s when I was told that I would be playing Sushmita Sen’s sister. I freaked out and immediately called my best friend Shubhangi to convey that I was playing the role of Sushmita Sen’s sister. It was like a dream as I grew up dancing to her songs and following her interviews. We first met during rehearsals where we really bonded and shared our personal stories. I was nervous but she is so sweet &made me feel so warm. During rehearsals of our slightly intense scenes, she pointed out that I have a strong gaze and look right in the eye just like she would.
After two days of workshops, we went straight to the shoot in Mumbai and we even travelled to Jaipur and stayed together. It is always good to have a nice rapport with the co-stars and we had the best bonding like sisters.
Sandy: Mirzapur 2 became a cult hit just like it’s first instalment and you were a part of it. Your filmography seems to be going the right way. How happy are you with your journey?
Priyasha: Ha-ha! Yes, it did really well. I shot for Mirzapur 2 much before Aarya and I must admit, it has been a beautiful progression for me. I had a small role in it but the experience can be termed as a big one! It had a good team and grounded crew and that openness is crucial for any artist to do well. My character was very different from who I am and that’s the best part about it.
Response has been immense and I have been recognized for my part in Mirzapur 2. My social media family is growing and it feels great when people call me by my character name. Nowadays, I re think before posting or sharing anything on my social media as it need to be put responsibly, now that I have a following.
Sandy: You also had a release in ‘Love J Action’. What’s it all about and how have the reactions been?
Priyasha: This series is shot in Lucknow and Mumbai. It’s a very quirky role of a lesbian that I play who falls in love with the protagonist who is already being chased by more men including the lead Jackson. Eventually, I end up winning her love, ha-ha! It is a very well written character and I loved the arc that it carried. The series did well and I believe it added a new dimension to my filmography. I would also like to mention my film ‘Kaafir’ with Dia Mirza, directed by Sonam Nair, also a great learning experience.
Sandy: Apart from acting, what are the other artistic things that you are into?
Priyasha: I dance.I enjoy the feeling that it gives me. I learnt Bharatnatyam when I was young and I also learnt Western, Jazz, Hip Hip, and now I am learning Kathak. I always want to learn new things and that’s how I have improved upon my singing. I do my daily riyaz to get better at it. I also love clowning and want to learn more of it. I am an amateur editor and enjoy this form of storytelling too. I like clicking pictures, especially candid photography.
Quick Shot Round:
- You Fear: Losing a loved one
- Good and bad about the film industry: It is open to talent and the bad is that it’s judgmental
- What do you do when you are Idle? Look out of the window and admire
- Dream role: To play the lead in a grand biopic
- Favorite genre: Tragedy
- Your best role till date: Soundarya
- A film that you watched recently and wished you were a part of it: Family Man 2.
- If not actress, you’d been a? Sales Manager
- If were to be stuck in a Lift alongside two film personalities, who would you want them to be? Irrfan Khan and Shah Rukh Khan
- If you’d to barter your life for a day, with whom would it be and why? It would be with Alia Bhatt. I want to know what it like is to be one of the busiest Bollywood actors.
Sandy: What’s in the pipeline for you in the coming months?
Priyasha: I have a couple of web series that are slated for release. They have been delayed due to the pandemic. I have Disney Hotstar’s ‘Shit Yaar’ wherein I play a cop which was total fun. That releases this Friday. I have another web show ‘Call My Agent’ with director Shaad Ali. It has an ensemble cast comprising Rajat Kapoor, Aahana Kumra, Soni Razdan in it with some extended cameos from other notable stars.
Sandy: Any piece of advice that you’d like to give to the newcomers who are vying to enter the film industry?
Priyasha: I would say have a plan B just in case. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. One needs to be spontaneous to maneuver across any situation that comes their way. The industry is now more welcoming to new talent but one has to be patient and humble. And there is no substitute for hard work and persistence.
Priyasha’s immediate release is ‘Shit, Yaar!’ which releases this Friday, 18th of June on Disney+Hotstar.
Interview by Sandy (Sandeep Rao)
Follow Sandy @blabwithsandy
Follow Priyasha @priyasha811