It requires a lot of guts to quit a lucrative dentistry profession and pursue a career in an uncertain industry. Not just guts, she’s also endowed with oodles of talent which made her one of the most successful stars of sandalwood. That’s Aindrita Ray! Acting happened to the outspoken actress accidentally but she stuck on because she loved what she’s doing. She might have courted controversies because of her straight talk but the actress always spoke her mind. Excerpts from a chat with Sashidhar Adivi
You quit dentistry and joined films, how has life been since then?
“I got a great start to my career; my second release ‘Junglee’ was one of the biggest hits back then and I got very busy with work. There was no looking back after that since I was able to bag plum projects. The journey hasn’t been easy though but it’s been a great experience. Before entering the film industry I was pretty casual about everything but that’s not the case anymore. I’m more cautious now. Although film industry looks glamorous from outside, it’s a very stressful job. You are constantly on the run for projects, success, competition, etc. Since I would be constantly in the public eye, I became more watchful about how I looked, dressed, talked, where I went and how to carry myself. I also learnt to handle the situations better because we have to deal with scores of people from different walks of life on a day to day basis. Earlier I was very edgy but I learnt to be patient. I have developed the art of dealing with things like waiting on the sets, film releases, etc., since there are several people involved in filmmaking.”
What are the challenges you faced?
“There were a lot of challenges I had to face during the course. Things like choosing interesting roles, getting into the skin of the character, shooting in complex climate conditions, etc. Every filmmaker has his own style of working, so getting used to it was challenging. I’m like a director’s girl and totally trust him for the inputs on the role. Also, things like dealing with managers and remuneration was a wee bit tricky.
What were you going through during tough times?
“Since I got off to a flying start and tasted success at a very early stage, my name was on everybody’s lips. When you hog the limelight, naturally your detractors try to pull you down because of the politics and that’s highly unacceptable. When a lot of people gang up against you (for no fault of yours) just because you are doing well, it’s really disheartening. There was a lot written about me and I was in the news for wrong reasons. People who you don’t know try to stab you in the most brutal manner and these are things that were hard to accept. Initially, it used to bother me a lot. I felt bad and disappointed because I haven’t done anything wrong and why was it happening to me? I realised the more you zoom on it, the more it affects. So I took things in my stride and moved on without paying any heed.”
Who was your support system during low?
“My family has been my motivation and they have been very supportive. When I gave up dentistry to join films, my dad did not even question me about the change in my career plan. Instead, he always encouraged me to pursue things I’m passionate about. Even during the controversies, they believed in me and backed me.”
Do you think controversies affected you?
“My mother used to travel with me for all the shooting locations. So she knew the truth about the issues. Generally, a typical film unit comprises of 100 plus men and hardly any women. It is a male-dominated industry (Kannada). So if you have a problem with the director and producer, everyone supports them. So that’s when as a woman, I feel it is very difficult to hold my stand (in South). But I have always stood up for myself and voiced my opinion on any issue, and it turns into a controversy. I was vocal about the prevailing large disparity between the pay of the hero and heroine, and it has stirred the hornet’s nest (smiles). Most of the heroines get only 5%-10% of the lead actor’s pay, which is very little for the amount of work they put in. I only advocate bridging the gap in this disparity. The pathetic part is that none of my contemporaries (female leads) stood up, (they should have) because it’ll benefit all of them. I have had a couple of controversies in the past for speaking my heart out (smiles) but whenever it happened, it’s not affected my work. But yeah, I was upset when a few people turned up against me.
How is Aindrita in real life?
“I am a girl who loves adventures sports and love travelling. I’m romantic too and have high expectations on my man. He has to be a pet lover because that actually shows his sensitivity. He needs to be genuine. But what turns me off is guys who show off and hypocrisy.”
Having said that, how do you see today’s relationships?
“I think today’s relationships have completely gone for a toss. Everyone’s dating too many people and it has lost the essence and value of a true relationship. You get to know about emotion, love, missing each other, heart-break, etc., if you are in a relationship with only one person for a long time. But today’s generation is screwing up and I don’t think love would exist in the near future. Everything has become instant but relationship and love can’t come instantly. It takes a lot of time to build. I’ve seen many of my friends who move on to another partner without being patient.”