From being an aspiring national athlete to wanting to be a bank manager to being a noncommittal actress to becoming someone who would go mad if she didn’t act, Shanvi Srivastava has come a long way. Being a character she is not in real life amuses her. “I was never keen on acting when I entered films. I was not that good in my
first film. But of late, I have realised that whatever I do, I have to live that character, which is not me. That’s the best thing about this profession,” the soft-spoken, cute-by-default damsel expresses in cool chat with Sashidhar Adivi.
Providentially, she has chosen films that have worked for her so far. But she is not someone who would capitalize on a hit or two. “I don ’t believe in quantity; I look for better quality films. I should feel good about my choices. Bagging plum projects is also a priority.”
Ask her what makes her look for quality after being only a few films old, Shanvi quickly gets academic. “Heard of the theory of diminishing marginal utility? Work satisfaction is more important than doing things mechanically. I wouldn’t care even if cinema is a temporary scheme and my career span is going to be short,” she says, honestly adding that earning money is also important for her.
The Uttar Pradesh-born would most likely have been a national-level athlete but for a quirk of fate. “I was an athlete while in college (plus two ). When I represented Uttar Pradesh in a 100m hurdles, I expected to win a medal but couldn’t. During the match, I fell down and hurt myself badly because of a fellow participant. When I got up and looked around, I found everyone laughing at me. It was so agonizing. I was very sensitive in those days. I would get depressed just like that. But today when people appreciate my acting, it boosts my confidence,” says Shanvi, sounding like a girl who proud to have emerged stronger.
Now that she has transformed from being a girl-next-door to a diva on screen, we ask her what she was like as a teenager. “I was quite unfashionable. I would apply oil to my hair while going to college,” she laughs while letting us know that she was not completely nerdy either.
But then how did this calm, hardly trendy girl turn out to be an actress of a heroine’s caliber making a fashion statement of her own on screen? “When I realized that I am in the league, I am in the competition; I felt the need to experiment with everything. RGV discovered that in me for the film ‘Rowdy’. I can be completely Indian, and in a song, I can be completely hot. Not many girls get to go through such transformation for a song,” a seemingly glad Shansi recalls.
So how does she want to project herself? She may sound confident today but Shanvi has spent sleepless nights a couple of years back (2014 to mid-2015). “I did not have a single offer at that point of time. I was depressed and would worry about where I was heading. I am more of a positive person now. I believe that whatever happens is for the good. I kept working on my skills and appearance. I have matured as an actor. I am also v ery into fitness these days.”
So, what has she done to look better? “I was skinny earlier and only my face was plump. But I started eating healthy, workout, which helps pump up my muscles. It’s a good feeling. You don’t feel lethargic even while not shooting.”
How’s her equation with her sister Vidisha, who is also an actress? “She has been a pillar of support. When acting came my way, I was unsure. She encouraged me.”
Hardly a party animal, Shanvi likes to dance silently and leaves pubs without indulging in gossip. “I normally like to spend time with my friends indoors, at home. I am more of a person who believes in love but defining love is too philosophical for me,” she giggles.
The ‘Adda’ star likes to play typical rustic characters. “I am more of an Indian than a western girl. I establish a quick connect with the audiences in such characters,” she ponders. We agree.