You were recently praised by the legendary Al Pacino for your play ‘Seminar’. How did it feel?
I don’t think the feeling has entirely sunk in. I still wake up every morning and pinch myself when I think about it.
Tell us something about the play and your role?
The play is about four writers, who take a seminar with a renowned writer/ professor and the events that take place during the classes. My character’s name is Douglas. Theresa Rebeck (the playwright) originally wrote the character as a male, but our director (Kymberly Harris) thought I could pull oﬀ the character.
When we did our first table read, I instantly fell in love with Douglas. She is confident, smart, and witty. I had so much fun playing her, especially because we’re nothing like each other and it’s always fun to pull out parts of you and showcase another person.
How did your father react to the play when you told him about it?
My dad was able to watch the play online as it had been streamed online for family and friends. He was so happy with my work and that itself was a huge achievement for me. But when Mr Pacino came to watch us on the closing night of the show, I didn’t sleep at all that night! I had to call each and every family member back in Mumbai to tell them. My dad was so emotional and proud of me. He is not someone who praises something just for the heck of it, especially when it comes to his own kids. So, for my father to tell me that I’ve made him proud, truly felt like I had accomplished something.
You have showed oﬀ your acting prowess in a few short films in the past. How has your experience been in front of the camera?
I’ve only ever performed in front of the camera before, so ‘Seminar’ was the first time I performed on stage and the experience is vastly diﬀerent. I think you can get away with a lot in front of the camera that you can’t on stage. When you are performing for the camera and you mess up, you can always redo it or take care of it during editing. But you have to work your butt oﬀ when it comes to performing on stage. You truly become a perfectionist.
What kind of film do you want to make your big Bollywood debut with?
I would love to do a movie like ‘Raazi’ or ‘NH10’, or ‘Pink’. I love women-centric movies and it makes me immensely happy to see more of them in Bollywood now. But if I’m being totally honest, the filmy side of me would love to also do a proper masaaledar movie like ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’.
After your father, you have seen Mahaakshay trying to make a mark in the industry. Do you feel pressured?
I definitely acknowledge the privilege but also know the pressure that comes with it. Out of all the things I’ve learned from my brother, Mahaakshay, I’ve learnt to build a thick skin, and keep going no matter what. He has taught me how to be a fighter and he’s the best fighter I’ve seen out there.
What are your thoughts on the nepotism debate?
Like I mentioned before, I, without a doubt, acknowledge it. I feel very fortunate to have what I have and I think my parents have done a great job of never letting it go to our heads. However, I do believe that nepotism is an actual issue not just in the film industry, but every industry. I’m a firm believer that at the end of the day, real talent is what should and will be recognised.
How do you deal with trolls on social media?
Trolls on the internet used to really upset me initially, but they don’t bother me much anymore. Rather than reacting, or getting mad over what they say about me, I take a moment to empathise with them because that kind of hate says more about them than me.