Actor Srishti Shrivastava, the sassy Guddo of “Gulabo Sitabo”, cannot remember a time when she did not want to become a “heroine”, a dream equally shared by her Bollywood-loving family. Like many aspiring actors trying to make a place for themselves in the cut-throat world of Hindi cinema, there were moments of sadness that turned into happiness when roles started coming her way, she said.
Srishti earned recognition first with the TVF show “Girliyapa” and then followed it up with an impressive but small turn in “Gully Boy” as Albina Dadarkar, whose fight with Alia Bhatt’s character makes up for one of the funniest scenes in the movie. “My parents were always very supportive and like any family in India, highly influenced by Bollywood. When they saw me dancing as a child, they knew where I was headed. Mujhe heroine banana tha (I wanted to be a heroine) and that’s what my parents also wanted,” Srishti told PTI in an interview.
The actor, who remembers hearing stories about her grandfather who worked on period drama series “The Sword of Tipu Sultan”, said the only thing her family was concerned about was her education. So, she completed her graduation and then went on to pursue a one-year course from Drama School Mumbai in 2015. She kept honing her craft through theatre before she started going for auditions.
Srishti said she would carry a number of dresses, Indian wear and other such things and leave home for her theatre rehearsals at 8 in the morning. In the afternoon, she would reach Aaram Nagar Part-2, which is the hub for aspiring actors in Mumbai. “I would do five auditions every day and it kind of gets to you. I was a good student and performer but things were different when I stepped into this world. Suddenly I saw people not accepting me. It took its toll initially but theatre helped me stay confident,” she said.
“Sometimes people would say, ‘How come you are here? You don’t look like a model’ so lots of tears and sadness but also moments of happiness with ‘Girliyapa’ and ‘Gully Boy’. There are people who cast newcomers. And now that I have started working, I understand that there are several reasons for you not getting the role. But there is always something around the corner,” she added.
In “Gulabo Sitabo”, Srishti plays Ayushmann Khurrana’s feisty younger sister Guddo who can be abrasive and manipulate men around her if required.
The actor said when she first auditioned for the role, she knew that it was a “mad part”. She remembers keeping her “fingers crossed” during her ride back home from the audition.
“I have been an actor for a while and I audition a lot. I loved Shoojit Sircar’s ‘Piku’ so when I got a call for the audition, I was thrilled. I was asked to audition for the scene that has Vijay Raaz and me and one more scene. Even from those two scenes I knew that it was a mad part. I got a call within two weeks,” she said.
Getting the accent for the Lucknow-set movie was not an issue for the actor as she was born in the city. Her parents, who originally belong to Ballia in Uttar Pradesh, shifted to Mumbai when she was a month old. But like any UP household, she kept in touch with her roots through the language that was spoken at home. The role has brought her a lot of praise from within the industry but the actor said, her journey has just begun.
“I have finally been acknowledged from people whose acknowledgement I needed. Our film released so many people got to watch it from the film industry and they appreciated my role. But my journey has just started.” The actor said she keeps thanking director Shoojit Sircar and writer Juhi Chaturvedi, and being on the set among experienced actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana was eye opening.
“It is something to achieve that kind of love and passion for your work and still maintain that enthusiasm. I was so blown away by Bachchan sir. I was so motivated. I promised myself that I will work harder after this film,” she said.