Before "Bala" and "Ujda Chaman" both centered on men with receding hairline hit the screens, Shweta Tripathi played a bald girl in "Gone Kesh", a film, she says, would have performed better if it had a strong backing like the two recent releases. Written and directed by debutante Qasim Khallow, the film follows the story of a teenage girl, an aspiring dancer, who is diagnosed with alopecia, a condition where she starts losing hair rapidly.
"Bala"stars Ayushmann Khurrana and Sunny Singh plays the lead in "Ujda Chaman and while both the films have made a lot of headlines, Shweta's "Gone Kesh" went without a trace at the box office. "I did feel bad when 'Gone Kesh' had released because it was a small film, we didn't have that much P&A, but you still hope people will at least come to watch it. Whether you like it or don't, I am totally ok with that. I was heartbroken as I expected more from the audience," Shweta told PTI.
"I was hoping against hope, that just because we didn't have the money to put up our posters everywhere, people would share the trailer. The audience has a huge responsibility. If there's no money, how am I supposed to reach out to you?" she questioned.
The actor said she isn't negative with how things panned out as she also has to look at the situation with a realistic approach. "I felt bad that time during the release not anymore because I know how it works. You can't be delusional that I did that film and nobody spoke about it. Look at the producers of these two films. That traction will be there.
"If 'Gone Kesh' had either of these producers, things would be very different, there would've been noise as well. You can't do a lot in limited budget," she added.
Though Shweta appeared in Disney's popular sitcom "Kya Mast Hai Life", she is known for her breakout performance in Neeraj Ghaywan's "Masaan".
Over the years, Shweta has realised the kind of work she wants to be associated with. "I am now more aware of the kind of cinema and stories I want to do. It's a natural progression and the kind of people I have met who have helped me realise the kind of stories I want to tell. The people I am working with are equally, if not more, passionate about the work.
"That feels so good. We are here for entertainment but with that, there's a responsibility, because you can change the mindset of people with the stories you tell."
The 34-year-old actor has found a solid footing in the digital medium with shows like "Mirzapur" and "Laakhon Mein Ek" while her film choices continue to be braver: from playing a teenager involved with her teacher in "Haraamkhor" to her next, "Cargo", a sci-fi film set in a spaceship. Shweta is aware that the kind of work she gravitates towards is in minority in the industry, so the struggle then, is to wait for good parts.
"It definitely bothers me because I love acting. Everyone needs fame and money but you realise your priority. It's frustrating when you don't get your desired work or you want to achieve more. But it's alright. The respect I have for Konkona, Tabu or Rasika Duggal, when you hear their name you know they would've at least given their 100 percent. I want to sleep happily with the work I am doing and I had that experience with 'Laakhon Mein Ek," she added.
Shweta said those advising her to take up more commercial projects aren't necessarily wrong as big movies help an actor get maximum visibility.
"I'd like to do one, so that if I do an independent film, my directors and producer can get that much money on my name... But that can't be my defining thing to do a project. You have to be careful about what you're doing. You can't break people's trust. I'd rather be patient and do quality work," she added.