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The Rise of a Powerhouse of Talent, Rupali Suri

Rupali Suri is an Actress, Model and Emcee par excellence.
Gladrags Mega Model Winner. She was a second runner up at Miss Tourism International Pageant. She is famous for her role ‘Bablie’ in ‘Hero Bhakti hi Shakti Hai’. She’s also a trained Kathak dancer. Her recent appearance is in a feature film titled ‘Dad- Hold my Hand’ starring Veteran Actress Ratna Pathak Shah. 

Q1: What prompted you to get into acting? At what point in your life you said “Okay, I am going to be an actor now”?

I started when I was 12-13 years old. It was like a coincidence where things just kept happening for me and without even me realizing I was in the industry. But when I was in college I had to make a decision whether I want to continue in this profession or whether I want to switch into doing something else. The obvious answer for me was maybe I should give a try to the profession that chose me. I started working after my 12th and I was constantly in the blacklist because the college was always sending notices regarding my low attendance. I had started doing shows, I had started going for auditions and I had started resuming this work seriously. And that is when I realized that there are some pros and cons to being in this industry. You can’t fully study, you can’t fully work and that was a struggle. But I think the industry chose me rather than me choosing the industry. In doing something that was meant for me, I gave it a hard try; I give it a very honest try. 

Q2: What according to you are the struggles of this industry?

People who have ventured into this industry post pandemic will face more difficulty because things are not moving the way they are supposed to be moving. But the moment you start accepting the rejections, it’s your first step to success. I feel that the entertainment industry is more difficult than any other industry because it has its age, it has its time, you have to renew yourself every time, progress yourself, develop yourself- it’s very challenging to survive in this industry. So people who are coming in here thinking like ‘I will be a huge star soon’ astonish me because I started working from such a small age that now it feels like I have seen everything though a lot of things yet remain to be seen. Acting needs serious hard work. Only if you have passion for this industry can you survive here. If somebody wants to join the entertainment industry, join with a burning passion. If you think you will become a star overnight, earn loads of money, become popular suddenly- that’s not how it works. Come here with a reality check. Be honest, passion driven and see how you fare with your luck.

Q3: There’s a lot of internal politics that goes on in every field. So have you ever faced any kind of any internal politics or anything that made you think ye aisa nahi hona chahiye tha? (this shouldn’t have happened) 

Internal politics is everywhere but as you progress in life you learn to deal with it, I did too. Now I just assume things beforehand that maybe it will turn out like this, maybe I should be careful, this has the chance of happening so no need to worry about it, oh! this project is not working so I should stop putting too much effort and so on… You have to fall a lot of times to rise once. Until you do not experience the politics of life, you cannot learn. Take it in a positive spirit, you have to learn and grow. 

Q4: Can you recall any personal incident where you have faced this kind of politics? 

I don’t want to name anybody but here have been lot of incidences which I now remember vaguely. It was a long time ago. A friend/colleague of mine and I were supposed to go to an audition together the next day because the agency had called us together. At that time, I didn’t have a car with me because I was in college and she had a car or her father had a car and I requested her to take me along. She agreed. The next day, I got ready and was waiting for her. I called her and asked “Aren’t you supposed to come and pick me up?” to which she replied, “Oh, you know I don’t think I can go.” I said okay, then I went on my own. When I reached the venue the agent reprimanded me for reaching late for the auditions. He also added “We had called both of you together, because we wanted to finalize one. That girl came before you. She came in the morning and now she has been finalized and she’s taking the project.” I was like, why did she lie to me? And after that, that friend never spoke to me again. It was a very big project that she got. The company thought her approach was more genuine because she reached first. They assumed I had a bad attitude, that I was not taking this seriously… but my story was different because I never had a car and I was depending on her. So these things happen. I mean, this is politics. So yes, I’ve gone through a lot of stuff like this in my life where I have lost projects. 

Q4: Recently you did a feature film with the veteran actress Ratna Pathak Shah for which you have received heaps of praise on the internet. How does that appreciation feel? And how the working experience?

I am very lucky to have worked with very good actors in my life and Ratna Pathak Shah is one of them. The movie is being aired in festivals, it is being spoken about and it feels great. But honestly, when you’re working on the set, it is mostly about the understanding- now she’s reacting like this so how should my reaction be? The moment you see her intense in the character, you already come into your character and you’re not leaving it until she does. A lot of frivolousness happens on the set, there’s a lot of hustle and bustle, there’s disturbance and stuff but the moment director yells action, she gets into her character and automatically, as an actor, I was ready with my character but she effortlessly pulls that character out of you and into the open; that is when I realized what an energy of another actor is. When you give that energy it comes back to you, the whole co-relationship is superb. The veteran actors have done so much work in their lives. It’s great to learn even this much from them. I’m still trying to learn from them.

Q6: Talking about appreciation there’s also something called “Limelight”. It is believed that if you are an actor you need to stay in the “limelight”. So according to you, how important is it to stay in the limelight in the right way? 

I keep on telling my team that I want to be in the limelight for the right reasons. I want to be known for my work and for my talent not for any frivolous activity; that depends on person to person though. Anything which is very easily achieved will also go away very easily. If suppose you have a controversy created just for the sake of being famous, it dies very quickly. But when you have some very substantial amount of “Limelight” which you created for yourself from your hard work and talent, it stays. I’m a very right example for this; after working with so many veteran actors, so many amazing directors I still am not in the limelight but wherever people know me they do so for my work and not for any useless controversy. I’m taken in a very serious category in work. But yes, it takes a long time and a lot of patience because audience wants to know some masala., How you want to perceive your career is something that you have to decide, I wouldn’t say they’re wrong. It’s just a matter of choices. 

Q7: Being a celebrity also means being subjected to trolling on the internet have you ever faced any kind of trolling and how have you reacted to it? 

I’ve been very organic in terms of my followings on social media. I don’t know whether they’re fans of me or I am fans of them because they are my audiences, that is why they probably follow me. And I have never had even one trolling in terms of saying anything bad. The maximum the bad stuff that may have come to me is, “Oh, what a bad makeup” or “Oh, what a shabby dress”, but otherwise, I have had very good comments coming my way. Also, because these are the fans who are following me are those who know me from my childhood shows that I used to do like Hero or Daddy Samjha Karo. They were kids then and I must be in my teens and now they have grown up and they have become my followers. I still remember when I was shooting for something, there was a cameraman who came up to me and said, “Ma’am I wanna have a picture with you.”  I said, “Oh, but do you know me?” Because I thought they don’t know me. He reminded me of all the shows that I had done. Then he proceeded to say, “Ma’am, you were my first crush. I want you to speak to my mom so that she knows that I met you.” I was like “What?” and he actually made me speak to his mom. So I have fans like this. My fans have given me no trolling as of now, but I don’t know what happens in future. But whoever actually goes through it, they have to be very strong to handle it. It is not easy to handle it. 

Q8: Other than acting, what are your interests? What do you like to do?

I don’t know anything else besides acting. Honestly, I haven’t done anything else. If I’m not acting, I’m only gearing up for acting- I’ll keep myself fit, I will probably go to the gym, I will work out, I’m a dancer, I finished my visharad in Kathak and I keep on practicing that. Overall, whatever I do is around acting. When you’re not working, you’re only gearing up to work, you’re just preparing yourself, keeping your body fit, keeping your skin clean etc. Because when a project comes by you need to be ready for that as much as possible. So other than acting, what I can do is I can talk. Make me talk anywhere I can talk. 

Q9: Can you tell me something about your upcoming projects? 

Yesterday only I got approached by a channel. I think it was, Voot, they were talking about a crime show. Right now I’m in the process of understanding. There are a lot of things happening. I have to get the script then try to analyse whether it fits me, do I fit the team, do they fit me and stuff… only then I am on-board. So after that moment comes, I will go through it and then we will have a discussion then it takes a few days to decide your garments, to decide your role, to do a two or three days’ workshop, to understand and know the other actors and then you’re good to go. So, it’s a very long process. You can’t say “Oh well…” (Shrugs casually) and go ahead, at least that’s not happening with me. 

Q10: You’ve done films, you’ve done TV shows, theatre, you have been a fashion model and many other things, is there anything you would like to experiment with in future? I mean, OTT platforms or a certain kind of role?

These days, I’m inclined towards writing something; I want to write. Though I’m not a very good writer. If somebody tells me my dialogue, I remember it faster than me reading it. You show me a storyboard I will understand it properly but if you give me something written I will just get bored while reading it or even before I start reading, that’s how I process it. So writing is something that lately has come to me and I’m writing couple of things whether it is some stories, some fiction… though I am very bad with fiction; I can write nonfiction stuff because it’s everything related to life. This is one thing that I want to do because I’ve never done this. 

Q11: where do you see yourself in the next five to ten years? 

This was a question that John Abraham had asked me for my pageant and after giving the answer, I won the pageant. But then I got back home and realized that I shouldn’t have given this answer. Yeah, so after five years, I would basically want you to come back to me, again, with more massive questions with more massive interview and you have a team back with you to make sure that you are interviewing ‘Rupali Suri’. So you understand where I want to be. At that point of time, when I was asked this question by John, I had told him that I want to be a better daughter, a better sister, a better friend. And after so many years down the line I think I achieved that. I became a better daughter an understanding and a supportive sister, and a good friend. Everyone else there spoke about where they wish to be in their professional lives and I was the only one who spoke about my personal life. Now my goals are very different. I know what to do. 

Q12: When life moves on be it personally or professionally there are always ups and downs. Anybody can manage the ups but what do you do when things are down? What inspires you to keep moving forward be it in personal life or in professional life? 

To be very honest, I feel when you have a very, very strong background, which is having a good family and having good set of friends, you are sorted in life. You will never even feel the darkness of life so much because when you have a very supportive family they will keep you rock solid. And friends who motivate you, are there for you even if it’s just to listen to you, you’re sorted. Life is bound to go downhill because it is what you need to rise up. I’m the best example of everything. I feel fortunate that you are interviewing me, honestly, I’m not even so famous; only a small section people know me for my work. There have been more downs in my life and in my career, than ups, but those downs have actually made me so humble in life, have made me learn so many things, and have kept me going. And I then realize it’s not me who’s keeping me going, it’s my family and my friends who keep me supported. They provide a rock solid foundation to be balanced in life to approach its downs, then those downs don’t even feel like downs, they feel like fun. 

Q13: Professionally, do you have any role models whom you look up to? Any favourites?

I don’t have a favourite. But if somebody’s career graph really interests me it is Priyanka Chopra’s. So right from here to Hollywood is something that I would want. 

Q14: Let’s have a personal message from you to your fans, if you would want to say something, what would you like to say? 

To all my fans who love me for I don’t know for what reason you love me, and you keep following me, keep a tab on me and keep messaging me even though I don’t reply a lot of times, I can only say thank you so much. Keep loving me the same way. Make sure that even your family is following me. But yes, I am only indebted. Keep shining and keep loving me. If there is anything wrong that you like about me or feel that I’m doing wrong, please let me know because I know you guys keep correcting me a lot of times on Instagram, on Facebook, telling me no, don’t wear this or you are not looking nice in this, or do a better makeup or do a better hair, please keep it coming. I love it. 

Focusing on Literature and Lifestyle of the Urban Youth of the Country, LitGleam is a monthly magazine, an intrinsic part of BlueRose Publishers.

Within its pages, our readers find provocative essays on literature and lifestyle, guidance for getting published and pursuing writing careers, in-depth profiles of poets, fiction writers, and writers of creative nonfiction, and conversations among fellow professionals.