In a candid conversation with India-aware actor Eshika Dey shared her experiences as a struggling actor, on casting couch, her growing up days and her future plans…
As a youngster she was associated with Mamata Shankar Ballet troupe for 15 long years. To become an established actor, she, EshikaDey shifted from Kolkata to Mumbai. A bed scenes, duration 45 seconds, in Sacred Games with Nawazuddin Siddiqui made her popular in public forum. After that she has been flooded with friend request in Facebook, messenger and other social sites, which makes her embarrassed.
However,in spite of being a struggling actor,she is now working in many projects (both in web series and feature films).
But,when she had decided to be an actress, a relative of her’s told her, will you work in movies? They continued,acting in movies mean transforming yourself into a sex worker. Besides you have dark complexion! Do you think will you be offered good roles without compromising?
IA:I will make every “Bengalee” proud.How?
Eshika: At international platform I want to work on stories or scripts, that will affect viewer’s mind-set. And they will start thinking. Hollywood and world movies are doing well, which inspired me a lot. Here, in Bollywood many talented directors are working—like Anurag Kashyap, RajkumarHirani, who could work on that (read Hollywood) level. I personally want to work with them.Anurag Kashyap is her ‘god father’. If he did not support her , no body would haverecognised Eshika. She is also very much grateful to MukeshChabra (leading Casting Director of Bollywood), who casted her in Sacred Games.
IA: If you were to rank top five directors in Bollywood, what will be your grade be?
Eshika: gradation will be like—Kashyap and Hirani’s work inspired me. So, the two will share first position. Besides them with whom I have not worked yet, but desire to work with them. However, I am not putting them in list for now.
IA: How much your family is co-operative throughout the struggle periods? Mainly what your parents said after watching you with Nawaz Sir?
Eshika: My family is very much supportive. Mainly my mother. But I want to make my career as an actress, after hearing it one of my family member slammed me and said doing cinemas means making yourself a prostitute. You have dark complexion. Do you think, will you be offered by good role? I think this is typical mediocre mentality. The mind set comes from a mediocre family, I had to handle all this. Now my friends, foes and family members all are happy, basically my mom. But When I was offered the role, and discussed it with mom, she reacted and said don’t do it. Then I said ok, but after several thoughts I decided to do the role and told to my mother that I am working on it. She had said ok. Eshika (sarcastically) added, the role gave me a huge fan following, sometimes this gets suffocating though.
IA: Co-actor NawazuddinSiddique and Person Nawazudding Siddique. How will you define?
Eshika: Co-actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui is very helpful as a senior colleague. The way I approached a scene in projects before, I rectified it after working with him. And immediately after the shoot of the intimate scene with me, Nawaz Sir, came and said sorry to me on the sets. As a person Nawaz Sir, is very good and also maintains a low profile. For me it was a great learning experience working with Nawaz Sir.
IA: To update your profile how this film worked?
Eshika: For updating my profile the role was very much important for my professional life.
IA:What is your mind-set on Casting Couch? Have you ever faced it?
Eshika: Clearly I want to say that it never harmed me. It is basically a sleeping demon. If you don’t disturb it, it will also not disturbyou. But at times it willmake a trap for you. You have to cross the hurdle diplomatically. Your dedication, sincerity, struggle, focus will help you to cross the hurdles (trap, made by casting couch).
IA: How Nandikar and Theatre help you?
Eshika: I started my acting career as a theatre artist under Nandikar banner. Working with Nandikar helpedme lots in acting.
IA: Future plans and project?
Eshika: After landing in Mumbai I sat idle for around six months. I got my first break when I was seven-month-old in Mumbai. But after that I am working on many projects. I am working in web series for Voot and Alt Balaji. Beside this, I am working in two feature films. One is ‘Wing Man’ of Anuj Gulati and another one with Navdeep Singh (movie name yet to be decided). My future plan is to work more andconnect withpeople.
IA: Love, pyaar—what is your standon it? Do you have any relationshipnow or in past?
Eshika: Professional life and personal life both are different. Still now I am searching for a perfect man. But I had a long-lasting relationship earlier. We have separated for my decision to work in films. When I took the decision to be in Mumbai, he (my former boyfriend) opposed me. Then to keep our memories sweet and in a respected shelf, we decided to part ways. But during our relationship—bonding, faith, dependency did exist between us. Now he is happily married, and I am here in Mumbai.