Charismatic, effervescent and multifaceted actor Priya Banerjee came to India from Canada six years ago with a dream in her eyes to make it big in Bollywood. She started her career with a Telugu film and slowly and steadily carved a niche for herself in the entertainment industry.
She is known for her acting prowess in Bekaaboo, Baarish, Jazbaa, Dheet Patenge. Now that she has pretty much set her base in Bollywood, the actor has some exciting projects on her plate.
In an exclusive conversation with International Business Times, India Priya Banerjee, she spoke at length about her journey from being a complete outsider to making a mark in Bollywood, what made her take up a bold role in Bekaaboo, whether she will take up a project that offers her to do a nude scene and more.
Excerpts from the interview
Coming from Canada was it easy for you to get your first break in Bollywood?
When I came to India and decided to get the industry I knew where I was coming from and was well versed with the facts and realities of life. I wasn't waiting for Dharma (productions) to launch me, nor did I have any godfather. Thankfully I got my first break in a Telegu film 'Kiss', so I can say there wasn't much of a struggle for me. Then I got my first break in a Bollywood film 'Jazbaa. Since then my career started picking up and I started getting offers from films and web series.
The content of Bekaaboo is bold and erotic, were you typecast after the success of the web series?
No, thankfully I was never stereotyped. The reason why I did Bekaaboo was Ekta Kapoor approached me for it and I liked the character. In fact, after the success of the show, I have got so many female fans and ladies emailing me and sending me messages on Instagram that they simply love my role. Although the show is bold there is a reason why the character of Kashti is so fearless and bold. My character in Bekaaboo is empowering and the audience really liked the charm and aura. I am not keen on doing bold roles any further, if you look at my work after Bekaaboo I have done Baarish, Dheet Patange and many other shows. I will be seen in Bekaaboo season 2.
How did your parents react to your bold and erotic scenes in Bekaaboo, have they watched the show?
(Laughs) No, my parents haven't watched it, I told them not to see it. In whichever country we live in, parents will always be parents. I told my parents that Bekaaboo is not for you. However old we grow, parents are possessive and protective and they don't like their kids doing bold roles on-screen.
Do you have any nudity or semi-nudity clause?
India is very rich in culture and heritage. People from all walks of life stay together in India. For instance, elite class, middle class. They speak different languages; they have a different mindset. As an actor, I want to cater to every Indian. There is a reason why I am an actor, I audience from all walk of society to watch me without inhibitions. And I don't want anyone to remember me for just one bold show that I have done. So for me, Hollywood or Bollywood nudity is a complete 'no' for me.
My next is Twisted 3, which is also bold, but my character is very different. I play a strong-headed corporate woman. And there is a myth that all the bedroom scenes or kissing scenes are shot the way it is shown, bold scenes are shot very aesthetically, and utmost care and comfort of the female character are taken while filming bold scenes. When I first kissed Karanvir Bohra in the film Hume Tumse Pyaar Kitna he made me so comfortable. And my camaraderie with KV and his family goes much before he had kids.
If you had to kiss one actor onscreen who would that be and why?
Shah Rukh Khan, as he has started kissing on-screen (laughs). I am his biggest fan and I admire him so I would like to kiss him.
Are you happy and content with the pace and the way your career is shaping up?
I am very content with everything I have got in life. People have groups, and there are favouritism and what not. I am happy for the work I have been considered for and the work I am doing. These four to five months of lockdown has taught me so much, the love I have got from my fans is commendable. What I also learnt during the course of lockdown and otherwise in my career is patience and hard work never goes in vain. Look at Ayushmann Khurrana the body of work he has done, the scripts that he is part of resonates with everyone, I want to do a variety of work and not just stick to one particular role. If you look at my career After Bekaaboo, I thought I would be getting the same kind of characters, but I didn't. I did Dheet Patange where I played a Kashmiri girl.
On working with a big banner
Look at Ayushmaan Khurrana, he never did a Dharma film, and he is still one of the most loved and bankable actors we have in Bollywood. Kartik Aaryan's Pyaar Ka Punchanama did so well; there was a sequel to it too. Big camps aren't working, which banner you are working for doesn't matter, what matters is sensible stories and as an actor I want people to know me for my work.
I like empowering and robust role. I want to portray the character of a village girl, something like Mirzapur. But I am usually offered urban roles, maybe because of the way I look.