In our never-ending battles with love, anger, loneliness, grief and other emotions, even the faintest of nudges from inner demons are enough to send us hurtling down the abyss. But how many of us make an effort to take those demons by their horns? On the occasion of Dussehra today, Bollywood’s leading ladies tell hitlist how they have been working on banishing the evil within
When I was in college, I was terrified of public speaking. I used to win best actress awards at inter-collegiate drama competitions. But even if I had to deliver a small ‘thank you’ speech, my legs would turn to jelly; I would break into a sweat and even throw up. But then I started writing down my speech and practiced it in front of the mirror, just like I rehearsed my lines. I overcame my terror (wouldn’t call it evil) and today, I am comfortable in front of a mike. I believe practice and experience help, provided you are determined to overcome your limitation.
We, as actors, tend to judge characters. In Homeland, while essaying the part of an anti-national, a woman in a place of high authority who is sympathetic towards terrorism, I had to overcome the evil of judging the character/ person. Life isn’t about black and white. Whatever evil is in a person, it comes from somewhere. One needs to understand a person’s past before judging the outcome.
When you are an actor, you face rejection on a daily basis. It is my inner demons — impatience, jealousy, greed and rage — that I deal with on a daily basis. I firmly believe that evil never accepts defeat, but goodness always triumphs. That is what keeps me going. Without a relevant last name or a pageant to your credit, it is hard being an industry outsider. But to abide by what you want to do is often harder. When I decided to wait for Masaan to find funders, a lot of people discouraged me. They questioned my belief in the film and the genre of cinema. But it proved to be a special film for me and for the country as well.
I battled temper issues for a long time. But, I realised that I have to work on it. Now, I much calmer. In fact, when I tell people that I was hot-headed earlier, they find it tough to believe me. And that feels nice.
The most important thing for any person is a positive state of mind. Earlier, I used to take criticism personally and would often cry over it or vent my feelings in front of loved ones. But I have realised the futility of it now. I simply try and focus on the feedback given very objectively without feeling hurt or upset. When I feel low or a negative thought comes to mind, I suspend all my work and do something that makes me truly happy. At times, simply listening to my favourite song makes my day better.
What I have tried to overcome is my need to suppress my anger. Feeling angry is natural but what’s healthy is the ability to express it. I feel lighter, brighter and better since I began honouring my anger. After all, even goddesses Durga and Kali do that!
After a bitter fallout with my father, I was faced with many rejections and failures during my struggling days. I became accustomed to constant humiliation and embarrassment and believed that it was my destiny. I lost my self esteem and self respect, befriended a sadistic person who enjoyed hurting me and seemed comfortable with that treatment. One day, that person subjected me to extreme physical violence and I exploded like a volcano; I refused to take any more humiliation or insult. I revealed my true self not only to that person, but to myself as well. Through that experience, I realised it wasn’t the other person who was evil, it was my own darkness which resulted in that experience. I truly believe that experience made me aware of my own demons, helping me pull the beasts out and kick their b*tt.
There is obviously a struggle to stay positive and free of ridiculous insecurities that deter your growth in a competitive industry where you are constantly judged. So staying focussed, minding my own business and knowing what I want and going after it fearlessly is something that I have always tried to strive for. Turning producer with NH10 at 25 was the starting point. And I am grateful that I didn’t allow doubt or negativity get the better of me.
I have been able to overcome my anger by developing a sense of humour.