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Celesti Bairagey: New girl in the city

Updated on: 23 August,2022 08:22 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Letty Mariam Abraham |

Social media influencer Celesti Bairagey discusses embracing acting as a career as she moves to Mumbai after landing the lead role in Rajjo

Celesti Bairagey: New girl in the city

Celesti Bairagey

The 21-year-old Celesti Bairagey had determined to make a career in teaching. The pandemic made her a social media influencer, and one viral video garnered her a role in Indian television. Moving from a small town in Assam to Mumbai was a “major cultural shock” for the newbie, who was seeing high-rise buildings for the first time. “A casting director contacted me over Instagram and asked me to audition for the role of Rajjo. I sent my audition monologue as per their directions, but I didn’t tell anyone at home because I didn’t know how they would react. Since I had never worked on a daily soap before, I was not expecting a positive answer, but the next day I was asked to come to Mumbai for a mock shoot,” says Bairagey, who was accompanied by her father.

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She was initially over the moon about the opportunity. But the excitement dwindled fast when she witnessed the hustle and bustle of Mumbai. She says, “Everything I have heard or seen about Mumbai has been through the television set. It was a big step to come here, and I had a massive cultural shock. In my hometown, when a new family moves in, everyone drops by to help or cook for the family, but here, I don’t even know my neighbours. The only friend I have made here is my security dada.” However, Bairagey is quick to add the feeling of homesickness vanished when she went on set. “They didn’t make me feel like an outsider. If I got hurt, everyone would take care of me, no one gets irritated when I ask a question, no matter how small or stupid, they patiently respond to me, and my co-actors do lines with me every day.” Asked if romancing on screen comes naturally, Bairagey laughs and explains how “nervous” it made her initially. She credits co-star Rajveer Singh, who plays her love interest in Rajjo, for making her comfortable. “They could see my fear [on camera]. Rajveer sir asked me to treat him like family. We bonded on the things we liked about Assam, and the awkwardness slowly went away.”

While romance was an unexplored territory for Bairagey, the real challenge was to shed her accent in Hindi. “In the workshops, we concentrated on my [diction]. My Hindi has a tinge of an accent, which is different from a person who hails from Himachal Pradesh. I was asked to read newspapers and listen to the radio to get the hang of it. Rajjo doesn’t speak in English, but words like ‘Please’ would slip from my mouth during dialogue narration. It took me some time to get the hang of it, but now when the director says action, I completely forget who I am,” says the actor.

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