My acting journey started with my dad. My dad was in the Hindi film industry—he played the role of a villain back in the 70s-80s and was mainly remembered as Zebisko from the film Amar Akbar Anthony. I grew up watching him and being with him on the sets all the time. He was my inspiration and my hero. At a very young age, I watched all his films although I understood very little. I always loved the art of performance. Unfortunately, there was an abrupt end to my dad’s career because I lost him when I was very young. When I grew up, I always had this feeling of needing to start off from where he left. Although acting was new to me when I began, it felt like I had always done this—it felt so natural. I have never felt like it is work. I give it my hundred percent and enjoy every bit of it.
Being an artist certainly comes with its own set of struggles. I just choose to look at it differently. Life is very short. There are no struggles; everything is for learning. It is only to help you grow. The most fun part for me is living in the moment –being present. If you do what you love and be happy with yourself, people are going to love what you are doing and are going to be happy watching what you are doing and being around you. As an actor, I see the ripples in the energy as people respond to you like a magnet and it comes back to you multiplied hundredfold.
Fortunately for me, I have never looked at anything that has come my way as a struggle. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t work, I feel that that is probably the best thing that happened to me and that there is something better coming my way. I have looked at every situation as a wonderful opportunity or an obstacle to learn from. In our line of work, you do meet different kinds of people. You just keep your head down and grounded. I think I am fortunate and blessed to have the privilege to have seen this industry when I was young, so I have learnt to deal with it.
In my experience, it wasn’t easy for a woman to be in this industry coming from a Muslim family. I will be honest—I tried to give it up for a while and I was miserable. I fell into depression and had to take medical help. I remember my counsellor telling me to go out and do what I loved every single day of my life. I distinctly remember turning around and asking her “What if it is something that is not accepted by society?” and she said “Doesn’t matter.” I went ahead and did exactly that. I did things that I loved and enjoyed doing—I went for rehearsals, I did theatre and I got into films. I realized I was finding myself again. I was very focused and clear about what I really wanted to do in life. The financial aspect is very insignificant in this. It is about waking up to do what you love doing irrespective of whether you are accepted by people or not. I figured that whoever is meant to be in my life will be and whoever is not will walk away and it will clear my path for whatever I want to do or achieve in my life. My art got me out of a very bad state in my life. I said to myself this is what you need to be doing Dimpy!—it just showed itself to me in my face.
Talking about my inspiration, my dad has been my first hero—I learnt so much from him without knowing that I am learning. My other inspiration is my older brother Faraaz who was my father figure after I lost my dad. He was in the industry too—a very well known actor from the movie Fareb and Mehendi. I have not learned about acting or work from him, because we never spoke about that, but I have learnt about life from him. The woman I am today, how I carry myself, how to be optimistic, about life, death, everything...
I get so absorbed and lost every single moment when I am on stage or in front of a camera. I can switch myself from Dimpy to my character instantly. Even if there is something traumatic in my life, I can laugh and be on stage or be in front of the camera like nothing happened until the camera shuts off and I go back into my state and vice versa.
I love working with everyone. When I am working with experienced artists, they usually give and take during a performance—they give a reaction to whatever you are looking at. I love working with newcomers or inexperienced actors too because they are raw and they have so much to give you without being aware of it. I take it up as a challenge to give them that space to get on the same page as me.
I have no preference for any performance venues, I will perform literally anywhere—I will perform on a street even if there is one person to watch me. I don’t watch many performances because every single time I go watch anything, I feel like I should be on the other side. I feel like I should be the one entertaining and that people should be watching me.
When I am on stage, I would want to inspire, excite, entertain and shock my audience. I would even like to see my audience cry. Although you may think that crying is not a positive emotion, I think it is beautiful to be vulnerable. The fact that you are able to do that with just your performance and that you are able to awaken one person’s consciousness state in some way or the other. If I am bringing out emotions in them and they are going back inspired, confused with thoughts of life and questions, I will be very happy.
The theatre scene has been great so far. It has significantly grown. A lot of people are watching real art—I am actually surprised at how many people come to watch plays. Many people message me to tell me they saw my work. You feel so grateful and privileged that so many people are watching you. Theatre has grown a lot and I am certain that it will only grow further.
Written & Edited by Sinduja Seemanth