Not one to shy away from speaking her mind, Sherlyn Chopra is known for her bindass attitude and exuberance. The girl who has openly talked about casting couch and plastic surgeries in the glam world stays in limelight for either a controversy or her statements but this time it’s her web series which is attracting a lot positive publicity for her. She has also turned producer for the internet space. Excerpts from the interview…
How did Maya happen?
As per Hindu mythology, Maya is the goddess of illusions and dreams. Under the influence of Maya, one loses one’s intelligence and the power of discretion. My short film, Maya, a suspense thriller is based on this premise. I’ve always been fascinated with the fine art of storytelling as I believe that great stories have the magical power to take us into a world of intrigue, fun, adventure, fantasy, ecstasy, elation and much more. Last year, I decided to allow myself to expand and grow as a creative individual in ways more than one. The idea of Maya came to me effortlessly and I realised that it had the potential to be treated as a franchise. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of writing, storytelling, directing and acting which I found immensely pleasurable!
Was entering the web space a conscious decision?
Yes. There is complete freedom of expression on the Internet which enables a storyteller to be authentic in his/her approach to any given subject.
A lot of actresses are doing web series and short films…
Short films are easier to execute and unlike feature films, do not require crores of rupees for production. Also, releasing a short film is much easier than releasing a feature film. As there is no censorship on the Internet, short films can be released without any cuts or delays. But the story must be immensely gripping and high on content otherwise, there’s no point in making a short film.
Do you think web gives more scope to portray serious issues?
Yes, indeed! YouTube does not censor any of its content. However, if the content is explicit, then its viewing becomes age restricted which is quite fair. It’s a great medium to not only express oneself as an actor and a storyteller but also as an ambassador of human rights.
How is being a producer different from an actor? Were there major hurdles?
On the contrary, there were no hurdles at all. When an actor becomes a producer and initiates a project as a producer-actor, then her level of focus, interest and dedication towards the project become so powerful and intense that there cannot possibly be any room for excuses, confusion, disorder or any sort of procrastination. When the vision is crystal clear, its execution becomes smooth and effortless.
What are you planning next?
I recently wrapped up a web film, titled, Chameli, a comedy riot, produced by TNV films, in which I play a UP girl who aspires to be a Bollywood heroine. People loved Maya so much that they are now demanding a sequel! I’m currently toying with the idea of making a scarier sequel (smiles).
Nepotism has become the trending word today, thanks to Kangana-Karan controversy. What do you think about it?
Both the parties involved have spoken from their respective perspectives. As for me, I believe in beating the drum of things that work for me. I have so far attracted work by being positive and expecting the best. I don’t believe in pulling strings to make things happen. If talent and merit didn’t matter in Bollywood, then talented actors from non-filmy backgrounds would never ever have gotten a chance to exhibit their craft. Today, Hindi cinema is no more perception-driven. It has become aspiration-driven. And I’m proud to be a part of the new and improved Bollywood where I, as an actor, exercise my prerogative to work with filmmakers whom I adore and respect. Likewise, filmmakers choose to work with actors whom they like, adore and respect. Nowhere in the world are associations and collaborations between individuals made out of obligation. Such equations turn out to be disastrous as there is no harmony in such equations.
Do you think is it easier for star kids to bag roles and get another chance?
It may be easy for star kids to get a launch pad. But if they are not above average in terms of screen presence and performance, seldom do they get a second chance as there is no dearth of fresh, talented aspiring actors.
It’s only now that you have made a place for yourself in the industry. How has been your experience in the industry as an outsider?
Earlier, I was unaware of the Laws of the Universe. But now I know that I and I alone am the creator of my reality and that I can change my reality through my choice of thoughts. Nothing is granted or denied to us by others. I was born with a filmy surname, so I guess I was never an ‘outsider’ (chuckles).
You have always been very open about everything. Do you think casting couch is a real thing?
I’m all for genuine audition tests. People who use the ‘casting couch’ to gauge ‘talent’ should be sent to rehab for healing of their minds and souls.
What would you suggest aspiring actors who are not related to Bollywood?
First find alignment with yourself. Know that no one has the power to dull your shine if you are at peace with yourself. Let rejections and setbacks not make you question your worthiness. Understand that happiness is the highest form of success and that what truly matters is that you feel good and happy not just occasionally but always.