Meghana Kaushik, who has been seen in several big TV commercials such as Pepper fry, SBI Cancer Suraksha, Myntra, Tanishq to name a few. The actress has also worked in a film like Neerja and more recently, a prima donna singer, Nikita D’souza in a web series titled Love, Lust & Confusion for VIU Clips India.
- What difference did you find in acting in web series and movies?
I feel Web is a very young space. A lot of fresh blood getting a chance to make content that otherwise would have never gotten made, given the challenges one faces putting a film together or how regressive our TV soaps are. So I love how the web is an exciting place to be in with a lot of creativity, different styles of narratives and too many new platforms looking to put content out. It’s a great space for all kinds of actors/ artists.
Whereas, films are a bigger and a more complicated ball game I feel. Too few opportunities for newcomers in lead roles. Plus the business module of a film thrives solely on its stars and their saleability. But having said that, films are a fantastic process. Best technicians and artists come together to deliver a vision. And by the end of a film, the whole teams feels like an extended family.
- What would you like to say about the increasing standard of web series in India?
I think we realised the true potential of the web space at the right time, and also the immense reach it has, thanks to Netflix- n – chill revolution. Mediocrity is quickly getting replaced by more power packed content, the kind that is either too long or too racy for a film format. And fortunately, a lot of film veterans have turned to use this medium to tell big and inspiring stories. And it’s a great time to be an actor because one doesn’t have to wait for a film anymore to work with these great directors.
Plus I feel, we as Indians are very creative and a culturally rich nation, and all of that knowledge stored away in our books is coming to the forefront with some amazing series that are being put together. I am only too excited to work on a few such amazing things in the coming future.
- As you place your opinion on many social issues, so tell us what do you think about ongoing controversies like nepotism, casting couch?
While I feel there are opportunities for newcomers in films but like I said they are far and few. It’s not easy being an actor with no family background in the business. Yes, sometimes I do feel if nepotism didn’t exist, the number of opportunities would be more for actors like me. Yet I feel, ultimately if you are talented and persistent enough, you are bound to shine. Raj Kumar Rao or Vidya Balan are cases in point. And I have so much respect for them. Also, I feel for someone who is an outsider like me, the process of getting to do a big film, makes you work harder on yourself, & towards your goal, and yet it keeps you grounded. That in itself is a beautiful experience.
As for the Casting couch, I have heard a few stories but I feel in today’s times, it’s a dying thing because anyone making a good film will want to get the right actors for the film to succeed. They wouldn’t jeopardise that. There is too much at stake.
- What is your take on #MeToo campaign?
Ans: It’s a good thing it happened but I am not sure it has changed much in the way things are for women in this country. We see articles and posts being written about it, people indulging in coffee table conversations etc but then what??? Has anything concrete really happened to help change that scenario? A little 8-year-old girl was gang-raped and brutally murdered, and only after much media pressure along with all those candlelight marches across the country, was a law passed. But has that law been implemented?? Have those murderers been punished??
I feel our country has so much more to do to make its women safe. And the responsibility lies on all of us. If there is a law, we must come together and make sure it gets implemented, even if it’s not our own daughter/ sister/wife. We as ‘public’ must always make sure women feel safe moving around and those who misbehave are taught hard lessons they won’t forget, instead of standing by & watching the drama happen. Society must stop looking at the rape survivors with a stigma. Women must help other women, teach boys to respect their mothers and sisters right since childhood, don’t let them grow up watching their fathers hit and abuse their mothers/ sisters. Sex education must be made compulsory in all schools and parents must be counselled to help guide their kids in the right manner. It’s not a topic we need to be ashamed of while talking.
But most importantly, we as women must not take any kind of harassment lying down. Self-respect and confidence are two things we must never lose. We are special and must always believe that.
- Whom do you admire the most as an actress in Bollywood?
I really admired Srideviji. She was an actor par excellence and a lady of so much grace. Every time she is on screen, I find myself glued. Her performances had so much vulnerability and versatility packed in it together. And whether it was comedy, sensuousness or tragedy, she effortlessly moulded into those characters, and she was so good, she would hold your attention. She was undoubtedly a SHERO (FEMALE HERO) of her times. Lamhe, Sadma and Chaalbaaz totally are my all time fav films.
And Waheeda Rehmanji. I fell in love with her while watching Guide and then Kaagaz Ke Phool, and subsequently, I saw most her of her films I could get my hands on. Her voice and those expressive eyes really got my heart. The ‘sthirta’ with which she has performed some of those heavy, emotional scenes remain a school for me. And I am eagerly awaiting an opportunity to work with her. And I am hopeful, I would get to learn some of her acting techniques in person then.
- Lastly, tell us something about your upcoming projects?
I have finished a series for Viu Clips India. Another pilot that I have shot for yet to be announced big series. Can’t reveal much there. Besides that, I have two films lined up this year. Let’s see which one of them takes off first. I am waiting for announcements to happen first. And I am focusing on writing as well. As an artist, I feel, one should create opportunities for oneself rather than waiting for them to come by. And continue to polish your craft. If life surprises you with a big opportunity, you must be ready.
Meanwhile, Meghana will be seen playing a completely different character in an upcoming web series along with Prateik Babbar.