Pragya Jaiswal is a popular Telugu actress who has worked in various big projects down South. She has been a part of the National Award-Winning film Kanche and reportedly, she is gearing up for her entry in Hindi films soon.
In an exclusive conversation with Spotboye.com, Pragya gets candid about her journey, choosing Telugu films over Hindi films and what the future holds for her professionally. Read excerpts from the interview:
2021 marks seven years for you in showbiz. How has this journey been?
Oh My God. That just made me realise it has been a long damn time. But it still doesn't feel like seven years. I still feel like a newcomer. I am still kind of working very hard to get to the right place and it’s just the beginning. The last seven years have been amazing and I have been living my dream. My debut in the South was with Kanche which bagged a National Award. Debuting with a film like that was encouraging and made me realise that I was doing the right thing as I had changed careers before and tried other things. The journey started like that and it even convinced my family that I was doing the right thing by choosing acting over law. Since then, the journey has been on auto pilot and it is about to take a new turn which I will talk about in due time.
You were pursuing law and there were no family connections in films as well from your side. So, how did that interest in films originate in you?
When I look back, I am not sure how it happened but it happened really organically. When I was in Law school in Pune, I did some modelling on the side for some pocket money. Acting after that was a natural progression. But moving to modelling from law, wasn’t something I thought much about. I was getting offers and I was taking them, but after finishing law school I understood that it wasn’t where my passion lied. I wanted to do more modelling and acting.
You come from a Hindi speaking household. So, did the language pose a barrier for you?
Now I am fluent in the language but initially it was a challenge. Your prep kind of gets doubled since you have to put extra effort into understanding the meaning of the lines. So, it was challenging initially, but slowly I got the hang of the language and got comfortable. It is still a bit difficult but not as much.
You are still in the initial phase of your career, trying to make a place and name for yourself. So, when a pandemic like Covid brings it to a halt and forces such a break, does it deter your confidence?
It’s not that big a break. I think this was the best kind of break, especially last year, which I thought was a great opportunity to introspect and learn more about yourself and just pull back a little so that you can come back stronger. I learnt so much about myself and became better personally and professionally. Something in me just changed and the pandemic helped in that.
Although, the second wave is not pleasant at all. We didn’t hear about so many cases last year and even the ones that were there, they weren’t too severe. Last year it was happening far away like to a friend of a friend but now every other person you know is getting affected. But I don’t see it as an obstruction to my career at all. I was shooting only a while back and am hoping that things will get better soon. All we have to do now is to have faith and hope for a better tomorrow. It’s too selfish to just think about my career, we have to think of the larger picture.
You say you worked on yourself last year. Any special skills that you learnt?
I had a crash course of my life last year. There are rarely any essential activities that a person should know for survival, each of us don’t know today. I never used to enter the kitchen but last year, I started a YouTube channel where I was baking, and I was baking bomb cakes and sending them to friends.
How did the pandemic affect your lifestyle?
Last year, Covid was something new for all of us, something unheard of. Our generation hadn’t heard of or experienced a pandemic before and we were too busy in our lives. So, initially I was a bit confused but also excited to explore how to go about it. I went through a few phases, like initially I was so determined to come out with abs and at my fittest best. But as the household chores piled up, my motivation started going down, and I began procrastinating. I went through a major lifestyle change. I started in March-April working out twice a day to June-July, when I was baking and eating cakes all day. My focus changed each month and I did some courses as well. Last year was a great learning lesson that just prepared me for life.
You did do a Hindi film in the initial phase of your career called Titoo MBA. But after that you focused more on South cinema. What kept you away from Hindi films all this while?
I think destiny. I feel everything has its right time and whenever the universe thinks you are ready for it, it will come to you. I never got impatient as I always had work down South. I was trying for Hindi films as well. Now, the time seems right and some good things are happening in life. So, let’s hope things get better soon so that I can talk about what I want to talk about.
Your next film down South is a big project, BB3. Tell us something about that.
My next project down South is called Akhanda. BB3 was it’s working title and the new name even surprises me at times. Akhanda means indestructible and that’s our title which is very apt for our film. It’s an action movie and the hero of our film is Nandamuri Balakrishna sir. He is amazing and has done about 107 films. It’s a great experience working with him everyday and there is so much to learn. He comes on set everyday like it’s his first day on shoot, so childlike, passionate, hardworking and punctual. He is a great co-actor to work with.
Our director is Boyapati Srinu sir and he is the king of action movies in the South. This is Boyapati sir and Balakrishna sir’s third collaboration and that is why it was called BB3 for the longest time. I can’t wait for people to sit in theatres and watch it first day, first show as it is a film meant to be enjoyed that way. It’s a big scale film that will be fun to watch.
You are rumoured to be a part of a big Hindi project (Antim with Salman Khan). Is there anything that you can say about that?
I have shot for a film a while back and there is an official announcement awaited. I will tell you about it when things are official but it is really exciting news.
Have you had any other Hindi film offers?
There are a couple of films that I am in talks for, but we are waiting for things to get better. Everything is stuck for now, so we are just waiting for things to get safer first.
Image source: instagram/jaiswalpragya/youtube/SpotboyE/ThinkTalkiesPR
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