“I think women are the most powerful creation of god”
The greatest power is the power of love and positivity for it can bring light even in the darkest of an hour. Every being is the creation of the divine yet it is the special one that is given the ability to nurture the lives.
You can humiliate us, disrespect us, treat us unequally yet that will never hinder the process of our growth as long as we have faith in positive and magical things, for our imagination is the rainbow that fills color to our lives, empowers us to dream bigger than our adversities. Every adversity is an opportunity to rise above it gracefully, to ease back to move forward.
Shruti Sharma, who is not only unapologetic in her life choices but also in speaking her mind, opens up to The Voice of Woman about the extent of nepotism in Bollywood, the struggles of non-filmy newcomers and her way to the pinnacle.
What was your inspiration and motivation behind your decision of becoming an actor?
My dreams are the main inspiration and motivation behind my decision of becoming an actor because they literally took away my sleep.
It was so intense. I wanted to be someone and this desire to be someone motivated me to come to Mumbai to chase my dreams.
What is your biggest life lesson that still has a great impact on your life?
I am the kind of person who learns every day. But this learning came to me when I was a schoolgirl. At such a young age I realized how important it is for a woman to be independent. This realization came to be after observing my family only.
At that time I decided to be independent. There were some incidents that impacted me so severely that my decision realization turned into my resolution. I tried to work very hard to be independent and achieved my independence by doing so.
How does the industry treat a newcomer especially when she is not from a filmy background? How much pressure do you have to be able to make a mark?
It is difficult for a newcomer who has no filmy background to survive in this industry. You have to struggle a lot. I would say that I was lucky enough to get selected in India’s Next Superstar. I had to struggle even there when I was having a difficult time and was almost rejected to be a part of INS.
I used to run behind various audition houses as I knew no one there. Somewhere I realized that it really did not matter if I knew someone or not, I have to struggle on my own in my journey towards independence and success. So when I came to INS I was completely a newcomer who had no idea of how to deal with all of these.
There was a lot of pressure back then and this pressure of survival still exists even though I have worked on quite a few projects now in the industry. This is because there is a lot of competition and people who belong to influential families who have support in order to survive.
They have contacted so they can manage to get themselves work. So yes not having a filmy background certainly makes it more difficult.
What is your take on nepotism?
Nepotism does exist in our industry. The actors who belong to influential filmy families get work or have the means to get launched very easily as compared to the actors who do not have that support.
But somewhere I feel that they also work hard even though they do not need to struggle. They get ready for the industry by working on them, keeping them fit and then they get launched. The only difference is when the newcomers enter the industry we have to struggle a lot in order to make the right decisions.
We lack the knowledge and go to different production or audition houses for work whereas these people know where to go in order to be launched. So that according to me makes a lot of difference.
Still, I think if an actor belonging from a filmy background has been launched but they don’t show any potential of a good actor or fails to take their career seriously then they also will not be able to survive for a long time despite having a lot of influence. So yes nepotism does exist at different layers in the industry.
Does gender biases exist in the entertainment industry?
Yes, gender biases exist in the industry. What I have observed is that in television women rule but in Bollywood men rule. These are the two areas where you can easily differentiate gender bias.
What is success and failure to you? How do you deal with criticism then?
Either it is success or failure I never let it hit my head. Obviously, it affects me. If I get success in my work I celebrate it, I stay happy and feel grateful for getting that opportunity. And if I fail in something for instance if I go for an audition and then I get rejected, I will probably come home and think about the actions that I had undertaken.
I will summarise what and how I did certain things and will try to learn something from it. Then I will let it go thinking that perhaps it was not destined for me. This is how I take success and failure. I always thank god for providing me that chance. It might be old school but I do believe in gratitude.
Criticism affects me but in a positive way. Sometimes I do feel really bad for being criticised even after working really hard but then I put myself together by making myself understand that I need to achieve what was left behind the last time for which I was criticised.
There are things that I need to work harder on myself. So yes I try as much as I can to take it in a positive way and according to me, it is the only thing that you can do with criticism. You can either ignore it and work on your own or make it a positive aspect out of it.
How important it is to stay healthy and fit? How did you manage to do that?
It is really important for an actor to stay healthy and fit because we are required to work for really long hours like I have worked for literally 24 hours a day once or twice but many times. It had a lot of adverse effects on my health like I got bloated, fainted, and then had to be hospitalized.
I had no clue how to deal with all these things for which I was facing a lot of criticism. So all these hard times had made me realise that girl you have to put double the efforts you are putting now and strive harder to stay fit.
Honestly from the day I came to Mumbai, I got no chance to work on myself. I had a very busy schedule which demanded me to work relentlessly and provided me with no time to go to the gym for working out.
So I started intermediate fasting and this helped me to lose some weight from my body. Then this quarantine time became a blessing in disguise for me as it gave me immense time to work on myself and I have done that.
I have emerged as a fitter and healthier person than I was and ready to go back to my work. I have understood that when you are fit and healthy your mind becomes healthy which eventually makes you happier and positive than what you were earlier.
What is that one thing that drives you?
The desire to be someone, to be independent so that people know me by my name. I think this desire is what drives me.
You are an influencer and hold immense power to impact the lives of your followers. How do you intend to use it when you know so many women look up to you as an inspiration?
I feel that power is dangerous. Being an influencer was not something that I had the intention of, yet I know there are many people and fans especially women that look up to me for various occurrences and things.
It becomes challenging to choose or do anything because every action of yours will be scrutinized so you need to be careful before doing anything. You need to think about what impact your actions will have on those people who look up to you and think accordingly what and how you are going to do certain things.
I have particular rules that I follow which I like to call my own principles. I know I can influence the lives of many so I have decided upon certain things that I will never do in my life whether I stay in this industry or not.
For instance, I will never endorse any brand that promotes racism or differentiate between people of colour, alcohol, and tobacco consumptions, products that have adverse effects on people’s health. Things I don’t do personally.
I would never endorse them for money. I got such offers but I turned them down in spite of offering a huge sum of money. My fans are my biggest motivation because they have placed their faith in me.
This feeling is the best kind of feeling so I try to be a good person for my fans and family and of course for myself.
What according to you is the key to a happy and successful life?
The key to a happy successful life is by staying grounded and constantly keeping in mind your roots from where you belong and being content with what you have.
All these will certainly make you a happy and positive person altogether. Make peace your priority.
In today’s time, there is a lot of burden from social media like trolling, body shaming, constant judgment. Does it affect you?
Social media has become a cause of agony these days not because I am getting trolled but there are so many negative things that are happening over there be it trolling, fighting over petty issues, abusive comments by anonymous people.
I think people have forgotten the main reason for which social media was invented. It affects me sometimes but I have managed to obtain a solution for that. I can’t leave social media because I am an actor and I have to promote my craft there.
I have resolved to stay neutral and overlook my comment section so that I remain a part of it, gather information like what is happening around the world, share my views or memories. In this way, I am striving to balance it out.
What would you want to advise your younger self?
The advice that I will give to my younger self is to keep that child bustling within you always no matter how older you become because that kid and the dream that you had spun for yourself at that age brought you where you are today.
You are perfect in your imperfections and your flaws are elegant because that makes you the person you are. Just believe in yourself and conceive nothing but positivity and you will undoubtedly succeed.
Why do you think it is important for a woman to have a voice of her own? Any special message you want to convey to the readers of The Voice of Woman?
It is really important for a woman to be independent and have her own voice because otherwise, this world will not let you survive. There are many wolves who are waiting to prey upon a weaker person therefore to be able to withstand you have to be strong from within.
You need to be financially and emotionally stable as well to fight for yourself against all the odds. It is so ironic that our country which glorifies a woman as a goddess on a pedestal symbolising her as a power capable of destroying demons is the same country where women are left to face all the humiliation orchestrated by the same men.
Until a woman apprehends her innate vigour and strength people will continue to humiliate and harass her. For a woman in order to rise from all these, it is unquestionably essential for her to have a voice and identity of her own. She needs to be self-independent for being able to rise from the ashes.
I want all the women out there whether they are sisters, mothers, wives, friends to remember that they are the strongest women I have ever seen and they have the potential to accomplish so much.
So if you have a dream and passion please give it a chance because it can give you so much happiness and make you self-sufficient. If you are doing that and have taken a step forward towards your dreams then you are the strongest and bravest person and you can achieve everything that you dream of.
Women are the pillars of our society and the world. It is through us that a new life is born into this world and that is not an easy task. So if we can endure all those pain, emotional turbulence then we can withstand anything. I think women are the most powerful creation of God.