Smriti Kalra: Anupam Kher and Satish Kaushik are institutions; you can learn from them just by standing beside them and observing them


After making it big on the television, Smriti Kalra is all set to do the same on the big screen. The actress, who made her Bollywood debut with ‘Cash’, will soon be seen in ‘Kaagaz 2’. In a freewheeling interview, Smriti opened up about her character, working with the likes of Satish Kaushik and Anupam Kher and more. Excerpts…
How did you come on board for ‘Kaagaz 2’? What about the script got you hooked?
I auditioned for the role. The moment I read the script, I just knew I would be playing the role. After I came on board for the film, I met Satish Kaushik sir, shook his hand and said, ‘Aapko isse acchi Tanisha mil jaye toh aap beshak le lijiyega.’ He just laughed over it. He told me the director told them to lock me for the role the moment he saw the audition. They were actually looking for a female lead for the film for months before they finally zeroed in on me. It was a huge compliment.
The script itself is what initially drew me in. It is entertainment, and at the same time it also talks about issues that affect you and me. Every Indian has gone through the concern that we speak about in the film.
Tell us something about your character in the movie.
I am not sure how much I am allowed to divulge about my character at this moment. This girl I am playing with is a beauty with brains. She has her own opinion and voice which she raises through social media. This character is the backbone of the hero of the film, who is being played by Darshan Kumar. She is the one who supports him when no one does. She is like home to him. She is sensible, aware, and at the same time she has a spark for life.
Have you watched the first instalment of the film with Pankaj Tripathi as the lead?
Of course I have seen ‘Kaagaz’ of Pankaj Tripathi sir. It is a fantabulous film and that is one of the reasons why I am a part of ‘Kaagaz 2’. It raised an issue that concerns the common man. It was beautifully directed and wonderfully shot. I am a huge fan of Pankaj sir’s work.
You will be sharing the screen space with actors like Anupam Kher and Satish Kaushik. How much are you looking forward to working with them?
Anupam Kher and Satish Kaushik are institutions. You get to learn so much by just standing beside them and observing them at work. It doesn’t matter if you have scenes with them or not. The way they go through the script, their thought process, and how they are on the set when the camera is rolling, you can learn so much from both of them. I was lucky enough to have a good professional and personal bond with both Anupam and Satish sir. It has been fantastic and I couldn’t have asked for more.
When it comes to actors making the transition from small to big screen, we have a lot of success stories. Whose journey, according to you, has been inspiring?
I hope you ask this question to some other actor one day and he/she takes my name (laughs). I think every actor has a unique journey. Every human is different, their paths and choices are different, and so is their journey. Their luck and talent is also different. There are so many actors who have transitioned from small screen to the big screen and have had their own journey. Each journey has inspired me in some way or another.
Were you a movie buff growing up? Whom did you idlolise?
Although I always loved watching movies, I was never a movie buff. My background and my home environment never allowed me to be one. My father was a general in the army. My mother is a school teacher. My brother is an engineer. We weren't allowed to watch much television. I didn't have cable until I went to college.
There were so many Shah Rukh Khan films that I had only heard about but had never seen. I remember going to school, and my friend used to narrate the film’s story to me. I used to just visualise it. It was only on Sunday mornings that we were allowed to watch television while having breakfast. I have also barely watched films in theatres during my growing up years. Yes, now I do go to the theatre to watch a movie.
What’s next?
Next, you will be seeing me in a web series. I will start shooting for it in January. It is a very interesting script with some fantabulous actors. I am really looking forward to working with them and that’s all I can divulge for now.

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