A turning point is a bit of a paradox. For, the most significant part of a turning point is usually momentary, and almost forgettable but its results are often everlasting.
A girl named Suparna was responsible for the earliest turning point in my life. I was directing a Woody Allen play in college, and she played my heroine. I was 19, angry at the world at large and arrogant about my self-proclaimed genius. She did in a way teach me how to channelise my misguided energies. It was because of her that I went to the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune, apprenticed with Siddhartha Basu, and later directed an award-winning short film, Ehsaas. I lost her in the process, but I attribute what I am today to her.
Then filmmaker Pradip Kishen (of Massey Saheb and Electric Moon) was the person who unwittingly played an important role in my life and gave it a new twist. I was a corporate filmmaker at 23, and had gone to him hoping to assist him on Electric Moon. To date Im not entirely sure why I carried my acting résumé along with my filmmaking credentials. Kishen wisely pointed out that my first love lay in acting and consequently, I quit filmmaking and joined a theatre group. And I have been acting for around 17 years now.
The television serial Banegi Apni Baat was another turning point for me. I had spent over a year in Mumbai — and not landed a significant role — and ended up living in a chawl with six other young hopefuls.
Just when I was ready to give up, I got a call from director Deeya Singh for a one-scene role in Banegi Apni Baat. I must have done something right in that one shot because I ended up acting in the soap for the next two years as one of the principal characters. Theres been no looking back since.
(As told to Arundhati Basu)