Star profile: Talented actor Ishaa Saha feels it's not a cakewalk in Tollywood
Planning has never worked for the young and petite actor, Ishaa Saha. The starlet, who debuted with Projapoti Biskut in 2017, is now on a roll with back-to-back hits including Guptodhoner Sondhane, Dugershgorer Guptodhon (the highest grosser of 2019) and Sweater, where she played the main protagonist.
Touted as a bit of a dark horse in Tollywood among a new crop of actors, this former lawyer with no mentor in the industry has carved a very special niche for herself, by sheer dint of hard work and tenacity. We caught Ishaa in some sizzling, never-seen-before frames for our anniversary special edition, before she sat us down to tell us why life has not really been a cakewalk for her...
How much of a struggle was it for you to enter Tollywood, and make a mark for yourself?
There is no such thing as a cakewalk. I feel lucky that my eight-month stint in a popular mega-series got me noticed, and helped me bag the role of Shaon in Anindya Chattopadhyay’s Projapoti Biskut. Happy coincidences like that don’t always happen, and hard work is what can take you further. Gaining success is extremely easy, but to retain it is a challenge. So, the struggle continues, I guess.
What have you learned as an actor, so far?
Acting has taught me patience, and it also made me realise that it’s not performance alone that will earn you work — you need to have good PR machinery. So, I try to stay calm and make the right decisions. Besides, one must be very professional when it comes to work. You have to be punctual and friendly with the shooting cast and crew.
You proved at a very early stage in your career that a movie with a female lead like Sweater can work. Does that increase the expectations from you?
I was lucky to get a movie like Sweater, where I am the protagonist. It is a great feeling to see myself solely on the poster. But at the same time, it is nerve-wracking, because people around you make you feel responsible for the movie’s success or failure. It can’t be the sole responsibility of the main cast to ensure a film’s success. A lot of things go into it, including content and distribution. But somewhere, we take this pressure, and producers too think that female-oriented movies might not work. This perception should change.
What are your parameters while choosing a film?
The story must appeal to me, as a member of the audience. I don’t have any problem with working with new directors. The production house matters too, because a good movie needs to be well-distributed to be seen. Since expectations from me have risen, I don’t want to say yes to any film, in haste. But ultimately, I trust my intuition.
What are your upcoming films?
Sohobashe is releasing next year. I play Tushi, who hails from a mofussil town, and has come to the city for work. Since she has no place to live, she shares a flat with a guy, and later, they fall in love. Both of them are commitment-phobic, and this leads to complications. I found the script very contemporary and fun. I am also doing a bilingual web series, Mafia, directed by Birsa Dasgupta for ZEE 5.
Has stardom and fame changed you?
I don’t think there’s anything called stardom anymore. Nothing much has changed, except that now I cannot go out as frequently as I used to. I haven’t changed as a person at all.
Is there an embarrassing situation that you have ever been caught up with, in front of fans?
A little after my first film, Projapoti Biskut released, when I went out shopping, and my shoe strap tore, and as I was limping my way through to a shoe shop, when a fan came and took a selfie with me. When I went back home and was scrolling through my social media feed, I saw a message from him, where he said, ‘I am a huge fan of yours but had something happened to your shoes that day?” It was so embarrassing that he noticed (laughs)!
Is there anyone’s social feed that you like, in particular?
I love Alia Bhatt’s feed, I am a huge fan.
One thing you love the most about acting?
Everything about acting. Cinema gives you such huge scope to express yourself emotionally, in front of the public.
Anything you wish to change in Tollywood?
I wish Tollywood becomes more patient with newcomers, and gives them time to learn the ropes of the trade.
Fashion, fitness & diet
• ‘My personal style is very casually chic. I love being in my jeans and tees. For formal outings, I depend a lot on my stylist and make-up artists. I love wearing breathable fabrics like soft linen, cotton and khadi. While chilling out with friends, it’s always comfortable short dresses for me.’
• ‘For traditional or family occasions, it’s always a sari. I fancy organza, linen, light Benarasi weaves or other such drapes with a traditional yet modern touch. I love all shades of bright colours, and blue is an all-time favourite hue.’
• ‘I like scouting for unique finger rings, and I am a complete silver person. I have a huge fascination for shoes, especially pumps in all kinds of vibrant colours, including bright yellow.’
• ‘I am a gym person, but often, I cannot go to the gym during shooting schedules. So, for those days I restrict my diet. I eat everything, but in portions. I love having chicken in any form — baked, grilled or in gravy.’
Get the look
‘I am not at all a make-up person, and I try to keep my look natural. I have super-sensitive skin and regularly follow a cleansing and moisturising routine.’ One overhyped piece of make-up: Highlighter. Five essential make-up products: Lip balm, a nude lipstick, cheek and lip tint, mascara and sunscreen lotion.
Styling & accessories: Tanvi Shah Pictures: Debarshi Sarkar Hair & make-up: Abhijit Paul Location courtesy: ITC Sonar