In Frame: Rachna Gupta
In Frame: Rachna Gupta

Actress Rachna Gupta takes us through her life after 'Laapataa Ladies'

For Rachna Gupta, becoming an actor was no accident; it unfolded as a profound exploration of self

For Rachna Gupta, who was seen in the quietly impactful role of Poonam — the young daughter-in-law leading a lonely life of a housewife in wait for her husband who's working in the city — becoming an actor was no accident; it unfolded as a profound exploration of self.

It all started with her involvement in AAGHAAZ at DAV College in Chandigarh. "Alongside that, my studies in Psychology deepened my understanding of human behaviour, enriching my performances with layers of authenticity," she recalls. The combination of theory and practice ignited a profound passion in Rachna and led her to the National School of Drama in New Delhi, where she underwent rigorous training in acting.

"Acting, for me, is about stepping into my own truth. Acting is not just what I do; it is who I am. power of passion and the beauty of self-expression," says Rachna. We speak with her about the film and her journey ahead.

Q

How's life after Laapataa Ladies?

A

Life after Laapataa Ladies has been quite a journey. It is amazing how different I am compared to my character, Poonam. When people approach me and take a moment to realise that I am the one who portrayed Poonam, it is truly satisfying.

Q

Your innocence in the character won everyone's hearts. Tell us how you prepared for the same.

A

The loneliness that enveloped Poonam's life became more pronounced due to her husband Sravan's absence. With only her sketches to keep her company, she felt isolated. So, I tried to help her feel connected to Sravan by writing heartfelt letters to him. I shared stories about our son's playful behaviour, hoping it would make Sravan feel closer to us, even though he was far away. I hoped these letters would bring us together despite the distance, capturing Poonam's innocence through our genuine love and longing for each other.

Q

How similar or different are you in real life from the character?

A

Poonam expresses herself beautifully through her art. On the other hand, I struggle to draw a straight line even with the help of a scale. She is so different from who I am in real life. Poonam is calm, a quality I greatly admire but do not naturally possess. In contrast, I can be quite clumsy. The circumstances and context of Poonam's life are vastly different from mine.

But while embodying Poonam's character I stumbled upon an emotional similarity that stirred something deep within me. Beyond the lines I delivered and the scenes I acted out, I felt a silent dialogue unfolding between Poonam and myself — a conversation of shared struggles, hopes, and dreams. It was as if we were speaking a language understood only by the heart. Through this silent exchange, I discovered a powerful connection that resonated with authenticity without uttering a single word.

Q

How do you develop yourself as an actor?

A

To grow as an actor, I embrace vulnerability as a source of strength, allowing me to empathise deeply and connect with diverse human experiences. My journey is one of continuous self-discovery, always challenging myself with new scripts and learning opportunities.

Q

What inspires you as an actor?

A

I'm inspired by the bravery it takes to show true emotions on stage or screen, exploring deep and dark parts of the human soul to find something beautiful. The raw emotions — deep sorrow, pure joy, and touching moments of connection — move me deeply. I love how storytelling can touch our hearts and remind us we're not alone. In every role, I aim to bring out these real emotions and capture the essence of being human.

Q

What kind of roles do you seek?

A

As an actor, I seek roles that challenge me to explore raw, unfiltered emotions and delve into the complexities of the human experience. I am drawn to characters with deep, universal truths — whether it's a tortured soul or someone searching for meaning in chaos. When choosing a film, I prioritize authenticity and truth. Ultimately, I say yes to roles that resonate with my essence, allowing me to explore love, loss, and resilience, and remind audiences of our shared humanity. If a project meets these criteria, I know it's a story worth telling and a role worth playing.

Q

Are you a spontaneous or method actor?

A

As a trained actor with 16 years of experience in theatre, I can confidently say that I embody both spontaneous and method acting approaches. Over the years, I've honed my craft through rigorous training and countless performances, allowing me to seamlessly shift between the two techniques depending on the demands of the role and the creative vision of the project.

Q

Now after Laapataa Ladies, is there a fear of getting typecast?

A

Rather than fearing typecasting, I embrace each role with a belief in my ability to authentically portray diverse characters. I see typecasting not as a limitation. By approaching each new role with curiosity and an open mind, I can explore the depths of human emotion and psychology.

Q

So far, how has the struggle been and what is your learning?

A

Dedication as an actor is like my trusted sidekick, guiding me through the highs and lows. It is the early mornings, the late nights, and the countless auditions. It is the fearlessness within me that has allowed me to move forward with confidence. Each challenge I have faced has been a valuable learning opportunity.

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