People are taking me seriously as an actor: Priya Banerjee
A trained singer and Kathak dancer, a television host, a model and now an actress who has done films in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi film industries, 29-year-old Priya Banerjee has undoubtedly donned many hats. As she enjoys the positive reviews coming her way for her portrayal of a seductress in ALTBalaji’s web-series Bekaaboo, the young actress tells us her journey from Canada to Tollywood, what growing up in a Bengali household meant and what are her upcoming projects. Excerpts from an interview:
1. How has been the response to your latest web-series Bekaaboo?
The response is unreal. It has been around two weeks and we are still trending on IMDB at number one and people have absolutely loved my performance and the series. It feels great.
2. You are ‘the bitch’ of the series. How tough was it to play a dark role? Were you apprehensive about it? What made you sign this role and this script?
When the offer came to me, I was quite apprehensive about it but I am glad that I decided to do it as it’s once in a lifetime kind of a role. Playing Kashti was quite challenging but then it’s very rare that we get to explore such characters as an actor.
3. After Baarish, this is your second web-series with ALTBalaji. Are you liking the medium? Is it offering better roles?
It’s my second show with ALTBalaji and it has been a great (expletive) ride. I am definitely looking forward to doing more work with them. After Bekaaboo, I feel people are taking me more seriously as an actor and not just-a-pretty-face.
4. How is working for the web different from working in the films since you have done films in Bollywood as well as in the South Indian film industry?
Honestly, other than the fact that web-series are for an OTT platform and movies are for the big screen, there isn’t much difference. The working process is all the same.
5. You have been a student of management and computer science, what made you switch the career? And, how did modelling begin?
Not sure (laughs)... I have been a TV show host growing up and I have also done pageants like Miss World Canada, etc. and that’s how modelling began. Nothing was planned, it all just fell into place.
6. Having grown up in Canada, how did you foray in Tollywood? Did the pageant Miss World Canada in 2011 act as your entry ticket? And, How did your parents react to it?
As I said earlier, everything kind of fell into place for me and nothing was a planned move. I finished graduation in Anupam Kher’s acting school and a friend of mine told me about a Telugu movie audition. I went for it just for fun and somehow ended up bagging the role. My parents were quite surprised by my decision of moving to India but they have always been extremely supportive of my work.
7. Having roots in Bengal, how much of a Bengali are you in terms of food, fashion and art?
Oh, completely! When it comes to art, I grew up with music and dance at home and when it comes to food, I love Bengali food. I also love sarees but it’s just that I don’t know how to wear them on my own.
8. Have you been to Kolkata? And, can you speak Bangla?
Yes, I have a family there as well and I visit them at least once or twice a year. I have also been to Kolkata for work and it always feels amazing to go back there. And, I am quite fluent in Bangla. Actually, my parents always made sure that they are speaking Bangla at home when I was growing up.
9. You have also received training Kathak and Rabindra Sangeet as well. Shall we credit your Bengali roots for the same?
Absolutely! That’s the bong side of me (laughs). When you are growing up in a Bengali household, these things are mandatory.
10. You have done films in Tamil and Telugu, are you keen on doing a Bengali film as well?
I would love to! It’s just that no one has offered me anything yet but fingers crossed! Hopefully soon.
11. Is Bollywood offering meaty roles? Tell us about your upcoming projects.
After Bekaaboo, I feel that people are taking me more seriously as an actor. And, I do have two more movies releasing soon. You’ll know about them as well as soon as they’re announced. Besides, one of my film Hume Tumse Pyaar Kitna with Karanvir Bohra is releasing on June 28th. It is produced by T-series and the poster was launched last week.
1. Dream director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
2. Dream actor to work with: Shah Rukh Khan
3. Favourite workout style: Running
4. Favourite cuisine and dish: Chinese
5. What would be your dream film: Queen