She is refreshingly open-hearted and genuine; a quality that is quickly becoming a rarity in today’s world and in this business. Her talent speaks volumes and her story will make you smile. From Dove Damage Therapy, MTR 5 Senses, ICICI Prudential and Brooke Bond 3 Roses, among other commercials, she has endorsed to name a few. IAD caught up with the curly-haired beauty-Shruti Narayann.
Which city are you from?
I am a Bombay girl. Born and brought up here and predominantly living here all my life.
The Brooke-Bond 3 Roses commercial is in Telugu. Was it a tough language for you to get a hang of?
Actually it’s been dubbed but I was given the lines like a day before the shoot and had to by-heart all the lines because I had to mouth them during the ads. It was one of the toughest shoots have done. I am a South Indian and I speak Tamil and Malayalam. I had help from this diction expert who kept telling me how to pronounce the words.
How did your journey into the modelling world unfold?
I know it sounds like a cliché but wanted to be a model ever since I was a kid. I am from a Tam-Brahm family which is very focused on education. So my parents thought I was crazy and my dad was like there are so many people who come and go; finish your graduation first. In college there would be people who would come to scout for talent. Someone decided to give me a chance in the college fashion show and everyone thought how could they take her because she is so dusky and they only had models in college who were fair. I ended up winning the college fashion show. Then there was the inter college festival which happens every year in S.I.E.S college. Some 60 colleges participated and I won. That was a turning point and everyone started noticing. The whole attitude changed. Eventually I changed colleges and there I won the best female model. So overall I must have won about 20-22 inter collegiate festivals. There was a Navy Queen contest which was a big deal. My parents came to watch me. I won that competition and that’s when my dad was like maybe she has something. We should encourage her. Then came Channel V Get Gorgeous and I started doing proper TV.
What was your first ad?
My first ad was for Airtel. There were all known faces at the audition. This ad was a big deal. I called my mum and said I don’t know if I should even audition for this because I did not really think I would get this one. Mum said since I had gone all the way there and waited for 3 hours, might as well give it s shot. They took a week to tell me I was shortlisted and then I was selected for the ad.
How important is the “luck” factor in this industry?
In my personal experience luck is very important. You can have all the looks, talent and everything else but if you are not around the people you’re supposed to be there’s no point. Luck plays a big role in the field of modelling acting.
One ad you’ve enjoyed doing the most so far?
It would be Dove and MTR Sambar Masala. I really enjoyed the MTR ad because it was very different. I was a typical South Indian Tam-Brahm. The ad was very beautiful and associated with how the masala affects your 5 senses. I have always played the girl next door but suddenly this was a huge change. The music by Bombay Jayashree was amazing and they had auditioned a lot of people for this ad. It just so happened that the agency I was with happened to pass on my photograph to the casting guy. I was in a shoot all day and so they sent someone home to audition me. Baudhayan Mukherjee directed it.
You come through as an easy-going kind of person; is that a skill that helps in this industry?
Sometimes it can work positively but not always. People are not very socializing type and when you talk to people they think you are trying to seek attention; but when you are dealing with the makeup artists this comes handy. They make you look good. I am always good to the make up artists. If it wasn’t for make up artists, the industry would look so different! 70 percent is because of them and there are not credited enough.
Things you’ve learnt from this profession?
Patience patience patience! You need to have nerves of steel and learn that rejection is part of life and you realise that what you see is not what really is.
People In the industry you have worked with and look up to?
There was this guy Errol Peter Marks that I shot with. This was a digital ad for Vanish for Holi. I have never laughed or enjoyed a shoot more than this. There was ad I did for Whisper and I think I got along well with the girls. I worked with Parikshit Vaidya for ICICI and I think by far he has been the most patient and soft-spoken director. Recently, I shot with Tom Koshy and he is pretty amazing too. He was so professional. Then there is Jonathan Lennard for Dove commercial. He is an international director and photographer and by far the most professional director I have worked with. I look up to a lot of people who have made it really big from the Huma Qureshi to Aditi Rao Hydari who is a friend. One person who I am crazy about is Madhuri Dixit. Mad about. I hope someday I get to do an ad with her.