Actress Interview

There is both good and bad in the industry – Palak Gangele

Having started her journey in 2012, Palak Gangele has seen the industry inside-out. A self-confessed struggler in this mayhem that is the entertainment industry, Palak takes absolute pride in her past and keeps an unwavering resolve for her future. She talks to Indian Ad Divas about her journey so far.

Can you tell us a little bit about your journey in the industry and your initial years?
I have had a sturdy 8-year-old journey of ups and downs in the entertainment industry. I won’t say I have seen it all, but I have definitely seen quite a lot of it. I am a seasoned player now. (Laughs)
The seed was sown in childhood when I started watching Fashion TV in my free time. Since then, for a good decade, I would badger my father with pleas of letting me enter the industry. He was adamant about me finishing my education first. While I was studying in Fergusson, Pune, I started my modeling career through amateur photo shoots. I kept at it for a long time and gradually learned all the tricks of the trade. I learned to pose, behave, and be comfortable in front of a camera. The amateur photo shoots turned into professional assignments.
When did you decide to take on modeling and acting full time?
While this was going on, my graduation turned into post-graduation in HR, and that translated into a job. I tried to balance both the scales and pursued modeling part-time. One day, my boss came to me and said this wouldn’t work. I needed to focus on one thing. He probably wanted me to quit modeling and focus on the job, but I decided to go the other way. (Chuckles)
What are some interesting projects you have done over the years?
I have worked with quite a few reputed brands such as Forever 21, Pantaloons. I did a Marathi movie called Gatmat, presented by the renowned Avdhoot Gupte. I also worked in the south industry for quite some time. I have finished the first schedule for my debut south movie and have signed another Marathi film as a lead. Transitioning into acting was a challenge for me. I had to learn a lot from my coworkers. I recently did an advertisement for Kurtosshhh. It was a fun concept where I had to play the role of a drama queen.
What are some wrong perceptions people have about acting and modeling?
People think modeling is the easiest job in the world. They feel I wear good clothes, pose for the camera, go to fancy places, and earn money through it. They don’t know the insane amount of work that goes behind. Right from your expressions to your styling, a lot of nuances go into creating a sophisticated product. There is immense competition in this field. If you compare yourself with others, you won’t find your own flair. It has been my motto to keep my head high and focus only on bettering myself.
You have been in the industry for nearly a decade. What made you keep at it persistently? Were there times when you felt like giving up?
It is an unfortunate side of the industry that casting couch is prevalent. People may not talk about it, but even a newcomer knows that it happens. It depends on the girl how she handles it.
I was once called for a big-budget project in the south. When I went for an audition, the casting director told me that he was happy with me, but I will have to be ready for a ‘compromise.’ I was very shocked the first time it happened. I felt very low, but then I decided I wanted to beat this toxic culture by making it to the top in a clean way.
How do you handle it when things like these happen? Can you speak up?
The #MeToo movement has been rising lately, and it might have helped women who have already made a name for themselves. But the reality is, as a struggler in the industry you cannot afford to make any enemies for yourself. Being in the industry this long, I can handle it. But some girls are young and naïve. At times they panic and freeze.
To tackle such a situation, you have to answer such propositions very calmly. You politely reject the person and move on with your life. That is how it happens on the ground. Not everyone is like this, though. Like life, there is both good and bad in the industry. You have to go past the bad to reach the good.
Let’s talk about the good parts then! What is something you enjoy the most about the industry?
There are two things I love about the industry. The first thing is that you get to experience the most out of life. I meet all sorts of people on a daily basis. I have learned how to hold a conversation, how to conduct myself in a group. Every day is different and full of new learnings. The second thing is a bit cliché, but I love that I am not limited to a 9 to 5 job. Every model in the industry will agree with this. You grow a lot, push your limits, and go out of your comfort zone. I cherish my eight years of these diverse experiences.
What are your future aspirations in the industry?
Nobody from my family is even remotely related to this field. I had to convince them gradually that I had a future in acting. All my relatives are very curious about what I do. I got a few achievements along the way, which gave them confidence in me, and there is a lot more to come. I aim to make a big name for myself in the industry. My eight-year-old career has been like a plate of pasta that I have only had one bite from. Now that I have had a glimpse of what is to come, my appetite has grown all the more. I am hungry and restless for that moment when I feel fulfilled by eating the entire dish. I want to be recognized and appreciated for the quality of my work as I walk down the street. The journey has just begun.
We give Palak Gangele our best wishes for the next tenure of her journey in the industry. May she succeed at her unwavering quest! You can follow her work on Instagram @palakgangele.

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