The talented face behind 350 ads – Mahima Mehta

Having grown up in the mesmerizing city of lakes – Bhopal, Mahima Mehta spent her teenage years sheltered from the shadow of the entertainment world. She was 19 when she decided to jump on to the hustle-bustle of the most happening city in India – Mumbai.
The opportunity came in the form of a year-long diploma in Advertising from the prestigious St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. As the semesters came to an end, reality started dawning on her. It was time to wear grown-up pants. All those who knew and cared for her gasped at the thought of Mahima settling for a 9 to 5 job.
She was not wired for a regular desk job, and it was quite evident. It was her sister who first suggested it – Mahima belonged in front of the camera, not behind it. Being the clueless youngster that she was, Mahima decided to give it a try – acting could not be all that difficult, could it?
And thus it began. Pictures were clicked, a portfolio was set up, contacts were sent. Mahima gathered up her courage and started going for auditions, left, right, and center. Rejections were rampant, but even a single selection could open doors to a new world.

In the world of acting, persistence is always rewarded. As umpteen number of auditions passed, one finally came with a callback. This was her big break – A Hero Honda commercial, shot by a big picture production house. This one successful stint started a wildfire of opportunities.
The entertainment industry might pose sturdy entry barriers, but once it welcomes you, it does so with open arms. Mahima started getting one commercial after another, recommendations began flowing in, and work started flowing out.
She had begun her journey as an actor on a dispassionate note. She had to do something; the acting was but one of the options.

However, as she advanced in her modeling career, new energy started to grow within.  Being on an ad set gave her a different feeling altogether. She felt in control. She felt fulfilled. She met amazing people who pampered her, took care of her, honed her skills, and mentored her.
She tried her hand at projects of a different nature. Some movies came along the way, so did TV assignments. But nothing quite felt like a crisp and eventful commercial. She had established her forte – it lay in the world of advertising. She decided right then and there; she would act in as many ads as she could, for as long as she could.

She carried on with this motto, and time flew by, surprisingly fast. Before the blink of an eye, Mahima was already celebrating a decade in the industry. An exciting, enlightening, and educative decade. She was a seasoned player now.  She knew the industry inside out. However, just as she was growing, the industry was growing too.
When she started, auditions were merely a test of skill. Now they had turned into tenders, with thousands of talented girls struggling over every single one of them. The competition had increased ten-fold. It was no more a cozy industry with a set of people setting the rules. Advertising was now a conglomerate.

Yes, some things had changed, but the core of advertising was still intact. Even now, the sets would be surrounded by talented, driven individuals. Nobody could take energy away from ads.

Mahima decided to move past the changes and focus on her work. One advertisement had her sharing screen space with Sushmita Sen for Olay ad; another one paired her up with the ultimate superstar of Bollywood – Shahrukh Khan for Big Basket. She started reaching new heights with the scale of her projects, starring alongside Alia Bhatt, Hritik Roshan, Saif Ali Khan, and Katrina Kaif. It is the people she met that she cherished the most over anything else.
Being an ad girl shaped her very being. She learned the importance of being professional, having the right attitude. She learned patience and persistence. She learned to cherish the inner fighting spirit that kept a fire burning within. Most importantly, she learned the value of a simple smile. In the madness of advertising, people would be driven to her, merely by the power of a simple smile.

As she prepared to give this interview, she reminisced to herself – she had just completed her 350th ad!
Countless memories, innumerable learnings, waves of ups and downs.
350 ads, 15 years, and counting.
Yes, she would continue to do this for as long as she could. After all, it was her advertising world.
This story is inspired by an interview with Mahima. Written by Prachi Shevgaonkar.
You can follow Mahima Mehta‘s work on YouTube and Instagram @9mahimamehta.

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