She has a rhythm in her voice, a streak of wilderness and a truly honest and grounded approach to her art. Medha’s true ingenuity for being completely involved in the activity of everyday life in a truly artistic way is inspiring.
“I think it’s reading. I make sure I read. I read a lot. It could be a book, a website I follow; in my family everybody is a reader. My sister is a voracious reader. My mum is a writer. So the first thing in the morning as kids, we would wake up and read the newspaper. Reading is a very big part of my life. These days I am educating myself. I am studying international law. So I read my course book. Reading is one thing I cannot miss it a single day. You will find books stacked on top of the pot, in the bathroom; wherever there is a seating space to sit and clear your head. I read while travelling in a rickshaw and while eating,” says model/actor/writer/artist Medha whose expressions via her acting career have been varied.
Indian Ad Divas took a trip of Medha’s (she keeps her name as Medha with no surname-her small effort to have no cast, creed or religion attached to her name even in her passport, legal documents and banks) world filled with plays, cameras, stirring discussions about life, among other things.
Which part of the country are you originally from?
My parents are part Kashimiri and part Punjabi. Post partition, my grandparents moved to different parts of India. My mum is Kashmiri and Punjabi. My education happened in Delhi in Vasant Valley School, post that I went to Mayo College Ajmer for a bit and then completed last year of school in Mumbai. I moved a lot. I have two sisters who are both way elder to me by 14 and 10 years. So they moved to Delhi and my family went where my sisters went (laughs).
What was the first ad you ever did?
The first ad that I did was for Bingo chips that went on to become really popular. Before that actually I had won a modelling contest and that’s when modelling actually started and that ad happened.
What are some of your special or favourite brands that you have endorsed?
For someone so young, with absolutely no connections in the industry, Bingo was a special one. It got so popular. I went to Sikkim to a small village for a family holiday. In Sikkim you find these yak pullers who recognised me from the Bingo ad. I have had bizarre experiences because of that ad. This was right after the ad released. I don’t even know how much television they get to watch. There was another ad that I did for Unicef with Apocalypso films. Then there was the Cadbury’s Silk ad that went viral. These brands are really special. There is a film director who saw my Cadbury ad; she (I cannot reveal her name or that of the project yet, but I can say that it’s a very well-known director) called me and wanted to see me for a role in her movie. I always think, one thing leads to another.
How does your writing feed into your acting and vice-versa?
I was in my 12th standard when I got picked up for a play and since then, I have been performing in Prithvi and across India. I kept doing a lot of plays until 4-5 years ago I decided to start my own theatre company called the Bread & Butter Ent. I was trying to find my own voice. So I decided to write a play which was all about young people’s voice. What they wanted to say and how they feel. We were fabulously lucky to be the official selection at the Bombay based theatre festival, Thespo which is very prestigious. It’s an affirmation that what you are doing is in sync with other people’s sensibilities. That’s been my writing journey. Before that I used to write for the Prithvi Theatre mag and did copies for ads for different brands. I also wrote a book which was a promotional thing for a Bollywood film called Ra. One. I wrote for magazines including Marie Claire where I would interview celebrities. Other than this, I would do scripts for events and PR write-ups too.
Your most exciting journey as an actor/writer and a traveller?
Last year around this time, My Bread & Butter Ent, got selected for a theater festival in the UK for a play I had written. So we got touring UK. Six companies from across the globe are chosen and we were representing India there. When we performed there, we had an audience of over 300 people who were laughing and crying with us. Everybody’s eyes were red after the show and we got so much love.
The other big achievement is working with K.U.Mohanan; the man who’s shot Talaash, Don, etc. Big highlight of my career so far.
The last happiest moment you remember?
I am an enthusiastic and happy person and I trained myself to be that person. I was more the contemplative kinds. One big moment was during my scuba diving training in Bali last month. I am hoping to also become a certified diver in a year’s time. My first dive was an out of this world experience. Everything is silent; you hear sounds and sensations that are completely new. You witness a million bubbles around you, then the multi coloured fishes, corals of all shapes and sizes. It’s a completely different world and absolutely spectacular. There are just a handful of people in India who are doing this; it’s a godly sensation for human beings. It comes closest to being in space; maybe it’s the weightlessness. It was an overwhelming experience that was extremely unique for me.
More about Medha: https://www.facebook.com/breadnbutterent