She is soft-spoken, measured with words but open and expressive at the same time. Her life as an actor, spent learning and honing her craft is passionate, interesting and truly beautiful. Naina Trivedi spoke to IAD about her upcoming film Mohenjo Daro, her views on cinema, love and getting to this point in her career
Which city are you from and how did you get to Bombay?
I am from Indore, Madhya Pradesh. I did my MBA from FTII Pune and shifted to Bombay when I started working on the TV series Everest. When I was in Indore, I would anchor TV shows, do film reviews. Then I did a TV series in Indore which was made for the local channel. I was inclined towards acting and dancing and then I got picked for Zee Cine Stars Ki Khoj from my state. I resumed my studies after that and my MBA. My father bought me the FTII form and told me I should go study if I am interested in the movies. My mom and dad are the ones who sent me to FTII because they wanted me to study the craft and not just go to Bombay and start struggling there.
Was the move to Bombay difficult?
Yes obviously. It was difficult and the most difficult was having a certain image and knowing the kind of work you would like to do. I got a lot of offers for daily soaps but I didn’t want to do them. The struggle was to get the right kind of work. Work you really like and want to do. I think I am very lucky to have started my movie career with Ashutosh Gowariker. I did a TV series called Everest and he loved my work in it and offered me a part in his movie.
Tell us about the movie
The movie is called Mohenjo Daro starring Hrithik Roshan and directed by Ashutosh Gowariker. I am playing the friend of this girl who is playing the lead in the movie and I’m shooting for another ten days for the movie in Bhuj. It’s been very nice working with a director like Gowarikar and that too on a big budget movie like this. I couldn’t have asked for more, especially because I am a newcomer. I don’t have any kind of connection with the industry whatsoever and to get so much respect from Ashutosh and his whole family feels so wonderful; they really love me so much. His father likes me very much because he really liked my character in Everest.
Do you have memories from the shoot for the movie that you would like to share?
So many memories! It was about 45 degrees and very hot. We started shooting in Feb in Bhuj and continued till May and are going back there again now. I think the experience was very good. Ashutosh Gowariker understands actors really well and gives you total freedom. It was a lot of fun working with Hrithik who is always cracking a lot of jokes. He keeps singing. He is such a down to earth person and I didn’t feel like I was with a star. It was like being with a co-actor. He also doesn’t throw any tantrums. We could talk to him about anything and ask him anything. The whole crew went to the same gym; it’s s small city so there was one really good gym we would all go there and Hrithik would be so motivating. He used to keep telling me I am doing very well. He is such a sweetheart.
What does acting mean to you?
Before I started studying cinema at FTII, it was all about glamour, looking good and dancing. It meant getting people to pay attention to you, to become famous. It meant wearing good make-up. But after doing my acting diploma from a film school, we were taught that acting it not just dancing around trees. They inculcated the feeling of respect for the art. So after my education there, I learnt how to live in the moment, live in the character and knowing you are not yourself and you would not do those things in real like. It’s like magic. I wanted to be famous but now my perception has completely changed. I am not bothered about fame but I wish and hope for good roles, challenging roles. Acting is the only thing I am good at and I forget everything else when it comes to acting. When I am on set, I only think about my character, my lines and my performance.
What does love mean to you?
Love (sighs). I am a very romantic and a very sensitive person. I am very filmy too. But what is love really? I have experienced it but when it didn’t work, you wonder what that was? You meet a person, stay with them, go around with them, eat with them, then after sometime they are gone, then you’re trying to cope up with it and then life is normal. And you think back and ask yourself what that was? Love or something else? Then another person comes along. People say enjoy your single life and party hard etc. but I hate being alone. I really want to be in love but I don’t know who the person is for me until now. Sometimes people are in love with the idea of being in love rather than actually loving a person.
Sometimes I feel it’s a love is a bad Bollywood hangover. One of my friends is crazy about DDLJ. He has watched it like 100 times and still has that hangover about finding his “Simran”. I told him dude you’re stupid. I am in this industry and I know and I realise that it doesn’t work like that. After watching Kal Ho Na Ho I thought that my angel will come. This friend of mine would do things like booking a flight ticket just to go along with her to drop her off in another city and then realise “no yaar woh toh meri Simran thi hi nahi”. He went to the US to surprise her this one time and became a waiter and that girl had no idea. Love is pretty confusing for me right now.
Some of your social media handles are called Legends Mini. What’s the story behind that?
It’s my email id. I made it when I was in sixth grade and I really don’t know why I still have the same one. I feel so stupid and funny. I had this connection-I like this word legends and had the habit of writing the word legends everywhere. That’s how it came about and mini is my nickname.
What are your favourite stress busters?
I love dancing and so I go to dancing class. I have learnt belly dancing. I just like to dance so at home as well. I like to travel. I like to hear a lot of stories from people about their lives and I like to observe people like every actor does. When I am out with my friends, I watch their behaviour.
- Naina in an impromptu mode
How did you spend your first pay that you got through acting?
Way back in Indore, when I was doing a TV show I told my parents I had earned this money and they said I could do whatever I wanted to with it. I recklessly spent it. When I got Everest and got handsomely paid, I became mad and I have no clue where it went in 3 months. I am a spend thrift. I don’t save money.
Where do you think you will be five years down the line?
I haven’t planned really. I never plan things; people keep telling me I should be more organised to achieve more and I feel guilty about not doing it but up until now things just came. When I try hard it won’t happen and when I stop bothering, things came to me. So now I just want to work hard and want to be honest with my acting and it will take me places.