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Not compromising on matters of the heart: Salony Luthra!

By Armin Sethi Friday, Aug 31, 2018 01:01: AM

Salony Luthra joined us in Toronto, where she came to showcase her short film at IFFSA, Forbidden, which is inspired by true incidents. Whenever we speak, we talk about the importance of following your heart, but also the importance of remaining true to yourself. Salony speaks candidly about her character, Jasleen, and the journey of her own obstacles on a personal level, to finally learn not to compromise on matters of the heart.

 

From Kajal to Forbidden, such a different take, such a different character but both courageous in their own way. In Forbidden, we see the twist of your character, Jasleen, standing up for her love. What was going through your head, when she finally stands up to her own father on the phone?

I genuinely felt when we were doing that shot, that I was speaking to my own father. For me, it was very relatable. As kids we are taught to make our parents happy in every possible way we can. In some ways, we are also made to feel guilty if, for example, we are not able to achieve academically as they wanted or if we do not go on the path of career choices they have for us. Like, I was expected to be a lawyer or an engineer – those were the two career options mapped out for me. I did my MBA but then I chose to become a performing artist which was not very well taken by my family. Just that choice – sometimes, to this day, my dad will say that this is my hobby, you know. I think to myself, like, how many more awards do I need to show this is not my hobby? This is my only chance to live according to my heart or else I’ll repent this then some twenty or ten years down the line and I’ll be married to somebody who my father chooses. I would be thinking, if only I had that little bit of courage, I would not be living this life. See, I did not want to repent my decision. I was willing to take that risk, because I thought I would be happy. If I don’t live for myself right now, when will I live for myself?


I mean, your parents also do a lot for you but there are some things, where the heart matters, you cannot compromise on. See, your gut doesn’t generally lie. Some things, you realize you want to just live for yourself and do for yourself.

 

You talk about not compromising when the heart matters. But if you choose something that can create a divided loyalty – loyalty to yourself and loyalty to them, don’t you end up engaging in an internal struggle? Given that line, what is that internal struggle like?

My internal struggle led to my belief that my baseline should be work that I could be proud of and my family could be proud of. Every person should reflect back and check on their choices – I wanted to be proud of my career path. I chose to do socially relevant films; I chose to do films where I have a voice because I feel like I have a social responsibility as an actor. Because now that I have engaged in my own path, then at least maybe, not now, I can see my dad changing – he is proud of the work I’m doing and the choices I’ve made. If you choose to make yourself proud, they will see it eventually and they will see your hard work. They will respect the passion and hard work together. This drives you to do better.



You talked about making choices in cinema that you and your family can be a proud of. If you have offers on films that are “masala” films so to speak, what will you do?

You know, I think it is great. It is not always important to make socially relevant films. After Kajal and Forbidden, I was having a conversation with my manager, that I wanted to do something light. General audiences may not understand this but subjects like this can take a toll on you because you are breathing your character. Something like Jasleen is heavy. After filming for two weeks, I was lost – I mean, I was going back to Shimla to my hometown just to feel normal and go back to being with my friends. I just wanted to be in a normal space.

So I just wanted to do a light-hearted comedy so I feel a bit like my other shades in my personality could shine through a new character.

But to answer your question - commercial cinema, yes, why not? There are great subjects that are being portrayed well in commercial cinema now. If I could be a part of it and have a strong character, why not?

 

When do you find then as an artist that you need to have a switch off – when your character takes a toll on you, mentally and physically?

For me, I’m not going to sugarcoat it, I have not been able to get out – I have not been able to crack that switch-on/switch-off. Some actors are very good at it. I still have to master the art of leaving the character on set. A lot of times it happens that you are in the zone and do a high-intensity scene in the morning, but I’ll have a breakdown in the evening. Because you are mounting that and mounting that, and then when you are in your solitude, sometimes that release happens. I’m working on it – my way of snapping out of it is being at home and surrounding myself in familiar backgrounds. Any actor will be breathing the character and won’t leave the character for a while – it cannot be done any other way.

 
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