Asha Bhat: "Working on oneself is the biggest investment one can ever make!"

Asha Bhat started off taking the world of pageants by storm, becoming the first Indian to win the title of Miss Supranational in 2014. She has an engineering background and also took the modelling world by storm. With her family's support, she is now one film old with her debut in Junglee, which brought on unique challenges. Here's our chat with the one who seems to take every lives experience in stride, and hopes to keep making a mark.

1. You have an engineering degree, come from winning a prestigious pageant a few years ago, and just made your Hindi film debut. How have your varied life experiences brought you to where you are today? How and when did the decision to go into films happen?

It all started at the age of 17, when I joined NCC and became the Cadet Ambassador of India through a Youth Exchange Program. I have been a best cadet of my battalion. I had a total shift in my perception, personality, strength, endurance. With the amount of training we do, this shift is natural. I came back from my training and I had just a month to give my board exams. After that, I took a year gap to study for IIT but unfortunately missed it by a tiny margin. Nonetheless, I took up E&C at RV college in Bengaluru.

While I was studying my parents called me one day and asked me, why don’t you try in Miss India. That’s how it all started and the rest is history! And once I finished my reign, we were sitting and having dinner and they were like, why don’t you try acting? Since you live in Mumbai, now you can go ahead give it a try and see how it goes !! These were the words and now I am 1 film old (smiles).

To get into the film industry was a collective decision from my family. 

2. You said previously that shooting in a jungle was physically and mentally demanding. What were your take-aways from the shooting aspect of your first film?

It was mentally and physically demanding. Since we were shooting with elephants, we had to work according to their convenience. Most of the days roll time was 4 am as in we used to start getting ready by 3 am. Weather was harsh at times, we were staying in the jungle. Patience, focus and learning the craft of making a film and growing through the shooting schedule will be my biggest takeaways.

This is my first Hindi feature film and I believe in the principle of observe and absorb. Everything I learnt on the set, from my people, director, co-actors, is my takeaway! 

3. What has been your biggest learning lesson so far?

My biggest learning has been that working on oneself is the biggest investment one can ever make. Also, gratitude is a must for the things you already have. 

4. We are seeing an increasing number of actors in this new generation, so to speak, who have pursued a formal education post-school years. How do you think that prepares you for the demands of film work, or is it completely different?

Definitely, the things I did prior to films have helped me be the person I am today. They have taught me that if you have the 4D’s, which are Desire, Dedication, Determination and Discipline - then you can excel in whatever field you choose. 

Generically for your own personality, it helps but I believe for a film and its character, you also need a separate set of skills. And the generic things, like hard work and studying the art, can be applied to both your personality and your film.

5. What are your plans now, in terms of projects you want to do on a professional front? 

I just want to do good work and entertain people through my work! So I am working towards it every single day (smiles).

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