A series of pleasantly surprising coincidences landed me into the world of being other people on screen and on stage. Since my younger days of pretending in front of the mirror, the world of acting has presented itself time and again to me as the place where I am most happy and comfortable.
Born to parents who were keenly engaged with performance, who encouraged me greatly and exposed me to the arts was probably the first and most important coincidence of them all. They stood as perfect examples, with their involvement in theatre and dance, which led me to turn to performing arts from an early age. I trained in the Indian classical dance form, Odissi, under Padmashree Kiran Segal for ten years. Through my dance I first discovered my affinity to the art of using movement and expressions to be someone else and narrate their story.
The next happy coincidence came while in school, where I was exposed to some fine theatre teachers who taught us to challenge our imagination creatively. A summer workshop with the National School of Drama at age sixteen was a turning point - my enthusiasm was now converted to passion, and I began to look towards acting as a career. After school, I moved to Bombay where I pursued my instinctive desire to act. For two years I worked with Jaimini Pathak’s theatre group Working Title. The first play I acted in was Anton Chekov’s Seagull, where I played the role of Masha.
Around the same time, I came across casting director Shanoo Sharma who sent me for my first audition for a film – Naseeruddin Shah’s directorial debut. I managed to make my debut in his film, Yun Hota To Kya Hota in 2006, as Ratna Pathak’s daughter. Subsequently, I acted in films like Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd and Rubaru. The role for which I got recognition that surpassed all my expectations was that of Debbie in Rock On!!! in 2008. I won a number of awards, and the one that I shall cherish all my life was the Filmfare Best Actress (Critics) Award. My other memorable projects are, Nandita Das’s Firaaq, Deepa Mehta’s adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, Khyentse Norbu’s Vara - A Blessing, Paul Cox’s Force Of Destiny and Rubaiyat Hossain’s Under Construction. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the best names in the Indian Film Industry and Internationally – Shahrukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, David Wenham, Mahesh Bhatt, Seema Biswas, Shabana Azmi, Charles Dance, Boman Irani, Nawazuuddin Siddiqui, Farhan Akhtar, among others.
I’ve grown with every role I have performed and have learned from being around the best in the industry. My experiences have shaped me as an actor, as a human being and have taught me about myself and this beautiful world of cinema, in a way in which I may not have been able to learn in any school.
My wish is to continue working in films from around the world and to work with people that I admire, respect and can learn from. I have started on that journey from the very beginning of my career, and I only plan to take it further, across countries, across languages and across cultures. I trust that my life will bring these opportunities and more to me as it has so far. And this is what makes the journey of my coincidences so valuable
Copyright 2013. Shahana Goswami. All Rights Reserved.