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‘At ACFA, I learned to follow my heart no matter what others said’

ACFA alumna Palak Sharma shares important milestones in her journey to become an eminent artiste in the Punjabi television and entertainment industry

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Palak Sharma is working in Pitara TV as an artiste and a TV producer. She has done many shows, short films and web series the most recent one being ‘Talk To Me’ where she interviews Punjabi celebrities such as Parmish Verma among others. In an exclusive interview, she shares the struggles behind her journey, her upcoming projects and how she discovered her passion for theatre at ACFA. Edited Excerpts:

Please tell us a bit about your current work profile?

I am working at Pitaara TV as an artiste and a TV producer. I am doing three shows there. The first show has been launched. It is titled ‘Talk To Me’. In this show, I interview Punjabi celebrities such as Parmish Verma, Ninja, Babbal Rai among others. Right now my show Filmy Chaubaara is being launched both in India as well as in the UK. Apart from this, I have an upcoming show titled ‘Pitaara di chaupal’. I have done many short content videos at Pitaara. Plug On is a sister company of Pitaara. I have done many YouTube sketches with them. I have a four-year theatre experience. I have also done two short films and a web series ‘Shahi Maajra’ and ‘Hardcore Sharabi’ available at Chaupal and White Hill Entertainment OTT platforms respectively.

 What was the inspiration behind choosing this field of work?

I always knew that I wanted to do something in the creative field. I was not that good in studies. (Laughs) I had opted for a Bachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication course in college. My parents encouraged me in it. At ACFA, I came to know about the theatre team, so I auditioned for it and joined it. I have performed at the Youth Festival all three years at ACFA. I got a huge boost in my confidence as I performed great at the Youth Festival.

What are some of your best memories from the ACFA campus?

When I had started doing theatre in the youth festival, my family was absolutely against this. They didn’t want me to do theatre since I went for practice at 10 in the morning and came back at 2-3 in the night. Some of my friends would drop me home. So my family (joint family) was against it. Every night we would have fights in our family. But daily, I got up in the morning and went for my rehearsals.

It was in my first zonal competition in Amritsar that my brother saw my performance for the first time. After my performance he hugged me and told me that I did great. My brother was the one who was the most against me doing theatre. After this incident no one in my family stopped me from pursuing theatre. So this is the best memory from my theatre days.

In a youth festival one forgets all their inhibitions, one makes many friends, gains in confidence and learns the spirit of teamwork. One learns to identify and deal with people. I learned all this during my theatre days. When it came to getting a job, Pitaara TV was very impressed upon seeing theatre on my CV.

What are the three skills that a theatre artist must have according to you?

First, good observation skills. That is a must. Then, the artist must know how to feel each and every emotion. And finally it is teamwork. It is important to take everyone along. If there are nine members in the team and one member sits separately, it would affect the play. When all members are together, it creates a greater impact.

What are the effects of the pandemic on the theatre industry?

It has been very difficult these past two years. Parents did not allow theatre students to go to rehearsals. Theatre artists, directors had a financial loss. It was very tough for each and everybody.

What are the career prospects open for students of theatre?

One of my friends Gurasis Singh Chadha is doing very well in the Punjabi entertainment and television industry. In Dil Diya Gallan, the show hosted by Sonam Bajwa, he was assisting there. He is also a standup comedian, an actor and song and rap writer.

A theatre student can go on to become a voice over artist, an anchor, a stage show performer. Theatre kills your stage fear as you get accustomed to performing in front of crowds. And of course, you can become an actor.

How did ACFA help you in pursuing your passion?

I understood at ACFA that if you can do well in a field and it helps you in the future then no matter whom you have to go against. One day when you’ll achieve your target, when the skill will give you a positive reward in your life, then those people will feel proud of you. I learned this during my first year at ACFA.

Arijit Roy is a young correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. He has done his masters in English literature from Delhi University and has a book of poems published by Writers Workshop India. He can be reached at [email protected]

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