Interviews

‘Supporting actors add depth to the main characters in a movie’

Apeejay Noida student Bisha Chaturvedi, who recently starred in the film ‘Chintu Ka Birthday’, aspires for cinematic brilliance in Bollywood

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Celebration in a war-torn country may seem unusual. But, if a family strives to put forth their happiness first, and fight for it, they are sure to succeed. Lakshmi, i.e. Bisha Chaturvedi, who plays Chintu’s elder sister in ‘Chintu Ka Birthday’, a film set in Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s fall in 2004, is a class 12 student at Apeejay School, Noida. Talking about her experience at the sets, in an interview, she discusses how the film, her first major breakthrough, released in 2019 on Zee5 during the Covid-19 imposed lockdown. 
Edited excerpts:

Please tell us about yourself

I have always wanted to pursue acting, and I have been an active part of our school’s plays. Alongside, I have been auditioning for several roles professionally. Before starring in this movie, I was part of a music album called BraveHeart in which I worked with Salman Khurshid sir. I was in the 4th grade then, and since that time I have been passionate about acting. I have participated in several plays at school, but only in grade 8 did I get the part to play Chintu’s sister in the movie.

What was your first breakthrough?

In grade 3, I worked in a small advertisement for IBN 7 channel shot for Independence Day. It was the first time I was in front of a camera, and since then, there has been no looking back.

Anyone in your family who is part of the profession?

No, I am the first person from my family to venture into acting. My parents are both from different lines of work, my mother is an educator and my father an architect.

How did you ace your role in the movie?

I gave my audition to one of the movie’s directors, Mr. Devanshu Singh in Delhi, and he made me very comfortable with the character of Lakshmi. There was a month’s gap after my selection and the shooting of the film in Mumbai and during that time, he video-called me to teach me different dialects that I had to prepare for my role. I play a girl from Bihar in the movie, and also had some dialogues in Arabic to learn as well.

What was your experience of shooting for the film?

Bisha: I along with my father went to Mumbai in 2017 to shoot for it. My father stayed with me throughout and supported me. I had taken a month’s break from school. During my time in Mumbai, I saw the set made from scratch in front of me as the shoot sequence was in a single house. I met and worked with great actors such as Vinay Pathak Sir, Tillotama Shome Ma’am, Seema Pahwa Ma’am, and meeting them was a big thing for me. We all bonded very well on the set.

Mr. Gaurav Chaturvedi (father): Every day the director used to give us positive feedback about Bisha’s performance, and that was very encouraging.

How did you manage acting with academics?

I took some of my books to the shoot and in between them I used to study, as and how I found time. My friends helped me with the class work and once I returned, I picked up easily from where I left.

Did the school help you in your acting journey?

Bisha: The school has played a huge part in my journey and my teachers have been very supportive. I have been studying in Apeejay School, Noida since nursery, and they were the first ones to teach me enunciation that helped me during my role as well.  

Mr. Chaturvedi: When we got to know that Bisha has got the role, we went to see the Vice-Principal Ma’am at Apeejay School, Noida, Mrs. Amrita Hajela. She was the first one to encourage us, and said that one must manage studies with extra-curriculars. We were assured that things would be manageable for Bisha academically.

How did you feel when the movie was screened?

Bisha: It was unbelievable and surreal!

Mr. Gaurav: The first time I saw the movie, it was in a theatre at Siri Fort Auditorium in Delhi. It was a film festival, and as a layman I had no idea why there was so much rush for this movie. I saw the director’s vision come alive on the screen, and it was breath-taking. When the movie ended, there was a huge applause from the crowd, Bisha was called on the stage and everyone wanted to interact with her. I felt emotional and proud at the same time, seeing my child out there.

Would you be pursuing acting professionally going forward?

I am in 12th grade now and have taken a medical stream in school. I feel that I can balance a dual career, and I wish to become a doctor. I would keep auditioning for roles, and would want to go for the supporting cast because I feel that they have the power to contribute to a film more than the main character. Even though a story revolves around the main characters in mainstream Bollywood movies, a supporting cast makes it well-rounded and wholesome. This touch of theater in a movie is what I absolutely love.

What is next for Bisha?

Mr. Gaurav: Whatever she wishes to do in her life, I would encourage her. She should definitely give acting a shot, and with the right opportunity and right balance, I am sure she will ace all fields.

Mrini Devnani is Senior Correspondent (Newsroom). She covers student achievements, interviews and contributions for the website. She was a former Correspondent covering Edutech for the India Today Group, and has a passion for Social Media and Digital Marketing. You can reach her at [email protected]

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