Alumni Speak

I can confidently act in front of Amitabh Bachchan, says Priya of Maryada: Lekin Kab Tak?

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Ridhi Dogra is a television actress known for her portrayal of Priya in ‘Maryada: Lekin Kab Tak?’ and participating in ‘Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi 6’ . She also appeared in the dance reality show, ‘Nach Baliye 6’ and TV serials such as ‘Hindi Hai Hum’, ‘Maat Pitaah Ke Charnon Mein Swarg’, ‘Laagi Tujhse Lagan’, ‘Savitri’, and ‘Woh Apna Sa’. Ridhi, an alumnus of Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi, has featured in critically acclaimed web shows, ‘Asur’ and ‘The Married Woman’. In an interview, she credited the school for honing her skills and shared important tips for budding actors. Read on:

Tell us about your school life?
I was in Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park from Nursery till class 12. It was like my second home. What I remember the most from my school days is active participation in various extra-curricular activities. I was always comfortable in front of an audience and loved performing on the stage. The seeds of everything I do now were sown in school. All the credit for it goes to my dance and music teacher, Ms. Madhu Wadhwa. I am still in touch with her on Facebook. She used to literally pull me out of class and help me prepare for various competitions. I didn’t even know that I had the potential to act in me. I am deeply indebted to her and other teachers who backed me to the hilt.

What has school taught you?
I was inspired by my school song “Soaring High is My Nature”, exemplifying the fact that the sky’s the limit in the pursuit of excellence. We used to sing this song every day and I still remember it by heart. My school taught me to fly. I started choreographing in school. In class 9, we have to throw a ‘good luck party’ for students appearing in class 10 boards. For this, I choreographed a dance piece involving 30-40 students. Now, when I look back, I wonder, ‘Did I really do that?’

What advice would you give to school students?
I would say to students who are glued to books that try and learn as much as you can from extra-curricular activities. You should try and come out of your comfort zone. If you are great at academics, you must do something that pushes you beyond the world of books. That will really help you once you step out in the real world. There are so many students who have achieved academic success but they seem lost when they face the real world. The trick is to maintain the balance between academics and extra-curricular activities. For that, they need the support and guidance of adults around them.

What did you do after school?
I would like to talk about my school first. After class 10, I decided not to take Maths. I didn’t fare so well in class 10 boards as I scored around 60 per cent. But, I wanted to take Commerce because my friends were in Commerce. I requested the Principal Ma’am to admit me to the Commerce stream. She accepted my request, but put a condition that I will only be allowed to move from Humanities to Commerce stream if I scored well in the first term of Humanities. I studied so hard and eventually scored well in the first term. To my delight, Principal Ma’am transferred me to the Commerce stream. When I completed my school, I decided to follow my gut. Hence, I pursued BA (Hons.) in Psychology from Kamala Nehru College, Delhi University. I had an obsession to understand human behaviour. During college, I also took up a summer job with the Shiamak Davar Dance Academy. I was also learning dance in the academy. I ended up being in a special batch that danced with Shiamak on various shows and events. I did
my post-graduation in Event Management, PR and Brand Marketing from the
Event Management and Development Institute, Mumbai.

How did you get your first break?
I was working in Zoom channel. One day, I got an offer from the channel’s promo team. They were looking for a model, but were short on budget. So they requested me to be their model. I immediately agreed and the Promo featuring me went viral. I was staying with my aunt in Mumbai. Somebody told my uncle that a fiction show based on dancers is being planned. I was asked to appear for its audition. I cleared the audition and that’s how I got my first-break in 2007-08. I thoroughly enjoyed being in front of the camera. After a slew of small roles, I got my first meaty role in Maryada: Lekin Kab Tak?

Your advice to budding actors.
You must be extremely grounded. Don’t get carried away by glitz and glamour. What matters is what new you bring to the table. You must be prepared for a lean patch and remember it’s not
a steady 9 to 5 job. The timings are erratic. Most importantly, you need to have clarity
as to why you want to be in this industry.

Is it for the love of the craft, fame or money?
There’s a perception that in the television industry you can manage with average or poor acting skills. I have worked in television with the same dedication that I have worked on web shows. I used television to hone my skills. You can’t join television with a lax attitude. Tomorrow, if I had to act in front of Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, I wouldn’t hesitate or feel nervous. The credit for my confidence goes to television.

What are a few common mistakes TV actors make, according to you?
They sometimes take themselves too seriously as they are pampered a lot on the sets. They think they are irreplaceable. Secondly, they are not open to learning. You can’t become a prisoner of your own image otherwise you will get typecast. No one should be able to put you in a box.

“In the film and television industry you may have to work for 13-14 hours a day. It’s exactly the opposite of a 9-5 job. If the director wants to shoot a scene at 5 am, you have to do it. I am shooting on most weekends.”

-Ridhi Dogra, actress

Dheeraj Sharma is Asst. Editor (Newsroom). He covers events, webinars, conducts interviews and brings you exciting news snippets. He has over 10 years' of experience in prominent media organizations. He takes pleasure in the small things in life and believes a healthy work-life balance is key to happiness. You can reach him at [email protected]

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