Priya Banerjee on her Journey
Priya Banerjee is a Canadian actress who has worked in Tollywood, Bollywood and the Tamil film industry. She made her acting debut with the Tollywood movie Kiss. She was also seen movies like Joru, Madrasi, 2016 The End, Dil Jo Nah Keh Saka. In 2015, she was seen in Aishwarya Rai starrer Bollywood film, Jazbaa. She’s currently shooting for Goldie Behel’s webseries Marry Me, Stranger. Soon she’ll be seen opposite actor Karanvir Bohra in Bollywood movie Hume Tumse Pyaar Kitna, and Bollywood movie Dheet Patange opposite popular TV actor Shivin Narang.
Excerpts from an interview.
When did you know that you want to be an actress?
I actually always enjoyed acting. I’ve done a lot of theater growing up. I was always very fascinated with showbiz, drama and theater. I did a lot of pageants. I was a TV show host growing up. As a kid I did a lot of these things, but I didn’t really know I would make it my profession. But when ‘Kiss’ (Telegu debut movie) happened as soon as I finished my acting course, it just became a part of my life. I enjoyed so much and I knew this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
You made your acting debut in Tollywood with the movie ‘Kiss’? Being from Canada, how was the working environment? Did you feel like an outcast or hard to fit in?
‘Kiss’ was my first movie which was a Telegu movie. It was an amazing work environment. Sesh Adivi who played the lead and also directed the movie, he himself wasn’t from India, he’s from San Francisco . So, we instantly connected. Everybody was extremely sweet. Initially, the language seemed really difficulty but they flew this person down from Hyderabad to teach me Telugu. We shot the movie in San Francisco and I never once felt outcaste. Even now, in Bombay, I meet so many people who aren’t even from here but they’re working here. It’s a very cosmopolitan environment. The industry itself is very accepting.
You made your Bollywood debut with the movie ‘Jazbaa’ alongside Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Shabana Azmi. How was your experience working with them?
Yes, Jazbaa was my Hindi debut. Shabani Azmi played my mother which was kind of terrifying at first. My first scene in Bollywood was with the most talented actor. We then rehearsed the scenes but I did not feel nervous. Although she’s so experienced, she was so humble and down to earth. Everybody on the set was so amazing to work with!
You bagged the lead role on Goldie Behl’s webseries,’ Marry Me Strange’r. Can you talk about your character you’re playing?
Yes, I’m doing Goldie Behl’s webseries and Anuja is playing the lead role as Rivanah, a girl who gets stalked. I’m playing Ishita which is quite an interesting character. The inspiration of the character is taken from Lisa Haydon from Queen, and Deepika Padukone from Cocktail. When I was first told about this role, I was a little skeptical whether I can do it. But the director Faruk Kabir and Goldie Behl convinced me to do it. They had a lot of faith in me that I could do it. I had never played a character so crazy and out-there. So, I was really excited to take it up as a challenge and did it!
Web series are the next big thing in India. Agree or disagree?
Web series are the next big thing in India. I think most of the webseries that are being produced are doing reallly well. This is really interesting because everybody has a phone and watching a movie on your phone is much easier than going to a theater. I think web series are the present and the future!
What would be your dream role to play? And what makes you sign up for a movie? Is the character you’d play, the storyline or the cast?
I feel like there’s so many dream roles that I’d love to play! I love Kangana’s character in Fashion, I love every role she takes up. I love her character in Queen as well. I like taking up roles that are interesting and challenging. I love to experiment!
What are your future projects?
Next year I have a lot of releases. I have a couple of web shows and two Bollywood movies releasing.