“Star kids”- we have already had a number of discussions around this and also read a number of things. What we don’t know is that there is another side to the story as well. Shriya Pilgaonkar, who is actors Sachin Pilgaonkar and Supriya Pilgaonkar‘s daughter, has carved a different path for herself in the movies. She agrees to the fact that star kids have more knowledge about the industry because their parents know the business but they have their own set of pressures too. “There might be ease in certain things but you cannot guarantee success based on whose child you are. You might get one opportunity but sustaining yourself in the business is entirely up to you,” she said. She also emphasized that if someone wants to be something basic then they can, but if they want something magnanimous, then they have to create their own path. “Everyone has seen examples of celebrity children who deserve the opportunity, who have done well and who have remained where they are. It would be unfair to make celebrity children feel apologetic of the opportunity,” she said.
Shriya’s journey has been interesting. She made her Bollywood debut with Fan opposite Shah Rukh Khan, she has also directed short films and has been a part of international plays. “I was very clear that I always wanted to work in different industries. I was also clear that whatever I wanted to do it’s going to be on a global scale, no matter what profession it is. Which is why I always want to maintain a balance between work in India, in different industries, and internationally. I like the challenge of learning a new language. All the things I have done until now, I have genuinely believed in those projects, irrespective of how they have done.” Her mind is very open to opportunities and she wants different experiences. “When a project comes to me, the first thing I ask myself is, ‘Do I want this experience?’. It just so happened that my first film was Marathi, my second was French, a Hindi film happened and now I am doing a trilingual. Of course, my international project, Beecham House (upcoming British television series) happened. As long as I am known as a good actor and different kind of parts come to me, I will be content,” she said.
Shriya was also a part of Mirzapur, the web series and it did bring her fame “Of course at different levels I am enjoying my share of fame especially after Mirzapur (web series) which I feel has really changed my momentum of career suddenly. I realized how important it is to be a part of something that many people watch,” she said, adding, “Stardom is not something you can chase. It will come if it has to come.”
Shriya will next be seen in the remake of Haathi Mere Saathi which is going to be a trilingual film and she even shared an anecdote related to it. “Lesley Nicol, one of my Beecham House co-stars, gifted me a poster of an elephant whose name was Chanchal which is also my character’s name in Beecham House. She wished me luck and gave it to me. The only picture I have on my whiteboard is of this elephant staring at me. I wake up and I see this elephant. Soon after I got this project and again that was such a huge sign.”
“He is so humble and down to earth,” Shriya said about her Haathi Mere Saathi co-star Rana Daggubati. Shriya will be seen as a journalist in the film which is going to release in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. Sharing about what the film is based on, she said, “The story is based on the relationship of animals and humans and the entire conflict of encroaching on their land. It’s such a relevant thing.”
Shriya also had something to say about her first Bollywood co-star, Shah Rukh Khan. She shared the story when she met him for the first time. She stated, “I was assisting this director and she took me to YRF for some work. We finished some work and when we came up, we saw Shah Rukh Khan standing there. The director said she would introduce me to him and I said okay. He obviously knows my parents but we’ve never met before. I went to him, she introduced me and we shook hands and then he said ‘Mashallah, so beautiful!’ I completely died at that moment. This was before I became an actor. Sometimes when you meet people you feel an immediate sense of comfort and some sort of vibe or connection but you don’t know what it is. I am sure thousands of people feel the connection with Shah Rukh, but in that moment there was something very different.” She also shared what she took back from her experience of working with a star like SRK. “What I took back is how important it is to lead a full life. And as an actor it’s not just about acting, he’s such a well-read person. I clearly remember this moment where we were shooting in Delhi in an actual colony and in between a shot, we both were sitting in a car and discussing books we like. At that moment, the star SRK seemed so human and I realised, like everyone else, he also wants to prove himself to do better and is still so hard working. For me, that was extremely inspiring because that is how you relate to the people you look up to.”
Shriya concluded saying, “Honestly, I have always wanted a career where my work takes me to different places and I get to travel and meet new people. I am happy. I would say it’s a good sign that 2019 has started like this.”