I have seen Digangana Suryavanshi ever since her TV days, and sometime it feels like we have grown up alongside each other, just across the fourth wall. There is a certain connection that I feel with her having seen her start from a young actress and go on to achieve stardom across industries. She is one of the few actors who have maintained a successful career across languages and she is also working on a web show that will complete her trifecta of mediums– TV, films and OTT. Recently, Digangana was seen in the music video of the single Ve Tu, which also featured Shaheer Sheikh and Surbhi Jyoti. The actress played a blind writer in the video and her portrayal just won my heart, and recently I got to talk with her regarding that and more. Read excerpts from the interview:
What was your reaction the first time you heard the story of Ve Tu ?
"For me, it's important that I always get to play something new on screen. It was a very instinctive decision on this one as I was getting to play a blind person, from whose point of view the whole video was, and you only get to know it by the end. It is very different and unconventional and very few roles are like that. But it is something that I am seeking in every project."
Since you were playing a blind person in the video, did you do any research to learn about their perception on things?
"I can't call it a research because that's a very big word. But I did spend some time with the sign language teacher that we had on board. Although in the song there is no such usage of sign language, but the teaser did have it. When I spoke to our coach, he told me about people who are dumb, deaf or blind, about how they perceive things and how sign language is taught to them, and that really helped. But in the end, it comes down to the sentiment. For someone who hasn't seen a tree, the way they imagine it is all up to their perception which may not be relatable in the real world. So, similarly when you are imagining someone falling in love, it's as beautiful and unique. So, to experience those feelings, you don't need to see, hear or speak."
How has the experience of doing music videos helped you?
"I like how it is a short commitment and you still get to tell a story. And when you have to tell a story within three minutes, you have to be very precise. Every shot counts here. It's easy to do something lengthy and speak a lot to communicate, but doing something short and crispy is always tricky. And that is the scene when you do songs in movies as well. As an actor, you just want to do it all and that's how it is for me."
After entering in Hindi cinema, you went to South as well where you achieved a lot of success. Do you feel that the exposure to the South cinema has helped you to return to Hindi films with more experience in your hand?
"Frankly, I never felt like I have gone somewhere and come back. I have been on a journey of my own. I have done things and even let go of things that other people might not consider to be the best choice on my part. After Bigg Boss, I thought I had done a lot on television and I wanted to do something different. And in that process, I had to say no to a lot of shows. And it didn't come out of a place that I looked down on any medium. That can never happen with me. But I remember when I was saying no to those shows, with some of them being as big as they have been, people who knew that I turned them down really criticised me. They said this is the best time and I should make the most of it. But the wait proved to be worth it when I debuted with FryDay and Jalebi that coincidentally released on the same day. That is something that has never happened before and they were both very different roles.
When I was offered my first Telugu film, the first thought that crossed my mind was not the language but the people working on it and I really wanted to work with them. I still remember the feeling when I watched Kabali's poster and wished to be in that place someday. I don't think language is a barrier anymore and if you do good work, it will be recognised everywhere. Having said that, I can never stop working in Hindi films. It's always about doing something right, like Bhima Koregaon is something I always wanted to do since I was a child. A period drama was always on my wish list and with the grandeur that it has, I know when I will watch it on screen, I will be very proud of it. It's really about what comes my way and what works the best for me. Language is the last thing I think about."
Talking of The Battle Of Bhima Koregaon, how has it been working with Arjun Rampal?
"He is so sweet and nice. It's really nice to work with people who are really good at what they do as they add so much to every scene that they are a part of. There is a lot of undercurrent learning involved and everyday is a big learning experience with them. You are always growing in their company and it never gets repetitive. His inputs on anything are so sensible, precise and collaborative. That is something I really appreciate about him."
Many TV actors say that they face a bias when they try to enter films. Have you ever faced anything as such as you also began your journey on TV?
"See, the bias begins in your head I think, and in no way I am trying to say it exists or not. It is very subjective and varies from individual to individual. So, it will be irresponsible of me to contradict someone who is coming from a different place than me. But as far as I am concerned, you call it bias, nepotism, advantage or whatever, I think it starts from your head. I have always felt a part of this industry as I literally grew up here. I knew that I had to lose weight and give time to groom myself, but that's a given. If you want to play a certain part and you don't fit into it, you cannot snatch it away from someone. There could be a little bit more work on proving yourself, I wouldn't deny that. But it goes beat by beat. As far as audience's acceptance is concerned, it comes over the course of time."
Digangana is climbing the ladder of success step by step and whenever I see her attempt such unique roles like the one in Ve Tu, I can't help but feel proud of her. This is just the beginning as I am sure there are bigger and better things written for her in the future.