Actor Kritika Kamra has never stuck to the fixed formula of daily soaps. Kritika tried different genres and content in her projects and has mostly done finite shows, contrary to the general pattern of the Indian television industry, and yet she managed to give us some memorable performances.
Kritika’s Arohi Sharma in Kitani Mohabbat Hai opposite Karan Kundrra may be her most beloved role to date, but she is impressive in other shows as well. Be it a girl who falls in love with an older man in Kuch Toh Log Kahenge, or plays a TV journalist alongside Rajeev Khandelwal in Reporters, or for that matter the new-age Chandrakanta stars in the remake of the iconic show, Kritika has been open to experimenting. The actor was last seen in Amazon Prime Video’s Tandav.
For Kritika, it all started early in her life when she just got out of school and acting came to her without any planning. Here’s what she shared about wrapping up her first acting project and how it’s all been going since.
What was your first acting project? How did the project come to you?
My first project was Yahaan Ke Hum Sikandar on Zee Next. It was a college drama about a bunch of friends.
I was in NIFT Delhi, in my freshman year, just studying for a few months. It was a Monday afternoon and I piled up my class and sat outside. A group came up to us and said they were auditioning for students for a show and if we wanted to audition. I sat with a friend who was very excited. She was part of the street play group and was very active in it. I just went with her to keep her company and also because I didn’t want to go to class. I had no idea what an audition meant. I thought it was an interview where they would ask me to do a sketch. But there I found the right light, the camera setup.
That audition was for Dill Mill Gayye, which was Sanjivani Season 2 for the same production house. I auditioned for that and they said I looked very young. They wanted postgraduate students and I had just left school. They said they had a different script and wanted me to try it. I remember wearing this oversized jacket and somehow it gave them the impression that I’m tomboy-esque, which I definitely am not. But they gave me this stereotypical tomboy character to play Arshiya. I did that audition and forgot. Months later I got a call and they said they wanted me to do a can test for this other show, discuss contract and stuff, and when everything falls into place I have to move to Mumbai. I think I was on a trip, and I said “yes why not!” I called my parents and told them. My mom went with me and we came for the look test. I met everyone at Cinevista and got the final touches. I’ve told my HoD and everyone in college that I’m taking a 6 month break. I’ll come back and repeat my semester and finish my course, which never happened!
What do you remember from your first day on set?
The first day of shooting was at Sophia College, and everyone was there. I watched the shoot all day and was a wreck when my scene was due to take place. I kept practicing my line all day, but my scene didn’t happen. So I went back without firing. That’s how my first day went. That taught me the valuable lesson of patience in this industry (laughs).
It happened on the second day. I couldn’t hit the target the first few times because I had no idea how to do it without looking down. I didn’t know what “light lo” means. I had a lot of problems, but being the youngest on set I was really spoiled. All these guys were really nice to me and took care of me – the director, DoP, my cast members. They would give me time.
Yahaan Ke Hum Sikandar aired on Zee Next between 2007-2008.
Were you nervous? How many resits have you done?
I took a few takes and managed to get my first scene on the second day. Once I was in front of the camera, things went well. That has given me the confidence that I can do this. Somehow I thought it would be scary, but I sailed on. Luckily I wasn’t camera conscious.
Overall, I was really fascinated with this whole process of filmmaking, how a jimmy jib moves, the exposure process, camera focus, everything, and not just what happens in front of the camera. I was like a kid in the candy store, crazy about a set. Everything was so interesting to me. So I just sat next to the monitor, behind the director. That was my corner I found on the first day.
How was your relationship with your co-stars when you later met or worked with them?
The show had Ravi Dubey, Toral Rasputra and many of us. Rituraj Singh and Sujata Sehgal played elders and Payal Nair played my mother. Ravi and I became good friends during that show. He literally showed me Mumbai. There were times when I arrived to sit with him, went back with him because I said I was this new person in Mumbai and he really took care of me in that sense. Our director was also very nice. And some of us became good friends. For me it was a very warm welcome to the city. There were great vibes on set, no crazy competition.
If you had the chance to go back to your debut role, what would you like to change or do better?
I would do anything different about Arshiya. It’s horrifying today. I hate seeing myself on screen in general because when I do I always think why I did this, I could have done that, this is so bad… I never enjoyed looking at myself to watch. I only do that on the monitor to correct things and learn my mistakes. I hope there’s nothing from Arshiya on the internet either, because I could have done everything so much better.
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A movie or role that inspired you to become an actor?
My dad is a movie buff, so the Bollywood ness comes from him in my family. We grow up like any other Indian child, influenced by Bollywood. Even our fashion, crushes and love stories happen with Bollywood music playing in the background. I was like that too. Very early on I danced to this song “Yeh Galiyan Yeh Chaubara”. I have no idea why they made me dance to this depressing song. It’s such a sad song for a 3-4 year old. And my first and everlasting love was Shah Rukh Khan.