Hina Khan is quite a popular name on the social media and off it. The actor, who shot to fame as Akshara on the hit TV show Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, has come a long way in her decade-long career and is increasingly making her presence felt in the OTT space as well, with Unlock being her latest offering. Like the entire country, the television actor has been home-bound during the pandemic but continues to keep herself busy.
In an interview with Hindustan Times, Hina opened up about her journey from being an outsider to becoming a household name with her TV shows and OTT releases. The actor also spoke fearlessly on the prevalence of favouritism in the film industry. Excerpts:
Do you also have history of struggle as an outsider as you did not have a godfather?
I won’t deny that there is a struggle. We don’t have opportunities and have to find them and perhaps it is too much hard work. After doing 10 shows, your work may be noticed in one of them. You have to literally work you’re a** off just to be noticed by a good producer or a director. That doesn’t happen with people who are privileged or have a bank of 7-10 films. If one doesn’t work out, they still have the next project or next of next. We don’t really have that opportunity. Be it any big designer or films, you have to literally struggle to get an opportunity, especially if you have a television background, you are looked down upon. You are not given the opportunity you deserve just because you come from TV industry. This is extremely sad. We may be able to perform better than anyone else but we don’t get the opportunity. I wish there was a balance.
Some of the TV actors have made it big in Bollywood but they also had their own struggle. The tag of an outsider is always with you. And how many of them have made it big? I really looked up to Sushant, he made way for all of us. Now I don’t know, it scares me even more, I wish there was a balance – if a star kid was given an opportunity in 5-6 films, maybe we were given 3. That doesn’t happen, it‘s just one-sided. I wish talented outsiders and TV actors are given an opportunity in films.
Will you like to say something to your colleagues in the TV or film industry who are on the verge of breakdown amid such trying times?
I think we all have that breaking point in our journey. I have also been through a time when I have cried and felt bad. I haven’t gone into depression but I have faced discouragement many times by those who look down upon TV actors. It’s very discouraging. But you have to gather yourself, pick up the pieces and just try and fight back. Don’t give up, there’s a way out. I am very clear that if this doesn’t work, I’ll do this or something else. I am not stuck in life that I have to do this only no matter what. If something doesn’t work out because things are one-sided, you can’t do anything about it. I hope people understand this.
Your last film Hacked was about hacking and Unlock is about a phone app. Both revolve around the dangerous side of the internet, is it a coincidence?
Unlock is a suspense film based on the dark web. This is about an app where it talks to you and makes you do bad things. It was attempted for the first time in the Indian OTT space. We haven’t attempted such a genre before where we download an app and our wishes are granted. I think I wanted to spread more awareness and pick topics that could help people in some way (laughs). Hacked was a concept where we talk about a stalker and I really wanted people to know what a hacker and a stalker can do to you, how can he make your life a hell.
How much of a phone addict are you?
During the lockdown, this is all I have done. Sometimes I just throw my phone away. I have never been so much on phone but in this lockdown, I have just been around my phone and gadgets, else there is nothing much to do.
You have made a successful transition from television to the OTT space.
As far as the silver screen is concerned, it is now a dream for all of us at this time. I am currently focusing only on the digital platforms. I want to do another film and some web shows as we are only left with the digital option.
Will you make a comeback on television anytime soon?
I had taken a break from television for a while as I wanted to try the OTT space, luckily things worked out for me. I want to give it a little time.
You made your Cannes debut last year? Were you planning to go this year as well before it was cancelled due to the pandemic?
Yes I was supposed to go for my film this year but unfortunately things didn’t work out. I am looking forward to promoting a film at Cannes next year.
How did you spend your time during lockdown?
I did a lot of productive stuff and kept myself involved in many things. I do sketching, painting and learnt some cooking. Sometimes I read and watch stuff, I’ve watched so many films and series during the lockdown. These days it’s like we watch a film as soon as it lands on an OTT platform.
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