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Confessions of an Actress: Aasheekaa

October 4, 2009

Earlier this year Ravi Teja-Illeana’s Telugu film “Kick” had just about everything to make you laugh! Amidst all that, a debutante who played the role of Illeana’s sister caught our attention. Her name is Aasheekaa. A graduate from Lee Strasberg Theater Institute, NY, Aasheekaa hails from New York, US. She talks about her dreams, passion for cinema and her foray into films…and how life has changed over the past few years.

“There is something to be said about Dreams. Not the type we see when we’re floating in the clouds, or when we close our eyes at night, or even the ones we blankly stare at in the space of our heads. But the type we see with our eyes wide open. The type we feel trickling through every nerve, every limb- dancing with every beat of our heart. The type that we just know will become Reality.

Little did I know, at the young age of three when I dreamt of becoming an actress, it was a passion that would shape my life.

Growing up, the interest began with dance. I danced all around the house,Aasheekaa observing the movements of my hands and expressions in anything that gave me a reflection- a mirror, a window and even a television [my favorite!] Before my parents mistakenly assumed their lil’ one was self-obsessed, I announced to them, at my pre-school, during a fancy dress competition [I won – and appeared in the paper for the first time], that I want to become an actress. Lucky for me, they didn’t write me off as a pestering child, and chose to harbor my ambitions.

Mom and Dad would accompany me to dance classes, stage shows, competitions and pageants [eventually the baby brother also dragged along]. I loved being on stage, center stage and SOLO! The desire to entertain was evident from the very beginning. Every special occasion, at anyone’s house, I would seat down all the guests, put on a colorful chanya choli that someone had brought over from India, and dance to “Mere haathon mein naun naun choodiyan hain.” A few years later, the choice of song had changed. And I was quickly christened with an exotic nickname at that time. Of course now, the discerning reader would understand the true meaning of its “exoticness.” Lets just say…the lyrics of a popular song from “Khalnayak” are not all-audience approved.

At a young age, my NY based family thought it was time to return to the Mother Land. I was thrilled to have set foot in the Mecca of Bollywood- Mumbai. My supportive and patient mother (God bless her for tolerating all my nakhras) continued to support my endeavors. I shot for ads, a TV show and even played a child’s role in Rani’s debut film. That’s when I knew for sure- that the camera and I have an ever-lasting relationship.

Flash forward: Return to NY.

I started to train myself in Kathak, and also in Bharat Natyam [I loved Kathak’s grace and stuck with it for 5 years]. I participated in school plays, and stage shows and then went for my first official summer acting program at 14. I wanted to stay connected to the arts and learn about my field.

The time for college [post 12th] came around. I remember speaking to the parents one day, wondering if I should even get a degree! I wanted to act-and now that my schooling was over- I could pursue my ambition full-time. However, they encouraged me to educate myself, and I agreed… the impact an education can have, combined with real-world experience, will always prove to be beneficial.  And so I went for a degree in Marketing & Finance at Fordham University, NY.

During college, I studied acting at the “Lee Strasberg Theater Institute”- it was by far one of the best experiences of my life! I learnt Method Acting, a process in which actors draw upon their own emotions and memories. I worked with a TV channel as an anchor, was the President of the Indian cultural club on campus, and worked as a marketing intern at major business institutes. I did all this, while working hard to graduate a year ahead of schedule… after all, I had not lost sight of my goal.

AasheekaaFinally! Three years of blood, sweat and tears later- I received a VERY expensive piece of paper. But for me, graduation meant much more…. it meant the time for me to set path on my ambition. The path was unclear [the only obvious point was a one-way ticket to Mumbai], but I felt good about it; I knew it was my calling.

I moved to India and learnt the meaning of the word struggle. For me, it was not an external challenge, as much as it was internal. I had to cope up with the environmental changes between India and America, accept the chaos of the city, of the industry and come to the terms with a harsh reality- that one must deal with tons of rejection! I struggled with my heart, missing home and my family, but wanting to make the unfamiliar- familiar- and fast. I realized at the very onset, that the faster I make Mumbai my home, the sooner it will accept me into its home. The positive intentions did work…and how!

Cut To: 1st portfolio shoot, followed by a few ads. (fade out)…

Cut To: Getting a call one morning from the Direction department of “Kick”!

I knew almost nothing about Tollywood! The first thing I did was to rent the DVDs of Surender Reddy’s films. I loved Atthonokkade, along with Athidi and Ashok…and it was quite obvious from the moment the film began, that he is an extremely talented director.

I gave a screen test, they liked me, I liked the project, and that’s how “Kick” happened.

My goal was to associate myself with a good project and “Kick” had all that and much more. Not many debutantes can say they worked with one of the top directors of the industry- and were a part of a super hit film. I can :)…

Post-“Kick”…I look forward to the next best thing meant for me. They say that for your first film- the script chooses you…but for the second film…you must choose your script. And choose wisely I will….but as they say… “Picture to abbi baki hai mere dost.”..”

-Aasheekaa

Aasheekaa, is an actress, model based in Mumbai. She currently endorses a jewellery brand in Hyderabad. You can follow her twitter updates at http://twitter.com/Aasheekaa


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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ankur Grover permalink
    October 4, 2009 10:46 pm

    Sweet !!! Good Luck Aasheekaa

  2. Jagdish Kakwani permalink
    October 7, 2009 11:02 am

    Very interesting—good luck always—God Bless You.

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