What do we humans want? Why are we here? What is to be done with this life?

These questions came to me early. And having lived life a bit, I have come upon few answers.

We want to connect with others---through love, work, understanding, spirituality...the mode is unique to each, but the goal is the same. We are here because we are a part of the Creation. And the answer to the third question is the simplest. Life is to be lived.

Someone lives it making bridges, someone else picking up scrap, and yet another waging war. I for one have lived it till now committed to the arts.

Since childhood, arts for me meant literature. I read and read, all my grandfather’s books came in handy...Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, Jane Austens, the classics...offcourse followed by teenage stuff of romance novels...and fiction, lots of stories—some true, some not so much. Khalil Gibran, the Bible, the Gita, history, politics and a lot of statistics--- Malcolm Gladwell, Nassim Taleb and the likes, in a bid to find out why things were the way they were.

In school I studied science---both maths and biology. I believe that till we know what are we made of---those atoms and molecules, and offcourse the forces that keep them together, we cannot absolutely appreciate the magnificence of Creation, and thus our own existence. In college, I earned my honours degree in Chemistry.

But my love for the arts never left me.

In college, arts took the form of theatre for me, and I took to it with my all. Arthur Miller, Neil Simon, Syd Field, Lagos Egri, Stanislavisk were read with gusto. I performed street theatre, raised slogans in farmer rallies and did plays on stage. And thus started the journey into my own self.

This person whose body we have inhabited since childhood is in most cases a stranger to us. To know oneself, is both painful and difficult. But this is the journey of the actor. And the more an actor knows oneself, the more he gets a peek into another. Acting is nothing but a process which unveils the psychology of the character in question. When we meet people, what they say and truly feel, presents a gap. An actor fills up these gaps, to find the true picture of the person/character. Thus acting connects humans in ways that is deep and solid, if something important is to be said.

The other training that one gets as an actor is in the art of rejection. Most people are not saying ‘No’ to me or you. It’s them saying ‘YES’ to someone they can use instantaneously.

Life is random. Things do not always make sense. In India, a number of our exams are rigged, and thus ‘YESES’ are determined even before we take a test. My dream is to go to places and take exams which are not. That would be the test of one’s true credibility. Better systems, less corruption, and a more fair society could provide that opportunity. But for now, it is just a pipe-dream.

In India the disparity between the haves and have-nots is so huge that talk of merit is nothing but words, especially in areas where there is no level-playing field, or one exam to determine merit. Films and entertainment is one such field. Whoever is better placed/rich/connected is more deserving! There was a time when black actors in Hollywood hardly ever got nominated for Oscars. With awareness, their representation has increased mani-folds. This shows that merit and talent are subject to oppurtunities. In India, less connected/influential cannot hope for opportunities, and thus the job. But whatever be the condition one finds themselves in, the only sure way is to move forward with faith and positivity. The universe is full of opportunities, and it does know man-made boundaries. I am that child of this Universe!

In more recent years, my taste in life has shifted to elements that address the spirit within. The more I live life, the more I can see that while we each have unique traits, ultimately we are essentially one in spirit. Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi, which I had read in school, came back to me again. And this time around, I understood it as it should be understood. Slowly and steadily, I have seized to be a mere actor and spread my wings in becoming a person with empathy, who can come out of one’s immediate environment,to view the broader dance of life.

The result is I am no more identifiable as a limited entity--- an actor or a writer, an Indian, or a this or that. I feel truly a child of this universe, and for the first time in my life, I feel genuine empathy and understanding of human condition. I want to do work that positively affects people’s lives. I am no more interested in mere fame or a photo-op. I want to create, help, make, do, work, add value.

But whatever must be done, must be done right now. My mother’s death under the cruel hands of cancer has left me with a strong message--- act NOW. Life is in the NOW.

When you are around people who have cancer, you get to watch people in pain facing their destinies with dignity. You do not feel sorry for them. You admire them. You start to look at them as flowers----beautiful, tough, sensitive, holding one’s head high as long as nature allows. Actors, vulnerable and seeking, are taught to be this on a daily basis.

I thus hope to bring you cheer, merriment and relief through my work. But more than anything I wish to connect with you.

Be with me.
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I started my career with a film called ‘Ek Dastak’, a story on economic crimes. I played a newly recruited IRS officer who learns how the rich keep their money away from taxation and how scruples suffer when money glistens.(Offcourse at that time I did not know that less than 1% of India pays taxes.)

Yashraj’s 26 episode miniseries, ‘Powder’, directed by Atul Sabharwal, came next. I played a sexy escort cum police informer, Julie. It is presently on Netflix.

In Yashraj’s ‘Kismet’, I played a psychotic charater called Vasudha who is obsessed with her lover. I also acted in Yashraj’s ‘’, also on Netflix.

These helped me to get parts in mainstream cinema in ‘Knockout’ and ‘Rockstar’. Though these were small parts, I was noticed. But I wanted more significant work which could not be edited on the editing table.

In the world of Indian Cinema, connections are everything. Lead roles go to those who do not audition. For others like me, years of toil awaits. For newcomers in India, I would advice an entry through Miss India or other such pageants. They are essentially looking for beautiful and bold women. My theatre background made me believe otherwise. I wanted to be a great artist, and was ready to toil to be one. Alas, years of reality has cured me of any such illusion! However, my committment to excel has not waned.

Malcolm Gladwell, the author of best-sellers ‘The Tipping Point’ and ‘Blink’ wrote ‘Outliers’ too. His books are based on statics and research of experts, and tell us about conclusions and patterns that we overlook in our everyday life. He talked about the 10,000 hour rule in his book…the time one needs to put into their craft in order to be prepared for brilliance or to be ready for great things to happen them. I had been working on my own 10,000 hours. I was doing television commercials, and taking hundreds of auditions.

A significant role in the feature film ‘Saheb, biwi aur gangster’ got me the blinks. I played the mistress Mahua in this critically acclaimed caper of betrayals, by Tigmanshu Dhulia. They said I had intensity, believability and ease at portraying the insecurity, intimacy and beauty of Mahua. It was a step ahead.

I put on seven kg of weight for my next film ‘Premmayee’ to play the lead character of Payal Mishra, IPS and a woman whose husband is unable to come to terms with her success and manipulates her in the name of love...till she understands what true love really means.

After playing a seductress and a woman in pain, in last two films, I needed to laugh and make people laugh. So when I got the offer for a spoofy comedy character in Inder Kumar’s film ‘Supernani’, I went for it! However with my mother’s illness, my world changed. I did not want to work, and only completed films that I had already taken up. In Rajshri’s Samrat and Co., I played a girl with paranormal powers.

Meanwhile, I wrote a song called ‘Sharm laaj’ for Soumik Sen’s film Gulab gang. It was shot on Madhuri Dixit and gang.

After my mother’s death with cancer, I came back to work again. I played the heroine in ‘Dui Bon’, in Rabindranath Tagore Stories by Anurag Basu, now on Netflix.

Thereafter I did feature film ‘Laal Rang’,opposite Randeep Hooda wherein I played a govt. clerk in the blood procurement department whose hands are coloured red by the blood of corrupt money.

I have also done a film called ‘Tabeer’, shot at 14,500ft above sea level at Sach Pass in Himachal on way to Spiti Valley. It is an army-based film, and I play Major Roshni Sharma, who has left a child back home, to fight the battle at the border, only to be taken hostage by the enemy.

I did a special appearance in Abhay Deol’s Nannu ki Jaanu, playing a Con-woman who pretends to have the ability to call ghosts. Besides that I have completed a film called ‘Murder at Koi Fiza’, in the title role. The film is based on a girl, whose ambitions are too big for her own good, leading to murders and mayhem.

I have also completed a BBC India comedy telefilm called ‘Phir Masti’, slated to come on Star Gold. A webseries with a paranormal story opposite Rajeev Khandelwal, is also ready. All this work is slated to release in next one year.

I have also done several television commercials in the last year---Phone Pe, JSW ceilings, Tata Tea Chakra Gold, Scotch-brite etc.

Hope you will watch my work and give me some love !
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  • Rabindra Nath Tagore Story
  • Shreya Narayan in Supernani
  • Laal Rang
  • Scotch Brite Antibacterial
  • Interview
  • Bharat Matrimony
  • Song : Kuchh Kariye
  • Song : Raat Muje
  • Vodafone
  • Scene from Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster
  • DB Reality
  • TIDE Ad
  • Bharti AXA ad
  • Action Scene Prem Mayee
  • Scene from Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster
  • Castrol CRB Turbo

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Hindi Lok to Shreya Narayan
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