Text by Simone Louis. Photograph by Ryan Martis. Make-up and Hair by Jean-Claude Biguine. Location courtesy: Edward Theatre, Mumbai
Why we have high hopes from this actress, about to make her Bollywood debut in Fan
Although the first thing most people might think is ‘it’s in her genes’, it took Shriya Pilgaonkar a while to acknowledge acting as a likely vocation. She had other plans, from being a competitive swimmer to a linguist — despite making her screen debut at the age of five in her father Sachin Pilgaonkar’s popular sitcom Tu Tu Main Main, which also starred her mother, Supriya.
She stresses that her parents have always encouraged her to find her own path. “It was only when I spent one month rehearsing for a 10-minute play (Freedom of Love) that my dream to pursue acting was reaffirmed.”
While studying at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai, the 26-year-old received a scholarship to do a summer course in screenplay adaptation at Harvard University. This led her to work on her own short films, Painted Signal and Dresswala, which have been screened at international film festivals. “I always thought of myself as a little director,” muses the self-confessed travel addict, whose first stage role was the lead in a play called Dilnaz and the Chocolate Cake in fourth grade (“We rehearsed with real chocolate cake!”). Shriya made her film debut in the 2013 Marathi film Ekulti Ek, followed by French film Un plus une by Oscar-winning director Claude Lelouch in 2015. This month, she makes her Bollywood debut in Yash Raj Films’ Fan, alongside Shah Rukh Khan, even as she continues to deliver stellar performances in two plays — Internal Affairs and Bombay Dying. “Film directing and acting happened gradually. Both mediums tell stories. The only thing I want is to be a part of stories.”