SHAMITA SHETTY TALKS ABOUT HER BIG REALITY TV SUCCESS
ACTRESS Shamita Shetty skilfully turned the tables on lockdown by following up a memorable turn on Bigg Boss OTT with a popular appearance on Bigg Boss 15.
Both reality shows, which involve celebrities being locked up, enabled the actress to show her real side. In doing so, she received a tidal wave of support from around the world and got the kind of love she perhaps hasn’t received in her career.
Now the multi-talented film and TV star is looking to build on that super success with a host of exciting projects on multiple platforms, which her army of fans are eager to see. Eastern Eye caught up with the actress to discuss her Bigg Boss 15 journey, love she has received, future hopes, inspirations, a social cause close to her heart and what she most likes about boyfriend Raqesh Bapat, whom she met on Bigg Boss OTT. She also spoke about what acting means to her, the art of being fearless and mastering something new.
How do you look back on your journey as an actress and TV personality? It has been a long journey of ups and downs. I started with the best debut anyone could ask for in the industry with Yash Raj Films. After that, when you start off with the best, it is difficult to compromise with the quality of work. The sort of person I am, I’ve always given importance to quality over quantity, which led me to choose fewer films and do less work. I would have liked to have done more work, but that’s just the way it was meant to be. Absolutely no regrets! I’ve learned a lot from my journey. It’s made me the person I am today. But I never thought I would be an actor.
Really, what was the plan? I always thought I would join my father’s business. From there, I went on to do fashion designing and then I came to join the film industry. Then I went on to study interiors and from there I went back into television with Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa. I think my journey has just been very unpredictable. There’s really no point in making so many plans. Life just unfolds the way it’s meant to, at the right time. Whatever is meant to happen just happens. I thoroughly enjoyed all the reality shows and learned so much about myself, as a human being and person, my strengths, what I can and cannot do. Today, the kind of love I’m seeing after I’ve come out of Bigg Boss is very overwhelming. It’s beautiful to have so many people send such positive energies your way. I truly feel blessed.
What made you want to participate in Bigg Boss OTT? Bigg Boss OTT was offered to me a while back. I wasn’t really doing anything at that time, as you know most of us were sitting at home with no work due to Covid. At a time like this, I didn’t want to give up an opportunity to do work, so decided to go ahead and take part. It was just a six-week show, so I didn’t really see any issue with that.
What about Bigg Boss 15? Bigg Boss 15 was something I had not committed to and was not going to do it. But then I got out of OTT and saw the response I got. The love I got! That led me to say yes to Bigg Boss 15. I think I made the right decision because a lot of people have appreciated me on the show. Now, there’s a lot of good work coming my way, so there’s some good positive changes.
Would you have done anything differently? Absolutely not! Everything that happened was meant to happen and I was meant to learn my lessons the way I was meant to, so I wouldn’t do anything different.
What was the most memorable moment from your journey? It was when Raqesh (Bapat) and Neha (Bhasin) entered the house, I think for the Diwali episode. I think that was the happiest day for me in that house.
How did you feel emerging to such huge support? It has been the most gratifying feeling to come out and just be appreciated for the person I am. The human being I am. This is not about being applauded for the work I’ve done or am doing. Bigg Boss is about being you and people out there got to know the real me and they liked it. That is the most gratifying feeling. I’m so happy. I was very surprised with the kind of feedback, love and support I received as soon as I got out of the house. It’s a beautiful feeling to receive this kind of love from people who now finally know the real Shamita.
What advice would you give future Bigg Boss participants? Well, just know that this is a very tough show to be in. It really takes a toll on you, mentally and emotionally, so be prepared for it. Just be natural and who you are. I have never believed in doing or saying things for effect. The more natural you are, the more people connect with you. That would be my advice to all future Bigg Boss contestants.
What is the plan going forward? There’s lots happening! There’s a lot of work coming in. Lots of good scripts from different platforms. So, I’m currently in the process of reading a lot of scripts. There are music video offers, and lots happening, so hopefully, I’ll make some announcements soon.
Is there a dream role you would love to portray as an actress? I don’t know what my dream role is. All I know is right now I want do a lot of good work that is challenging. Something that really makes me work on that character to become that person, whether it’s the dialect or look. That is something I would like to be a part of or do. I like strong characters. I love comedies. I love negative characters, so there’s so much that I want to explore. So, it’s difficult to really choose one.
What does acting mean to you ? Performing is my first love. When I’m in front of the camera portraying a character, it’s just a beautiful moment because I actually lose myself. It’s actually amazing that you get the opportunity to be so many different characters. That’s exciting and very healing in so many ways. I absolutely love performing, so it’s my first love and makes me very happy.
What connected you to Raqesh Bapat and what do you most like about him? I think with Raqesh and I, our souls just connected and there’s no running away from that. I love his simplicity. He’s an artist and absolutely love that side to him. He’s also very grounded and a very solid human being. There’s so much that I love about him.
What inspires you? People who never give up in the face of adversity or negativity and pursue their dreams relentlessly, and achieve their dreams eventually, I think their journey inspires me. It makes me want to do better and never give up. It gives me hope. That a little bit of faith and hope can take you a very long way in life, so never lose that.
If you could master something new what would it be? I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano or guitar. Music has been a very integral part of me all my life. I’ve always wanted to learn to play an instrument, so maybe I’ll finally get down to doing it. Most probably, I’ll learn to play the piano.
You have done a lot of work for various social causes. Which one is closest to your heart? I work a lot with Help Age India. They basically do a lot of work for the elderly, in terms of bringing them the respect and love that they deserve. A lot of them are abandoned by their families. Help Age focuses on giving them a life that they deserve. Help them understand the rights that they have, so should not be treated a certain way by family members. So, especially after my father passed away, I started working with Help Age a lot more. This cause is very close to my heart.
Would you say you are fearless? I’m definitely not someone who runs away from something that scares me or is difficult. I like taking on challenges. It’s a different high for me. I love learning something new because that’s eventually what happens when you overcome your fear. When you try something new, you learn something new from it. So, I don’t know if I would say I’m fearless. There’s definitely a lot that does scare me, but I will just say that I don’t run away from those fears. I face all my fears head on.
Tell us something not many people know about you? (Laughs) After being on a platform for six months, OTT and Bigg Boss on national television, which people are watching worldwide, just being me, I don’t think there are any secrets. I think people know a lot now about me. Maybe, I’ll keep a little bit to myself and not reveal the little bit that is left over. That’s just my secret.
What is the best advice you ever got? Live and let live or for that matter just try not to judge anyone because everybody is the way they are because of all the experiences that they have had in their life. Everyone has their reasons for being the way they are. Try to experience people without being judgemental. That’s something I try my best to do. Having compassion for others definitely helps a lot. It also helps in forgiving those who actually cause you a lot of pain as well or have hurt you in some way.
Would you like to give a message to your fans? Life is so unpredictable. Things can just change one fine day. Things can just end one fine day. All I would say is love more, hate less, have a little compassion, judge less and just live your life to the fullest. Don’t let worry take over your existence. Like I said, life is so unpredictable and the only thing we have in our hands is our present. All we can do is live it the best way possible for a better future.