Isha Koppikar: All set for a grand return
IN HIGH SPIRITS: Isha Koppikar
THE ACTRESS EYES DIVERSE GENRES
AN EXPLOSIVE acting career saw Isha Koppikar deliver dynamite performances in high-profile Indian films in various languages and genres before she slowed down to start a family.
After taking a step back from stardom, the versatile actress with a powerful screen presence is now making a welcome return in forthcoming projects across various mediums that include the web space and cinema. Like before she will be taking on diverse parts across all the genres.
When Eastern Eye caught up with Isha to speak about her career, motherhood, comeback, and future hopes, it quickly became apparent the beautiful actress had lost none of her star presence and still has that million-dollar smile.
How do you look back on your career as an actress?
I knew it was going to be hard. I just didn’t know it was going to be this hard. It takes persistence to have a life in this business. If you really are going to spend your life as an actor, then the fact is that your success and failure is one-film old. This business is not for the faint-hearted. It takes a lot of hard work and belief in yourself to even feel like you’ve got a hold of the bottom rung of the ladder.
What are key lessons it taught you when you look back?
You must learn to be patient, wait your turn and work on your skills every day. You need to work every day. That includes auditioning, doing mailings, but it is also working out, eating healthy, seeing plays, movies, new TV shows, and honing your skills. Your job is to learn the business. It’s ‘learnable’, but you do have to learn it. I don’t need to look back as I still feel like a freshie full of exuberance waiting for my next best movie and role.
Which among your many roles is closest to your heart?
Every role I have essayed has taught me something – either from the role or the people I have worked with in the film. Shabri, Kyaa Kool Hai Hum and Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi are some of the best and most memorable.
You slowed down after starting a family. How has that phase of your life been like?
Anything new you take up in life needs time, attention, and patience. As an actor, I have played all my roles to the best of my ability. (Smiles) Likewise, being a wife and then a mother is a new real-life role that I took on, and I had to play it successfully for a lifetime super-hit film and achievement award.
How has motherhood changed you?
Motherhood changes everyone because you start accepting responsibility for another person. It’s changed me in a lot of ways. Every day I wake up and learn something new with, and from, Rianna. She has taught me how to be patient and love unconditionally. Being a mother is the best feeling in the world. I am extremely lucky to have a daughter like Rianna, who is so talented, kind and so compassionate already, at such a young age.
What is the secret of balancing family life with work?
I meditate, pray, and also prioritise. For me work and family both are equally important, but I think learning how to prioritise is the key.
What does a project need to have for you to say yes?
A great script! For me, it’s all about the story we are telling the audience. If the script is great and engaging, and it’s a credible producer then I am on board.
Tell us something about your forthcoming projects?
I have got some projects lined up and my last schedule of the shoot is still pending. I shall talk to you about it very very soon, I promise.
You have played a wide array of characters in your career, but do you have a dream role?
Yes, I would love to play a double role and maybe also portray a warrior in a historical epic.
What do you enjoy watching as an audience member?
I enjoy watching comedy. I think that’s a genre that I enjoy watching as well as portraying too.
What is the plan going forward?
The plan is to be a successful human being and touch lives in whichever manner possible, through my work and business.
Who would you love to work with?
Tom Cruise, J-Lo, Amitabh Bachchan, Julia Roberts and Robert De Niro.
What inspires you?
Kindness, goodness in people to overlook flaws in others and love unconditionally without judgement.
What is the biggest life lesson lockdown taught you?
The lockdown has taught me to believe in the simple things. Life is uncertain! The pandemic came to us as a black swan, but it also made us realise that family time and our health is the most important. What we addressed during the lockdown was – we took care of our health, we took care of our family, we spent time with our family, we worked from home, we ate home-cooked meals, and we focused on ourselves as well as what is most important to us.
Why do you love cinema?
Somebody once said, ‘cinema is truth 24 times a second’. Cinema has the rarest quality for an art form, which is of being true to itself. Cinema is our life’s reflection. It breathes life into lonely and desolated people. It picks them up. It awakens the ‘inner you’ by exploration and realisation. It can evoke romance, joy, anger, sadness, envy, shame and so many other emotions in you. Cinema is also a powerful tool to express matters of social concern. I feel that cinema has the power to convey a message like no other art form.