You’d most likely know her as Shabnam from Begum Jaan. Her role, though small, was a crucial one. But it was her intimate scene with Naseerudin Shah that attracted so many eyeballs. From being a model in her college days, to now a full-fledged actress who’s worked in various film industries, Mishti has come a long way. Here she spills the beans on how she got into the industry, and what she’d be doing had she not made it to the big screen.
After debuting in the Bollywood film
Kaanchi: The Unbreakable in 2014, you’ve worked
in several South Indian movies. Which industry do you prefer?
I think every industry has its own speciality. Having said that, I’d say I’m most comfortable in Bollywood. It’s easy for me to speak the language and all my people – family, extended family and friends – only watch Bollywood films, so I get a feeling of being at home with Bollywood.
There’s so much to learn from every industry; although filmmaking is the same everywhere, it’s the language, culture, and people that are different. Working in different industries broadens your horizon. It’s fascinating, and I feel privileged to have the chance to work in so many different languages.
How did you get your break in cinema?
It’s a very short and simple story. I was a model while in college, and my posters were out on hoardings. So I got an offer for a Bengali film with superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee. After completing this film I was with my friends when I got a call from Arindam Ray, who was the assistant director of Kaanchi, asking me to come to Mumbai for an audition. He had gone to Subhashji for an interview for the post of assistant director. During his meeting he showed him pictures of me, and Subhashji liked them. That’s how it happened.
Was acting always on the cards?
It wasn’t! I started off when I was very young, when I hadn’t even decided what I wanted to do in life. I was interested in modelling and showbiz the way every teenager is, but it wasn’t a serious dream or anything. It just happened by chance.
You’ve received great reviews for your role in Begum Jaan. What was it like to work alongside Vidya Balan?
I feel obliged to get such great reviews and appreciation for Begum Jaan. A lot of people have been messaging me on Facebook; I get around 5,000 messages a day! And although it was a very small role, and in fact the first film in which I did not play the lead character, I still feel happy and thankful to the director for giving me this opportunity.
Working alongside Vidya Balan was amazing. She’s a gem of a lady, absolutely down to earth, and affectionate.
Who’s been your favourite co-star so far?
As I mentioned, Vidya Balan is the best co-star I’ve had. I also recently did a short film with K.K. Menon, and he too is a great artist to work with. You get to learn a lot from such actors; they’re very inspiring.
Your latest Telugu film, Babu Baga Busy, placed you in a comic role. What sort of response did you receive for it?
Babu Baga Busy was a comedy film but my role was not exactly comic; it was a bit serious. I had a great part to play in the male protagonist’s life, because my character was the one he fell in love with and this changed his approach to life. But yes, it was a good experience because it was a different kind of movie.
Any actor/director you’d like to work with?
Topping the list would definitely be Amitabh Bachchanji. I watched his film Pink recently, and I’m in awe of his performance. I’d love to do a role like Taapsee’s. Amongst directors I’d love to work with Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, Anirudh Rai, Mohit Suri, and Imtiaz Ali.
Are there any particular remakes you’d like to be part of?
I haven’t thought of this before. But now that you’ve asked, I think I’d like to be part of Khalnayak, which was directed by Subhash Ghai.
If not an actor, what other professions might you have chosen?
Hmm…maybe a professor because I was good in academics. My mom always thought I’d teach and my other family members thought I’d become a doctor. But I never really thought anything for myself. Ever since my teenage days I’ve wanted to be a model and Miss India. But I’m extremely happy that I’m in this profession today, and that I’m successful in what I do.
What do you do in your free time?
I don’t get much free time nowadays, but when I do, I spend it with my dog or with my close friends. I’m quite an introvert, so I only have a few close friends who I chill with at house parties. I also enjoy going shopping with my mom.
Because of my busy schedule it’s difficult to nurture any hobbies. But when I get time I either paint or write poems.
What’s your beauty regimen?
It’s very simple. I don’t go to beauty salons; in fact, it’s been a year since I’ve gone to one. I haven’t even had my eyebrows shaped in that long. The most important things to focus on in order to look beautiful and healthy are a good diet and sufficient sleep. I’ve turned vegetarian recently, and it’s helped me a lot. I now feel cleansed and refreshed. I also cleanse my face well, remove my makeup, and handle my skin carefully. I don’t rub makeup on my face; I only dab it and I avoid using anything with chemicals. And of course, I have my vitamin E capsules and B complex. --- as told to Niharika