BWW Interview: Model Turned Theatre Actor Shruti Agrawal On Her Debut Play
After enjoying the catwalk for many years, model Shruti Agrawal is all set to make her theatre debut. Shruti first got noticed with her Kingfisher Swimsuit Calendar debut, back in 2006. For over a decade she has been cat walking for all the major fashion weeks and prestigious fashion brands in India.
Now, the talented model is all set to embark on an acting career with her debut play - The Inspector General. Based on Nikolai Gogoi's classic play, The Inspector General is a satirical comedy. The story revolves around a family of con-artists who are wealthy diamond-merchants. A visit by a stranger whom the family suspects to be a tax commissioner results in a series of unexpected events.
BWW catches up with a very excited Shruti Agrawal on acting on stage and future projects.
BWW: From runway to live stage. Talk to us about this transition
SA: When I was a model, many people from within the industry would advise me to join Bollywood. But at that time I was so busy enjoying my work that I did not take acting or the process of acting seriously. Also I have to admit that my radar and awareness was limited to modeling then. I was so immersed in the whole act of it. But somewhere in 2015, I really had the urge to explore and get out. So, in mid 2016 i took a year long break to spend quality time with my family and do nothing. This break gave me a good perspective and in 2017 when I got back to Mumbai I met my wonderful acting teacher Jeff Goldberg, who I can easily say is the master of method acting in India. Since then I have been training at the Jeff Goldberg studio and I love it there. I am and i have learnt a great deal about acting there and it is one of the best times of my life.
BWW: Do you think cat walking is in any way similar to acting on stage. Since at bith times you are in front of a live audience
SA: Yes, to an extent it is. But when you are on the runway, you strut in and out -- most times with a deadpan expression or in some cases with whatever brief we are given by the show directors. So, the extent of showcasing your personality is very limited. But acting on stage opens up a whole new avenue to explore your emotions, expressions and personality. You feel good that you are able to speak and act on stage and spectators are connecting with you or your character and it is a wonderful thing.
BWW: Lets talk about your big debut. What has being on the stage taught you?
My debut is just days away. We will be having another 4 shows in September. The prep work towards the play, has been cathartic in a way. I have discovered funny and weird aspects about my personality. Also the play is a mad comedy so it teaches you even more to use the stage to your advantage. Basically, the play is a culmination of what i have learnt through the whole curriculum of the studio and now I have to pull it into action.
BWW: Talk to us about the play?
SA: The play is called The Inspector General and it is written by famed Russian playwright Nikolai Gogol. Ours is a Mumbai adaptation and we have this crazy Mehta family who have more money than they can handle and how they are eventually conned by a stranger. The rehearsals have been a riot and we are a good hilarious bunch. There is always a banter going on off stage and that it all translates well on the stage too. Hope the audience can enjoy and connect to that nerve.
BWW; Do you intend to be a full time actor now?
SA: Yes, I want to do theatre full time and acting is what I want to do now with films being the ultimate goal. Right now, this play is my focus as its my debut and after this I want to liaise with work oriented people, do more plays and hone my skills.
BWW: Tell us about your modeling journey and your career highlights?
For me to usher into the modeling world with the hit music video Main Deewana, followed by Kingfisher calendar, fashion weeks, endorsements etc set the precedent for a wonderful career. The modeling industry just embraced me so beautifully and I am grateful for that.
The Inspector General by Nikolai Gogol.
Directed by Jeff Goldberg
When: September 7-9, 8pm
At: Jeff Goldberg Studio, Khar, West, Mumbaiwant