She started off with supporting roles and now with London, Paris, New York, Aditi Rao Hydari is set for her first lead role. The actress says she is humbled to see how accepting and friendly Bollywood is.
"When you look from outside, it looks like a dream. But at the same time, there is fear as you hear mysterious stories like people are mean, the industry is very competitive. However, I don't think that Bollywood is such a jungle as it is made out to be," Aditi told IANS in an interview.
"People are very friendly and accepting. It is true that they judge you, but a lot depends upon how you take it onto yourself. I have no connection with the film world, but the fact that I got here and my work is being appreciated makes me feel humbled," she added.
The actress made her Bollywood debut with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Delhi 6 and later featured in supporting roles in films like Sudhir Mishra's Yeh Saali Zindagi and Imtiaz Ali's Rockstar. The roles may have been short, but she took them head on.
"I am not from the film industry and when I was getting these parts, I didn't think of them as supporting roles. I just saw the director, my role and the film," said Aditi.
"In the west also, actresses like Natalie Portman and Julia Roberts started off with supporting parts, and then came as main lead. I think it's just a natural progression. The industry is expanding and opening up... so I can only work hard," she added.
But isn't it easy to get stereotyped in the industry? Aditi agrees.
"I did face a problem initially because an image of simple, innocent girl was created in the minds of people. But I am glad to see that people saw me differently and felt I can do different roles also," she said.
Asked how she takes to criticism, Aditi said: "Criticism is important for every artist. When criticism comes from the place of love, you should listen to it and try and rectify it. When it comes from the place of hatred, you shouldn't care about it because it can ruin you and make you a negative person and that's not worth it."
The actress is now looking forward to the release of her new film London, Paris, New York opposite Pakistani actor-singer Ali Zafar.
"In the film I play the role of Lalita Krishnan, a girl from Chembur. Chembur is a place where a lot of south Indians live. She comes from a traditional home, where parents encourage education. She is very idealistic, wants to study politics. She wants to change the world.
"In the film, the character goes through three phases, how she evolves and fall in love is what the film is about," she said.
"In London, she works to create her own identity; in Paris, she is rebellious and is discovering freedom and New York will see her settling down," she added.
The movie will release March 2.