Debutant actor Aahana Kumra, who will soon make her Bollywood debut with The Blueberry Hunt, confesses that she always dreamt of being an actor. The other option was joining the police force, like her mother Suresh Balyan Kumra, a former CBI officer, who is now a deputy superintendent of police.
The Lucknow girl moved to the city and enrolled into Subhash Ghai’s Whistling Woods acting school to pursue her starry dream. It’s here that Aahana first crossed paths with her mentor Naseeruddin Shah. “The first time I met sir (Shah) was with my entire batch. He sat in the classroom and all of us were in awe of him. He looked at each one of us and said, ‘I’m not here to make you people stars. I’m here to make you good actors.
ke baad koi bhi mere paas kaam maangne nahi aayega
,’ (Don’t come to me for work after this course). He wanted each one of us to become capable actors,” she recollects.
After completing her training, the young actor joined Shah’s theatre company Motley, which he had founded along with Benjamin Gilani in 1979. “Sir (Shah) believes and has taught me that the only way anyone can work in Motley is by constantly working on ourselves.”
Ironically, as luck would have it, it was the veteran actor who offered the newbie her first break. Recalling the call Shah made to inform her about auditions for an upcoming movie, Aahana says, “Sir was extremely attached to my batch and never failed to call us whenever actors were required for a movie or a play. He thought I suited the character requirement for the part of Jaya in The Blueberry Hunt. I auditioned and a week later received a call of confirmation from the director, Anup Kurian. I was thrilled to act in a film with Naseer sir.”
The Blueberry Hunt, which will release on September 16, stars Shah in the lead, playing a marijuana plantation owner. “He taught me a lot about acting while shooting for the movie. He told me there is no such thing as an over-rehearsed actor. And that only if I rehearse my scenes well will I be more comfortable in front of the camera and will get the right instinct,” says Aahana.