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October actor Banita Sandhu reveals that she signed her first agent when she was 11

Actor Banita Sandhu admits that before she made her Bollywood debut, she also believed in the Western perception of Bollywood that is with romance, fairy tales and glamour.

bollywood Updated: Jun 26, 2018 16:06 IST
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Hindustan Times
Banita Sandhu,October,Varun Dhawan
Actor Banita Sandhu says right now she is focused to complete her studies in the UK before she signs any more films in Bollywood.

Actor Banita Sandhu became an instant sensation when she starred opposite Varun Dhawan in Shoojit Sircar’s film October. With barely any dialogues, she managed to impress everyone with her screen presence. Few in India know that the 20-year-old British Indian has been acting since her pre-teen years.

She says, “It’s so clichéd, but ever since I was young, I’ve always known I wanted to be an actress. The passion has always been there and I signed my first agent when I was 11, so I’ve been working ever since. I know to the Indian audience, it may seem like October has been a whirlwind, career-wise, but actually, it has very much been almost 10 years in the making. I’ve faced a lot of rejection in the process.” She was first directed by Sircar in an advertisement.

Read | October actor Banita Sandhu: My friends thought I’d be dancing in the mountains

When she first came here, India wasn’t an open book to Banita despite her Indian lineage. She had even spoken about the “regressive image of Indian culture” that she had in her mind. She admits that “it has definitely changed” after she did October. “When I came to India, I was just so astounded and pleasantly surprised to have so much in common with people my age. I genuinely believed, before I arrived, that we came from two entirely different worlds but our tastes in music, movies, fashion and culture are so similar. It proves that social media really is making the world a smaller place,” says the actor.

waiting for @krisjenner to be my momager

A post shared by Banita Sandhu (@banitasandhu) on

WheNot just Indian culture, but Banita also had a very different perception about Bollywood films and the stories the industry projected. She shares, “Honestly, I do believe that the Western perception of Bollywood is about romance, fairytales and glamour, which, to an extent, is true. However, I was so glad to see socially and politically motivated films like Pink, Udta Punjab, and Dangal (all out in 2016) not only being made but also being received well at the box office. It inspired me as an actress, definitely.”

Read | Banita Sandhu on casting couch: My casting began in UK, so I was very protected

Like many others, Banita, too, is impressed with the portrayal of female characters in Hindi films. “It’s amazing to see so many female-driven films being made and great to see actresses being offered these roles, which are separate from the dilemmas of the hero. Yet, there is still an abundance of objectification in commercial cinema but it’s slowly changing and it’s for sure a step in the right direction,” she opines.

After an unconventional debut, asked if she’d be keen on playing the leading lady and do some dancing, too, on-screen, an excited Banita replies, “Of course, I’m open to all genres of cinema as long as I have faith in the director and a great script.”

However, she’s quick to add, “[But] right now, my only motivation is to complete my studies. For the past year or so, it has kind of taken a back seat, so I need to give it the full attention and importance it deserves in the last push.”

Interact with Monika Rawal Kukreja at Twitter/@monikarawal

First Published: Jun 26, 2018 16:06 IST