Surveen Chawla: I was replaced in a film by someone who had better contacts
Actor Surveen Chawla made her transition to films when she was at her peak on television. She became a known name with shows such as Kahiin To Hoga and Kasautii Zindagi Kay, and also did the Kannada film Paramesha Panwala the same year (2008) she left the fiction space on TV.
Since then, she has been a part of Bollywood films such as Hate Story 2 (2014), which was successful at the box office, and the critically acclaimed Parched (2015). Surveen has also done special appearances in films such as Welcome Back (2015) and Creature 3D (2014).
Having successfully transitioned to the big screen, does Surveen feel that having a godfather in the industry, or ‘connections’ with insiders, helps one in grabbing good opportunities?
“No,” she says, adding, “One doesn’t need to have a godfather. It’s just that everybody in the industry needs to open up to more people. Your eyes need to be able to see that there is talent in people, and it doesn’t depend on where they come from. I say this absolutely bluntly, because I feel chances should be given to more people, not just one or two or five. The creation of opportunities is very less in our country.”+ +
Prodded more about why she feels this way, the actor says, “People sitting up there, who have the background of the industry, don’t want to open their eyes! There are only, say, five people they work with. I can’t get my head around this sometimes. You need to widen your sight and horizons as there’s so much talent out there. One should have the courage and vision to pick people for the characters, and try new people.”
There’s a lot that has been said about nepotism and how the industry always launches a star kid readily, opposed to the many hurdles one has to face as an outsider. Has there been any instance when Surveen was finalised for a role, and a star kid replaced her?
“Yes, it did happen with me once. Trust me, it’s one of the worst feelings, and made me feel demotivated,” she reveals. “It happened about six years back, when I was making my [TV to films] transition. I was not scared even though I had left TV at the peak of my career. But in the middle of this transition, when I was stepping up, I was thrown back down. For what reason? The question is not of my talent, but about somebody who had better contacts; that’s it. It took me sometime to come out of it, but then other things happened, and it instilled confidence back in me,” she says.
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