Actress Avika Gor, who started doing south cinema after her show Sasural Simar Ka, says she did this with the intention of adding weight to her filmography before trying her hand at Bollywood.
“I think it was a conscious decision to do south cinema, before working in Bollywood. When I started doing Sasural Simar Ka, I was 12-13 years old and I was playing a character who was 20 years old. I knew that people would look at me as a grown-up. I also started to see a lot of Hindi projects but they were not at a level that I would want to launch with. This is why I decided to start with south cinema and that would bring in a lot of experience. I thought this would add value to my standing in Bollywood as well. However, I did not decide that I would be part of a Telugu film, that was unplanned. Starting with regional cinema added a lot of value to my career graph,” she says.
Generally, child actors take a break and then relaunch themselves as grown ups. However, Avika did not choose to do this. “The reason I did not want to take a break was because in Sasural Simar Ka, people had already seen me as a grown up. I personally know a lot of people who take breaks and then come back but I did not want to take that break. Also, I loved being on the sets every day and I just could not think of myself not doing anything,” she says.
However, she did take off for a year. “After Sasural Simar ka, I took a long one-year break from TV before my show Laado launched again. That break was helpful for me to realise what I wanted to do. Generally, kids get this break after their 12th, when they decide the stream they want to go in. But I didn't get that time, so I decided that after Sasural Simar Ka. During that break, I learned a lot of things from editing to directing and I was doing a lot of things behind the camera. I realised that I love being in front of the camera. It's just about grooming myself, being the ideal Bollywood beauty that people want me to be,” she says.
However, it all came at a price, or at least that’s what she felt at times. “There were times when I used to feel that I am not able to enjoy myself like a normal teenager. One day, I wanted to go for a night stay and my mom allowed me, and that made me feel like I can be normal as well. It’s just the thought that I am building in my head about how I cannot be with my friends. My friends and everybody else looked up to me and the life I was living. Even now, I do random things, but at the same time, I get to do a lot of different things, like I have been travelling for a month and I don't think anybody my age gets to do that,” she says.
Meanwhile, Her role in Sasural Simar Ka is something that is hard to forget. Avika was merely 14-15 years old at that time and wore sarees on screen. She says she learnt a lot in the process. “I am very proud of it. I remember my directors telling me to stand in a certain way because I should look like a grown-up. I remember learning these little things as an actor. I understood that you have to do different things to fit into a character graph. I have never gone to an acting school so these shows were like an acting school for me. I learned every day. Even the process in Laado 2, it was something different as it was a different show, it just made me grow. I am glad that I got to do so much at an early age because not many people get these opportunities,” she says.
She adds, “The space and the dedication TV actors and writers have is amazing. If they see that this track is not working, they change the entire storyline and you get the script on the same day. When I do films now and if my team asks if they can work for two more hours to finish the shoot, I understand that. It doesn't affect me. Being a TV actor, you always have respect for character actors, the technicians…you realise the hard work that goes in.”