For Aaina Mehta aka Antara of Zee and Drishtant Media's Aap Ki Antara, acting is her love and her hobby. She made an unconventional start to her acting career by portraying the role of Shakuntala on Star One. Following her unconventional route, she has now taken up the challenging job of portraying autistic Antara.
The girl spills intelligence and confidence with the way she speaks. Over to Aaina…
So, Aaina are you enjoying your work experience.
(In a chirpy voice) Yes, I am!
Have you always wanted to be an actor?
I like acting. Its my hobby. Every year in school functions, I take part in drama or plays.
How did you get your first break?
When I heard about Shakuntala, I just thought why not give it a try. So I went to the auditions and bagged the role.
But didn't you feel such a mythological character is a tough start for you?
No, because for the first two-three days, I just went to the shoots and observed the sets and the people around. After a few days into the shooing, I got to know what the show and my character is basically about, and then I started giving my shots. So it was quite easy for me.
What made you take up Antara's role?
After Shakuntala, I wanted to try something new, and Aap Ki Antara was something different. It dealt with autism and the whole script is very educative. So it interested me.
What preparations did you do for portraying Antara?
My first preparation is always to visit the sets and observe the whole scenario. Plus, the production people, showed me a few clippings of autistic children. I watched those clippings so that I can learn about them. Apart from that, I personally went to an autistic child's home, and stayed there for a whole day. I spent time with him and observed his mannerisms.
Before bagging the role, did you follow the show?
Yes, I've watched Aap Ki Antara with Zaynah in it. So I pretty much had an idea of what I'm getting into.
Zaynah sort of became the mascot of Aap Ki Antara. When you bagged the role, didn't you feel apprehensive about the comparisons that may take place between you and Zaynah?
No. She acted well in her own way and I just had to do my part well. If people like my work, then they will appreciate me also.
What are the challenges that you face while portraying Antara?
Well, its not that difficult you know. You just have to see in one direction. You have to be focused and have your full concentration on one point. At times, you need to feel from within that you are autistic.
How do you cope up with both work and school?
Well, I come home from school by 2 o'clock. Then I have my lunch, do my homework, studies, everything. By five o'clock I leave for the sets. Even on the sets, during break time, I do my studies. By ten o' clock I go home, have my dinner and go to sleep. So that's my typical day.
What are your favorite subjects?
Hindi, Marathi, English and History.
So you are basically into the arts side. Do you have any special difficulty with maths?
No, my dad teaches me maths. He clears all my doubts, so I don't find it that difficult.
How are your co-stars?
They are all very nice kind and friendly.
Who's the naughtiest person on the sets?
The director and the assistant director. even the actors sometimes do masti.
Tell us about your equation with your onscreen parents?
Prabhleen and Darshan are very nice and co-operative.
Co-operative? That's a big word! In what context do you say they are?
In the sense, that if I make a mistake they correct me and try to help in improving me. Like Darshan Sir would say- 'Aaina, I think you should take a pause here.'
In between shots, what do you like to munch on?
(without a second thought) Dryfruits and chocolates!
Reporter and Author:Susan Jose