Almost two years ago, a young Marwari girl caught the eye of the critics essaying a lover torn between the love for her man and her family. Cherry Mardia arrived on screen with a bang with her debut film, JIGARIYAA. However, since the release was on a small-scale and with just a few shows at odd hours, not many could watch the film. But those who did were awed by the lead pair of Harshvardhan Deo and Cherry.
Cherry brought that absolute charm onto the screen. She was sexy yet divinely beautiful, almost like a portrait hanging on the wall. The accolades flowed. “Many people did not know about it. But for the ones who have watched it, they absolutely loved it. Critically it fared very well,” says Cherry (born and brought up in Mumbai), whose family has its roots in the copper business.
Up next is ROBINHOOD KE POTE which is in its post-production phase. Cherry has also just wrapped up a finite series of a story called Tu Con Main Con for Bindass TV. “I've been getting work calls from movies to ads to TV shows, but I've filtered my screening process only for what looks the best for me at the moment,” reveals Cherry.
Apart from being an A Grade student, and a talented actor, Cherry also has a sense of humor. Ask her how many brothers and sisters she has and she smiles that disarming smile, “All Indians are my brothers and sisters.” Looking at the surprise on my face she quickly adds, “I have one younger sister. She's smarter, wiser and shorter than me.”
Over to Cherry: the qualified Chartered Accountant who is now pursuing acting.
Excerpts from an interview with Martin D'Souza:
Did you always want to act in movies?
No. I dreamt of growing up to be a business-woman like my dad, uncles and grandpa with a part time ice-cream parlour. I love ice-creams. Acting and movies have had my gradual interest inclining towards them only in the last three years.
So how did this gradual interest come about?
I was absolutely at peace when it came to studying for 36 hours a day and slowly losing my hair (thanks to the Indian education system). But there is always curiosity for the unknown. Acting has always been a field very far from crunching numbers, and exploring it has been one hell of a rollercoaster ride. I discovered the repressed creativity and my interest in behavioral science when I joined a summer course in public speaking.
So that little stint at a summer course propelled you to your destiny?
Absolutely! It made me go into myself and I realized that I was good at dramatizing!
Did you also dabble with theatre? There are these finer nuances in your acting that comes only from theatre.
Thank you. Yes, I've been a part of improvised theatre. It's the kind of ‘live' performance, where there are no scripts and no rehearsed dialogues. Scenes are improvised on the spot. Otherwise I keep doing acting workshops with interesting seasoned coaches. Neeraj Kabi and Dr. Abhijit Das to name just two.
How did JIGARIYAA come about?
It was a regular movie cast process. The usual grind of getting pictures done, casting people calling and me doing the audition rounds. I auditioned for the lead, the team liked my look and I liked the script. We all went with our gut feelings to sign up and work together for the next few months.
Has the industry been kind to you; is it difficult to get a role commensurate to your talent?
Honestly, I've been lucky with the ads, TV and movies that have happened. Whatever talent I do have has been an all on-field, on-set learning process. There is a lot I lack. There's a lot I have learnt. I would say the industry has been alright if not too generous.
Do you feel talented actors get their due in this industry?
Acting is a bubble of talent, hard work and right opportunity. Sometimes no talent but good looks is half the battle won. Sometimes undeserving people get awesome roles and deserving people spend years trying. Audience acceptance is another big factor irrespective of the talent. So I don't know one strategy really. However, if you're at the right place at the right time, who can stop you from showcasing your talent?
Is there anything more than just being a good actor that one has to be in this industry to get good roles?
Definitely. A good friend once told me “Actor unneess bees chalega par insaan sahi hone chahiye.”
How are you going about by way of meeting the right people? Do you have a secretary?
Not at all! I can't afford a secretary at the moment. Fortunately, casting directors know me better because of JIGARIYA and I get direct calls for ads and movie auditions. I'm getting a lot of TV offers. But the roles are clichéd. So I'm not taking them up
Where do you see yourself in this industry five years from now?
I hope to get cast for some meaty roles so that later I can demand the kind of stuff I really want to do. From being a warrior princess to schizophrenic, I want to do it all!
What according to you defines a good performance?
Great characterization, awareness and a bit of yourself in it besides an innate screen presence. Also, when I watch movies, I personally enjoy when the dialogues look effortless.
What types of role would you ideally like to essay?
I'm jealous of Kangana Ranaut after QUEEN and TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS. I also liked Sridevi in ENGLISH VINGLISH. I resonate the most with characters like these which aren't necessarily modern but very progressive.
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