Films

“There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from.” — Elisabeth Kubler Ross

My life as a teenager—sporting short hair and braces—was checkered with studies, sports, and extracurricular activities. This austere framework didn’t afford me an exposure into the world of modeling and movies, making a foray into these fields unimaginable. It was while still in high school that I was first approached to model, and one assignment led to the next. In time movies came calling.

The picturesque white slopes of Gulmarg, Kashmir gave me my first glimpse of actors and filming—Tina Munim, the leading lady of a Hindi film, was shooting on the slopes where I was skiing. It is here that I was presented with an opportunity to play Ms. Munim’s body double. A baffled teenager, I refused and vanished down the slope never imagining our paths would cross in the future. I once again declined an acting offer when a leading filmmaker from Bombay approached me during a modeling assignment in Bangalore. This pattern—of being offered films only to refuse—continued until a persuasive producer convinced me to play the lead role in his film, Idayam. I went on to essay the role of a medical college student in this runaway hit film. Rest, as they say, is history.

I am grateful for the opportunities and experiences the Indian film industry afforded me. Where my education in psychology prepared me for further study, it is my accomplishments in the movies that serve as a platform for me to engage—in alignment with my nature, maintaining boundaries—with a larger audience. In my portrait of life, films like other journeys seamlessly merge toward a significant life purpose.

The journey, punctuated with professional success and failure, wasn’t rosy. Where portraying characters that didn’t appeal to my sensibilities constantly tested my intelligence and dignity, the omnipresent atmosphere of perversion, entitlement, ostentatiousness, duplicity, and narcissism suffocated my soul (The producer of Idayam, on watching me struggle with the ugliness of the film industry profusely apologized for bringing me into this world.). And though I enjoyed several moments in the film industry, my decision to exit films came effortlessly—with personal growth, it was non-negotiable to succumb to the inevitable pressure of portraying roles that served to reinforce the status of women as powerless (sexual) props. My righteousness takes precedence over entertaining toxicity that is packaged and sold as glitter.

The power of believing in yourself and walking away when it seems impossible (This is one of my strengths.) is captured precisely in this simple-deep quote: “A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking because her trust is not on the branch but always on its wings. Always believe in yourself.” This thought, of knowing yourself, applies to your personal and professional life—people remain in damaging environments out of fear and shame, or greed and image, and once you are firmly anchored to a stagnant existence, the seasoning of emotional poverty becomes your comfort, thus your identity. But when you walk through life unshackled, owning your truth (and living within your means) you not only live a refreshingly gratifying life, you can create on a level that is in alignment with your sensibilities. This unparalleled freedom is an invaluable luxury.

Heera

 

 

Select filmography

Ahawanam, Kalavidha, Alludugaru Vacharu, Amanat, Aur ek prem kahani, Avede Maa Aveda, Avai Shanmugi, Dasaratham, Endrum Anbudan, Gentleman, Idayam, Kadhal Kotai, Krishna, Yuvarathana Raana, Sati Leelavathi, Srikaram, Little soldiers, Mr. Bechara, Nirnayam, Ory Abichashakante Case diaryPadutha Theeyega, Pooveli, Thiruda Thiruda.