Full Steam Ahead

Actor Shweta Tripathi, who had created ripples in the showbiz with her endearing portrayals of teenage girls from small towns, has just finished a web series where she plays a bride-to-be on a road trip with her girlfriends

Delhi-born actor Shweta Tripathi, who made her acting debut with the role of a tween Zenia Khan in Disney Entertainment Channel’s Kya Mast Hai Life seven years ago, has played teenage characters in both her big screen releases — Neeraj Ghaywan’s Masaan and Shlok Sharma’s Haraamkhor — with elan. “Technically, Haraamkhor is my first feature film, but Masaan hit the theatres first. Masaan gave me my cinematic identity and created a space among the audience for my next release opposite an acting powerhouse called Nawazuddin Siddiqui. I am glad that Haraamkhor came second or else it would have been lost without a trace,” says the bubbly actor.

Before debuting in feature films, Shweta had acted in Sujata, a short film directed by Shlok, which was a part of an anthology feature called Shorts. “In Sujata, I played the younger version of Huma Qureshi’s character, a school-going young girl. During the making of this film, Shlok told me that he wanted to make his first feature film with me. That was a big compliment for a newbie. He wrote Sandhya’s character with me in mind. I was overwhelmed.”

SIMILARITY IN DIFFERENCES

Shweta’s roles in Masaan and Haraamkhor — are similar on many counts. In both she plays girls who are from small towns and fall in love for the first time and have an unconventional love story, to say the least. But the differences in the two characters are subtle and yet stark. “It was a different ball game to play girls from small towns who were completely unlike me. I had to get into the skin of these reel characters so that the audience could relate to these girls, their turmoil, trial, tribulation and trauma,” she says.

SCHOOL OF THOUGHT

After completing her schooling from DPS, RK Puram, Shweta joined a fouryear bachelor’s course in Fashion Communication at the National Institute of Fashion Technology in the Noughties. “I was majoring in photography. As a part of my degree project, I came to Mumbai for a four-month internship with Femina and landed a job soon after in 2007.” From Femina, she moved on to join Pixion Trailer House, a post-production company in Mumbai, and from there to run her theatre company ‘All My Tea Productions’. In between, Shweta got an offer from Disney to play the part of Zenia in Kya Mast Hai Life. “I had no plans to enter the telly world, but I somehow lapped up this opportunity from Disney.” It was this exposure that laid the foundation for her acting career, and she had in a way stumbled upon her real calling.

CRAFTING COUCH

Rather than doing random TV shows, Shweta chose to dabble in advertisements and earn some substantial acting experience in the theatre circuit before taking the plunge on the big screen. She soon won the trust of filmmakers and became a casting director for films like Monsoon Shootout and Ferrari Ki Sawari. “I went to top boarding schools of the country for Ferrari Ki Sawari. It was fun being with children, organising workshops for them and interacting with such talented bunch of youngsters,” she fondly reminisces. She was also associate creative director for Kangana Ranaut- Imran Khan starrer Katti Batti and had a 30-second role in Michael Winterbottom’s Trishna (2011).

SMILE SPREADER

From television to theatre to films, Shweta has done it all. Her next stop is a Walt Disney web series, The Trip, where she will be seen as a bride-to-be, who goes on a road trip along with her girlfriends and how it turns out to be an emotional rollercoaster ride for all of them. It also stars Lisa Haydon, Sapna Pabbi and Mallika Dua. “The idea of a 10-episode series about four girls bonding on a road trip from Delhi to Thailand was fun unlimited. My character in the film is different from whatever I have portrayed onscreen so far,” she says, adding, “I love travelling and The Trip was to be shot at Shillong, Bangkok and Koh Samui, so that made it an irresistible offer.”

Shweta has completed shooting for Sanjoy Nag’s Good Morning Sunshine. “It’s an exciting role, and I am keenly looking forward to it,” she says. The actor’s next is again a short film Emergency directed by Shlok and presented by director Anurag Kashyap.

Apart from acting, Shweta loves to indulge in adventure sports and travelling, for business and pleasure, and if time permits, only by trains!

Text: Shillpi A Singh

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