Jhansi Ki Rani Highest Paid Child Actor Ulka Gupta was once a favourite among many, when she played the fierce and strong role on screen years back, but fame wasn’t loyal to her.
She went missing from the screen soon after her role on the show ended, nevertheless the actress kept herself busy with studies and was looking forward to doing something bigger and better.
A successful Tollywood actress now, Ulka has two regional films in her kitty and has already been a part of two Telugu movie.
In an exclusive conversation with TimesOfIndia.com, Ulka revealed that she got her first role of Savri in Saat Phere because of her complexion and is very proud of that.
Thereafter, directors stopped saying ‘No’ to her directly, but the struggle continued, until she got recognition in the south industry.
Here a few excerpts from the interview:
Q: Did you dream of doing films when you played Manu in ‘Jhansi Ki Rani’?
Ulka: No! I never thought that I would ever do films. For me at that time TV itself was a very big thing. I used to watch all my dad’s serials. When I was young, it was very glamorous, so I used to think that it is not my cup of tea. But, while doing serials my directors and producers complimented me and told me that I was quite mature as an actor.
I used to run here and there on the sets, but as soon as the director said action, I used to get into my character. My dad, who is an actor himself, always inculcated into me ethics that of an actor. He has given his 15 years in theatre and that helped me. When I got offers from South, I thought why not.
Working on big screen is really different from TV because on TV they shoot the whole episode in one day, and there even a single scene is treated in detail.
Q: You went missing from TV for quite some time and you’ve spoken about facing rejection at certain places because of your complexion.
Ulka: It was not after the serial, but before it. I’m okay with what the producers and directors think and if they think that I’m not fit for a role. It could be my personality that I was rejected for. They would find my acting and my personality to be way more dominating factor than my looks.
Q: Do you think you should have gotten a chance to prove your versatility in front of them, rather than telling you a ‘No’ straight face?
Ulka: It was when I was not a star, people would directly tell me ‘No’ and I would just go out of the audition. My dad always told me that the world is going to be very blunt, but when they require you, they will tell you. Once I became a star, nobody could say that on my face, but they tried saying it through some way or the other.
You know, sometimes a dark handsome guy and a fair girl is the kind of pair they’d be looking out for. I’m okay with that, but they don’t directly tell it to me on my face, but later I get to know though other creative’s that you know ma’am said that you are a little dark and you’re not looking fair. I didn’t do serials as I got to work in movies.
Q: How is the South film industry treating you?
Ulka: South is good. I did Telugu movies. The work over there is so good, they work with so much passion, they are so ethical when it comes to filmmaking and treating their actors. I really wish I could make a big actress in the South film industry.
Q: You’ve recently stated that you got a role in Saat Phere because of your complexion!
Ulka: Yes! At that time it was a dream for me to get into TV as I used to see all child actors getting awards at various events. When I got Saat Phere mainly because of my skin colour, that time it just gave me a lot of confidence, because by then I had already got rejected at so many places and now I finally got it because of my colour. That made me feel so happy and proud. After that, it got me recognition and I was called for the audition of Jhansi Ki Rani. As a performer I gave my best.
Q: Where had you disappeared post Jhansi Ki Rani, as you were seen nowhere?
Ulka: I was doing events, because I had become one of the youngest celebrity in the industry and highly paid one too. Then, my mom and dad decided that I’d rather stay away from serials until 10th. So 9th and 10th I only did events and some celebrity appearances in serials. So like that my mom and dad always focused on my development.
Q: Do you think successful child actors get equal success in films?
Ulka: It can be. Sridevi is an example, she was a renowned child actor for some 5-6 years. Nobody can create a formula. We try to create examples, and if we don’t have an example, I better be that one. All the directors I have worked with have seen how dedicatedly I do my work. I do emotional and matured scenes very well. I am proud about it, because actors of my age can hardly deliver that much maturity and seriousness. I got finalised for many big projects but something or the other didn’t work out.
Q; In abroad, dark colour actor are earned accolades and are getting massive recognition. Do you think that in India it has always been like that a dark skinned actor has to take a back seat when the show makers start judging them for their skin colour?
Ulka: India is way better in that. It was only a phase in our country, when skinny and fair was in fashion. Trends are going to come and go, but in our country I feel people really connect with people and it doesn’t really care if the actor is dark or fair skinned. Deepika Padukone and Bipasha Basu are examples of it. India is totally open about it.
Q: What all opportunities did you miss out upon?
Ulka: Yes! That has happened. Recently, I lost the show Kaali. It is a very ambitious show by a very nice production house. I was shortlisted, but I wasn’t that interested in doing it as I’m too young for the role.