MEET THE SINGER TURNED ACTRESS, AMIKA SHAIL AS SHE OPENS HER HEART OUT IN THIS CANDID CONVERSATION
Singer turned actress, Amika Shail is quite the bombshell we’d expect to see on the big screen, but she has surprised movie makers and the audience alike with great performances in television series like Madam Sir, Balveer Returns, Divya Drushti, Udaan to name a few, and web-series, Mirzapur 2, Zee5 and AltBalaji‘s superhit franchise, Gandi Baat 5 and more.
Amika is a ‘Sangeet Visharad’ having completed her post-graduation in music. She is a trained classical singer mentored by gurus Kaushik Bhattacharya and Nanda Das. Having received over 2 million views for her maiden cover song, she is among the top YouTube singers in the country. Now, this gorgeous and determined actress is blazing the trail with meaty roles and her audacious attitude.
You are living in exciting times…
Absolutely! I love my work and I’ve been working on good projects. I completed a project for Amazon Mini. I played a fitness model who is enamored by handsome gym hunks. She loves the beefed-up boys; she is a comical character. I’m currently working on a project for Alt Balaji where I play a sexy police officer. She is not the officer you would normally see and she has several tricks up her sleeves. I also completed a web series Chingari Chaubey which will release on OTT. I play the role of a very serious and intelligent CID officer. So yes, I’ve had the opportunity to play roles that are very different from each other. This helps me challenge my limitations as an actor.
You played a naïve village belle in In Chattis Aur Maina but in real life you are a city-bred shrewd girl. How do you do justice to roles for which you may not have real life experience?
In Chattis Aur Maina it was a challenge to portray simplicity on screen. But, being an actor, I have to be ready for any challenge that a role may demand. In one life (and I’m still young) I cannot expect to experience everything before I take up a challenging role. This is precisely why acting is a talent. An actor has to observe and learn from any source. I learn by watching other good actors and understanding how they handle various difficult roles. If I have to handle a role that I’m not familiar with, I look for references and learn from them. I get inspirations from YouTube as well as movies. If a role requires deeper preparation, I do whatever is required to embody that role.
Your life is one of breaking boundaries…
The biggest boundaries that I broke in life were when I moved to Mumbai then switched careers from singing to acting. After my graduation I shifted to Mumbai and took up professional singing. Before that, I was a part of many singing reality shows, like Sa re ga ma, Little Champs, Amul Star Voice of India, Bharat ki Shaan, etc. But once I came to Mumbai acting happed by chance. I had never tried acting before; I had no idea what being in front of the camera involved. It was the force of destiny that helped me cross that huge chasm. Moving into acting was a big decision and one that I won’t regret.
And, in the troughs of life…
My life as an actor has been full of ups and downs. There are times I’ve been extremely busy and there are times I have no work at all. I’d just there at home doing nothing. I’m aware that actors are prone to depression and if I give negativity even a little space, I can be drowned in depression. This is the reason I always engaged in something or the other in order to keep negativity and depression at bay. I remind myself about goals and the difficulties I may encounter on my journey, and I stay focused always.
What about rejection…
Rejection is also a common part of every actors’ life. We go for auditions every day and we are rejected for a majority of the roles we audition for. I’ve calibrated my mind to understand that this is a part and parcel of this profession. I never stop to brood over any rejection. I just take it in my stride.
Ever experienced the fear of failure…
What is fear of failure? I don’t know what that is. Looking back at the time when I decided to relocate from Kolkata to Mumbai, I realise that it was indeed a scary and dangerous journey. But if I had given space for fear, my journey would have ended that very moment. I would not have been able to come to Mumbai leaving behind my familiar life in Kolkata. So, there was no question of fear. I had the gut feeling that I would be successful if I’d come to Mumbai and pursue my career as a singer. I followed that gut feeling without even an iota of doubt in my skills and my ability to achieve my dreams.
What gives you so much of confidence…
I don’t have any idols to draw confidence and inspiration from. I think confidence cannot be found or taken from anywhere. Confidence is intrinsic. I’ve been a performer since my childhood and what has helped me focus has been meditation and yoga. These build me up from within, keep the positive vibes strong and help me stay focused and positive at all times.
You’re beautiful, but what about the ‘bad days’
Negative thoughts have a very strong influence on people’s minds and bodies in general. If I get thoughts like: ‘I’m not having a good day’, I nip it in the bud. I never entertain any thoughts or suggestions that would deviate me from what I need to do. That’s why every day is a good day for me. Cycling, cooking and watching movies help me keep my mind active and occupied even when I’m idle.
You look toned and shapely …
Being an actor, I have to be fit all the time. When I started weight training I loved how I felt after a workout. And, I started seeing the positive effect it had on my body. I loved how workouts gave me more energy and my body was in the perfect shape. This gave me the enthusiasm to continue with my fitness training and I got more involved with fitness with every passing day. Today people refer to me as a fitness freak and I’m the brand ambassador in India for the South African fitness brand Evolution Sports Nutrition (ESN). I regularly upload fitness videos on social media and I hope that my fitness journey inspires others to take up fitness and enjoy the benefits.
Mastering the art of trolling…
I ignore trolls on social media. When a person becomes famous, trolling is bound to happen. In fact, trolling is a measure for one’s fame. If there are no trolls, there’s no fame. I don’t let trolling disturb me. For an artist, negative publicity is as important as positive publicity.
Tell us about your culinary tryst…
My mother was very concerned that I could not cook. I had no interest in cooking. But during the lockdown there was nothing to do and I was just sitting at home. I just had to do something. So, I started cooking by following recipes from YouTube. Now, I love to experiment cooking chicken and I come up with some interesting dishes. I’ve grown fond of cooking, especially when I’m bored.
When would you say that you have arrived…
Never! There’s no limit to success, as far as I’m concerned. No matter what one achieves, I believe that there is something more. I believe that the most successful person in Bollywood is Shah Rukh Khan. But he too has much more that he can achieve as an actor and a human being. So, no matter how high I go in life, I will continue to push my boundaries.
Your life is abuzz…
It is! But I’m a solitary person. I love to live a peaceful and quiet life. Much to my dislike, life in Mumbai is so busy. But I have made a life choice to pursue my career here in Mumbai and I know that in order to achieve my goal there would be some compromises and sacrifices that I have to make. This is one of them, and I must say that I’m enjoying my work and everything that comes with it.
And you’re a true-blue Bengali…
Bengali girls are bold, confident, and beautiful. They are capable of doing anything; they can be very dominating. Bengali girls have many inborn characters that girls from other states may not have. I’m very proud of being Bengali.
Where’s Cupid in all of this…
I’m single, (and happy). I have no plans of getting into a romantic relationship soon. But, if you were to ask me who my ideal guy is, I’d say Hrithik Roshan. Unfortunately, he’s married. I have low demands when it comes to romantic relationships. I like good-hearted guys, with a pure soul and a positive mind, someone whom I can be inspired by. I like a relationship that is transparent – no hide-and-seek games.
When that romantic evening happens…
… it would have to be a candlelit dinner in Italy or Venice.
Quiet moment over coffee or lunch with friends.
On my plate:
I’m a big foodie – I like trying different cuisines.
Action or Romance:
Action gets the adrenaline flowing.
Car or bike:
Bike. I like the air in my hair.
Animals or people:
Animals – they are pure.
Rich or popular:
Popular. I can earn money anytime.