Actor Sargun Mehta is on a professional high, with her performance in the Punjabi film Lahoriye being rewarded with the Best Actor In A Leading Role — Female award at an awards ceremony.
How did a Hindi daily-soap actor end up working in Punjabi cinema? “I was doing Balika Vadhu, and had watched a few Punjabi films. I realised that it’s the kind of cinema I want to do, so I stepped back from TV fiction. My first film, Angrej (2015) did extremely well, and then there was no looking back.
She confesses that initially, the language was an issue. “I was born and raised in Chandigarh, so it isn’t like I didn’t know the language. But Punjabi isn’t my first language, nobody at my home speaks it, nor my friends in Mumbai. I had to work on getting my dialect right, and get back into the groove. It was a hassle, but something which I have overcome with time,” says Sargun.
While many television actors aspire to get into Bollywood, Sargun preferred regional cinema over it. Asked why, she says, “The offers which I got in Bollywood were not what I expected them to be. I think that everybody has this kind of self-worth, like how they should be portrayed or presented. I always feel that I should rather be in a medium and be at the top of it, than just do small things here and there, and be forgotten. I am not ready for that. I can’t do anything just to be in Bollywood.”
Sargun, who is four films old in Punjabi cinema, says you need to keep audience interested. “What matters is what you give to the audience. You have to give them something fresh, all the time. Or something which they are used to, so they get accustomed to you. If I played a Punjabi girl in a Hindi film, and spoke in average Punjabi, they would have accepted me. But it isn’t acceptable in regional films,” she signs off.