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Megha Ray once said yes to a spare role: ‘I was ready on set but…’

Megha Ray is a popular face on screen and is back with an all-new show, Sapnon Ki Chhalaang. Just like the title, Megha too took her leap of faith as she quit her well paying job to pursue a career in acting right from the scratch. The actor says she had never seen cameras, visited a set or seen a shoot before she actually decked up to play a part, but was eventually told to go home. That was a few years ago when Megha started out in the industry by featuring in TV commercials and has now come far to the point that her onscreen character is quite similar to what she is in real life.

Megha Ray is also an engineer.

In an interview with Hindustan Times, Megha opened up about her new show Sapnon Ki Chhalang on Sony. She plays Radhika, an engineer just like her. Excerpts:

How is your role in Sapnon Ki Chhalang different from your previous roles?

The major difference is, from the parts I have played so far, is that it is as real as it can get because it is written that way. We are not making a character grand in an unrealistic way. She is a regular person from Jhansi, from a sweet and humble joint family. She is a topper in engineering, and just like any student who is too much into the academics; they are mostly at home, working hard, don’t party. They mostly come from the background where the family encourages them to spend more time at home, although they don’t differentiate between male or female.

Is your character similar to your real self?

The biggest similarity is that I am also an engineer. The ones that are not very obvious is – we both are very close to family. We don’t rebel. I never rebelled for anything in my life, like Radhika who always believes in convincing people and making them understand why something is important to her and why she should be doing it. But sometimes, if there is something they say no to, I don’t listen to them. We both are go-getters and determined about achieving what we want while sticking to our value system.

Will you be okay playing a typical bahu on screen or you need your character to be what you stand for?

I don’t want to play something which is unrelatable. I don’t mind playing something as different as a superhero, the core of the character matters to me. I am a comic buff and love Marvel movies. Irrespective of the genre or platform, the story and character need to have a human side to it, they should be realistic.

What was your frame of mind behind you pursuing engineering – to have a backup or to keep studying until you land a role?

I was actually fond of science. I was a topper in school but I also loved art. I was training as a dancer as well. Usually, people who are into academics consider their love for art as their hobby but eventually when I grew up and was working in a company, I realised science was a hobby for me and art was what I wanted to pursue my career in. This is the realisation that came very late. Deep down, I wanted to become an actor but didn’t say it out loud because its very uncommon for a person who is very good in academics and doing so well in office, to suddenly quit and do something like this. I come from a background where all are into education and no one is even remotely connected to the industry. Nevertheless, I realised that I will regret if I didn’t voice it out. I didn’t want to pursue higher studies like MBA, which was expected of me and put down my foot that this is the line I want to go to. My parents were shocked but I was smart about it. I gradually built it up and didn’t drop the bomb all of a sudden. I was making sure that finically I don’t burden them. I was also doing fashion blogging on the weekend and getting some money out of it. I quit the job when it was safe and I was making money from brands.

Were there any bad experiences when you started out?

Initially, I knew its going to be very difficult. I would just look at the long queues for auditions in Aram Nagar, by the team you reach for the audition, your makeup goes off in sweat. When you go for ad audition, it’s difficult as you don’t know what is expected of you. I was once told that I got the part of the lead character and when I reached the set, I got to know that they had changed it.

Another time, I was ready on set with my hair and makeup done and I was told to go back home. This was a funny incident as I had not quit my job and was offered a very small part on the basis that I may not be seen at all. It had a very big celebrity and I just wanted to see how it all worked. I had never seen cameras, a shoot or a set. I realised at the time that maybe I was underestimating myself and should not just be saying yes to anything. I decided that I will go for stuff I feel for. In 2-3 months, I auditioned for a TV show for the first time and I cracked it.

What advice would you like to give to those with acting dreams.

If finance is not a burden, I would urge kids to finish their education. Education is not just about mainstream subjects; it’s is any field in which you are interested in. Even if it is acting, you should be updated, know about different performances. Believe me, you will come in the field with confidence and awareness. Complete all round development will give you a better way to communicate on set. Everyone should educate themselves as much as they can manage.

You had said in an old interview that you try to make yourself better with each role. How?

I always keep a notebook with me as I don’t trust my memory so much. I am constantly observing myself and different scenarios that happen which may be related to my character, something I realise like this is how I had an emotion, I just note it down.

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