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Wamiqa Gabbi felt so underconfident after moving to Bombay, she decided to quit

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Wamiqa Gabbi recalls the time she felt really low after shifting to Bombay in an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times. Wamiqa was recently seen in Jubilee and is now headlining Vishal Bhardwaj’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel in Sony LIV original Charlie Chopra The Mystry of the Solang Valley. (Also read: Khufiya trailer: Tabu is a RAW agent in Vishal Bharadwaj’s spy thriller. Watch)

Wamiqa Gabbi talks about her career in a new interview.(HT_PRINT)
Wamiqa Gabbi talks about her career in a new interview.(HT_PRINT)

Recalling the time she just moved to Mumbai, Wamiqa said, “Bombay can make you really underconfident. Any profession for that matter, but especially Bombay when you are living alone. I was here alone when I came, though I had all the support of my parents and I always had that, Bombay made me feel that way.”

When Wamiqa felt underconfident as an actor

She added that her parents allowed her to pave her own path in a city like Mumbai, and she could have her own journey in the city, thanks to her parents. But, when she came to the city, she had dreams but very little reality check. “Just this little girl with dreams who thought she would land in Bombay and Bombay will flourish by her presence. I had this bubble when I was in Chandigarh and that bubble burst soon enough. I understood that the world was not revolving around me. I got rejected again and again. I won’t say they were at fault, I was also not working on myself or my craft. I got under-confident in those eight or nine years. My confidence was shattered, jitna confident Chandigarh me thhi utna underconfident yaha aa k ho gai because of the rejections (The rejections made me as underconfident as I was confident in Chandigarh). I was a pampered and only girl in my family and Mumbai gave me that reality check.”

Wamiqa thought of giving up acting

Wamiqa recalled feeling low and doubtful of herself at the time. “During those times, I remember feeling very low and doubtful about myself and my craft. I was comparing myself to others and their journey, always wanting to be someone else. At that time, I felt anxiety, uneasiness…not peaceful. I was not happy with my work. I thought I was done, did not want to be an actor anymore. I just wanted to save some money and travel the world to explore myself.” It was just around this time that she bagged a chance to audition for the Netflix original Midnight’s Children.

“When I got that, I was like ‘no one’s going to take me’ but I liked the audition scene so did it thinking this is my last chance to to do something like that. I was like ‘Anyway, I will get into a new profession, might as well try this, it is something I will never get to do for a project’. I just gave the audition and then I got shortlisted. Even then, I wasn’t sure as I had been rejected after being shortlisted too many times.” She added that she went for an all-paid Atul Mongia workshop after being shortlisted and enjoyed it as a learning experience.

Falling back in love with acting

“Those three days changed my perspective and I fell in love with acting all over again. As if a window opened and everything else started making sense. Since then I have only been working on myself and my craft. Now, I also know my career will be a part of my life – it is not my life. I have so many things I can be passionate about.” She added that she does not regret anything and believes things happened just the perfect way they should have happened.

Wamiqa added that her father always gave her freedom and made it a part of her life and “never made me feel I was being given that freedom. I just always felt like this.”

Charlie Chopra The Mystry of Solang Valley

About bagging Charlie Chopra, Wamiqa said she was sure Vishal would not work with her, especially because they had already worked together on three projects. “I thought he wouldn’t work with me. We did three projects together, to ab ho gaya hoga na unka (he must be done with me now). I was so happy that he wanted to work with me for the fourth time. I am lucky to be part of a series like this one. I could not believe it. It is just overwhelming. I never thought I would be a part of something like this – something that has the queen of whodunnits (Agatha Christie) and the king of adaptations (Vishal Bhardwaj) associated with it.”

Two months of prep for Charlie Chopra

Wamiqa also revealed that she spent two months preparing for her role of Charlie Chopra. “Vishal sir had this condition that he told me ‘I do not want you to do anything else for at least two months before we begin shooting’ and I obviously told my management that I would give this time to the show. I was too busy at that time. I was glad he put this condition. I was so happy I got the time to do it. I was only doing readings, and zoom calls with detectives, and watching videos of detectives. I had such a fun experience exploring Charlie Chopra. When you get into a character, it is like making a new friend.” She added that this way of understanding characters has helped her understand her friends better and even made her “relationships better, with family, friends and my partner. Now that I understand characters more, I am better at understanding my parents and friends and my relationships have improved.

Milestones of Wamiqa’s career

Asked about the major milestones of her career, Wamiqa put her Malayalam debut Godha at the top. Grahan and Jubilee follow suit. “Godha was such a big hit, and I got to work with Tovino Thomas. I prepped for playing a wrestler, learned wrestling. It was more of a drama. We had such a great time working with director Basil Joseph. It is overwhelming when people put faith in me. Recently, I was out in Colaba and a group of Malayali boys asked me ‘Aditi Singh? I played Aditi in Godha and that group was so excited to meet me. They gave me so much love.”

Never desperate for work

As an outsider who kept trying for work in the industry for many years, did she face any sexual harassment while searching for work? “As women, we face all these things everyday. It has become part of our lives from small to big things and it is very different if someone faces something physical. Sexual harassment or molestation crosses the line. But all women face all that lies just before that line. Just basic things where you are made to feel ‘you are girl, a woman’. Nothing specifically happened to me in this industry. I am glad and thankful I never had any encounter with anyone who made me feel uncomfortable. Actually, I never felt desperate in my life and the credit goes to my parents. They made relaxed so that I was never desperate for work. I always knew I had my father if ever I need money – not that we are rich. I come from a very middle class family. For them to not make me feel that I need money to survive and need to quickly find work by hook or by crook. They never made me feel like that. I never met anyone in desperation.”

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