Neha Sharma: You have to watch your own back

Debarati Palit Singh
Tuesday, 19 May 2020

The actress talks about her web series Illegal, and how she has always been a huge fan of Piyush Mishra

Neha Sharma had an impressive start on the OTT platform. The actress plays an idealist  lawyer in Illegal, a web series streaming on Voot Select. The legal drama is trending online. 

The actress believes that with the web coming into the picture, there are lot of women-centric roles. “In movies, the scope is very limited because there are different factors in play when it comes to the box office collection. The stories that you tell have to be viable for the market. But with the digital platform, people are telling stories they believe in, neither number nor money is the guiding force,” she says.

Neha feels that the web is a director’s medium. “The web is an exciting space because there are many liberties, and not too many compulsions and pressures. It’s a great space for everyone and there is so much work for everyone. Illegal is completely the director’s vision,” she says.

She shares that when the makers of Illegal approached her with the script, she wasn’t really looking at working on the OTT platform. “They spoke about the story, Niharika’s (my character) journey and all. They had so much passion, I felt this is something I want to do as an actor,” she says, adding, “As an actor, you want to do roles where you can show your potential.”

The series also stars Piyush Mishra, Akshay Oberoi and others. The actress says, “I have always been a huge fan of Piyush ji, his poetry and the man he is. Poets have become so rare and you don’t get to read poetries very often. When I was told that I would be working with Piyush ji, Akshay and lot of other actors, it was very exciting for me. These are the actors I look up to. They are the actors who will bring something new to the table, make the characters beautiful and there will be performance in each character.”

The talented co-stars made her journey quite exciting, she adds. “When you talk about cinema or creating something, it’s a team work. We are all earnest actors who are passionate about acting. The makers wanted a cast like that.”

Neha says that she is open to doing more web content, which is exciting and would work on the ideas she passionately believes in. “I am sure much more exciting stuff will be made,” says the actress who will next be seen in a feature opposite Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

Neha’s younger sister Aisha made her Bollywood debut with John Abraham and Manoj Bajpayee-starrer Satyameva Jayate last year. Any piece of advice she had shared with Aisha? Neha says that one thing she has always told her sister is, ‘Never take anyone’s advice’. “That’s something I have learnt early on. There are too many people who want to mentor you, everybody has an opinion and they try to give it to you. I have made a lot of mistakes listening to a lot of people. There are many in the industry who try to hold your hand and try to tell you things but they can have their own agendas. Aisha is a grown-up woman and she can take these decisions on her own. Honestly, she is a very intelligent and smart person. She has done one film but she is waiting for the right projects. She will not do a project if she is not happy,” she points out.

As for the mistakes she has made in her career, Neha adds that they have been beautiful ones and made her the person she is today. “It’s all a beautiful learning. When I look back and people tell me there are people who haven’t given a single flop in their career, I feel sorry for them because you don’t know how to value  success if you haven’t failed,” she says, adding, “My first film was a super success and later there were films which did not work. Everything is not going to be perfect and life is not going to be easy. With those mistakes, I have realised that you have to watch your own back and be the biggest guiding force for yourself,” she says.

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