TNM’S New Favorite Girl – Reecha Sharma
Patience isn’t one of Reecha Sharma’s virtues, at least according to what she says. I’d have to disagree though, considering the composure she demonstrated during one of the most cringe-worthy interviews ever conducted in Nepali media. I’ve forgotten the exact name of the show though, something along the lines of Fishy Mamala ko Samana, doesn’t really matter. It’s basically a show where the interviewer, who is the farthest thing from charming you’d find on the face of the earth, bombards the guests with a barrage of awkward and inappropriate questions in quick succession.
“I’m really not a calm person,” she pleaded “but then again, you can’t afford to throw a tantrum in front of the camera and expect to be taken as someone who is professional.”
“You knew what you were getting into when you agreed to do the interview. Why’d you do it?”
“As an actor I can’t afford to shy away from interviews, it’s part of my job. And I don’t mind the challenge of tackling a few crass oafs here and there.”
The ravishing beauty is a well known face in Nepali television as well as the big screen. Although you’d be hard pressed to find her in any commercial movies, she has done several roles in big movies and earned a strong reputation as an actor. But that’s not why she’s our favorite. There’s more to her than just good looks. Her performances have gotten her noticed on screen; off it
she isn’t the eye of all scandals and rather uses her efforts in a constructive manner. She is the Youth Ambassador for Habitat for Humanity, Celebrity Ambassador for Nagar Mitra Program (which is responsible for the banning of plastic bags in the capital), and part of the Mitra Samajh initiative to encourage girls who miss out on 40 days of school a year due to menstruation to go to school. Even after a flustering period of losing her father and falling out of a serious relationship, Reecha’s positivity rarely seems to dampen and her passion for what she does has yet to waver.
There isn’t any glorified story behind how Reecha Sharma came into the movie industry, if you were expecting anything of that sort. She first appeared in one of Late Alok Nembang’s music videos in 2005 after the director discovered her from one of her photographs at a random modeling agency where she had done her first ever photo shoot.
“People tell me I always get the best roles and movies, but that’s because I’ve stayed home waiting for the right opportunity to come along.”
As conventional as her beginnings were, one would be quick to expect Reecha to be just another popular celebrity. Yet, the model turned female actor has been able to establish herself as more than just a pretty face. Don’t get me wrong, those glossy chestnut eyes will mesmerize you for hours but the best part is there’s plenty more than just your reflection staring back at you.
Reecha is one of the actors from the Nepali movie industry fraternity who has made it a point to be taken seriously.
The fact that her debut movie, First Love, fared well amongst audiences definitely helped propel her into the lime light; however, a series of calculated decisions and forgone opportunities are what have paved the way to where she stands today.
“People tell me I always get the best roles and movies, but that’s because I’ve stayed home waiting for the right opportunity to come along.” Reecha explains, almost defensively, “To get the roles that I want I have turn down several others that come my way. But I know what I am doing and I know what I want, so that helps me stay on track” Six years into the movie industry, reputed roles, a number of recognitions and with a couple of awards under her belt, her assuredness was understandable. But as we sip our coffee and talk about how far the Nepali movie industry has come, we both agree that it’s still far from a bed of roses. The industry still teeters between the grasps of main stream and newline cinema and artists find it difficult to find their footing and direction. While movies like Kabaddi, Talakjung vs Tulke and Loot wow audiences there are other movies that go in different directions and cater to different people. There is a long way to go for the fraternity.
“But the good thing is that young people actually go to watch Nepali movies.” She said in between sips of her coffee. “There are people who are interested in developing their acting skills and people are joining acting workshops to better themselves. There isn’t a lot of money in it, but it is definitely going in the right direction.”
She’s a practical girl and isn’t the type to paint a pretty picture just for the sake of it, and she was pretty honest when it put on the spot. “When you talk about Bollywood, it’s all about Shahrukh, Amir, Salman. In Hollywood it’s Leonardo Dicaprio, Robet Deniro, Channing Tatum and it’s the same everywhere, even here. You’re going to watch a Rajesh, Hamal or a Bhuvan KC movie, never a Kristy Mainali, Gauri Malla or Karishma Manandhar one.” she replied when I questioned about the role of women in the movie industry. “On the bright side, there are movies that have dared to be women centric.”
Reecha has always been passionate about her work on screen and, like any good artist, immerses herself in any role she takes up. As we edge closer to the release of Ko Afno, we discussed the transformation she made for what could be the defining role of her career.
Her depiction of the character for the movie was demanding, to say the least. She plays the role of a mother of a twenty something year old and in order to look the part she went through a stunning transformation which takes her from a stunning temptress to the farthest thing from it.
“A friend warned me when he saw this look. But being an actor isn’t about looking good all the time, which is why I put some personal inputs into the appearance of my
character.” explained Reecha. “It takes time and effort to create a value for you as an artist.”
“Why did you get into movies?”
“When I started out, it was just something I wanted to do because I grew up in a family of movie buffs. I’d say we’re pretty dramatic as a family”, she added with a laugh.
“Why’d you stay?”
“Because I love doing it. It’s not for the money, trust me. Doing films and being in front of the camera helps me forget about the world and become someone else. It’s therapy.”
“You don’t do commercial movies.”
“If I wanted to, I could do ten movies a year, but that’s not what I’m in it for. In ten years I want my name to be there with the likes of Kristy Mainali and Tripti Nathghar, that’s what I’m going to take from here.”
“Is Ko Afno also another offbeat movie?”
“It is an artistically commercial film, not fully commercial.”
“How’d you agree to take on the role of an aging mother and how did you prepare for it?”
“It was a challenge, and I think it was the right time in my career to step up to it.” She went further to describe the conception of
the look for her character, “The chickenpox scars were in the script but I wanted to take things a step further. I asked my makeup man Dipu to help me out and he suggested that it would be a good idea to change my smile.
So I got in touch with a dentist friend and a few days later I had a denture prepared. And it played an integral role in changing the appearance of my character.”
Ko Afno was premiered in Beverly Hills California where it was greeted with a lot of admiration. Now that it’s all set to be released in Nepal, teasers of the movie with glimpses of Reecha’s new look has raised the expectations from the movie.
The transformation is testament to Reecha’s dedication to her passion and will to develop herself. Not only does she love what she does, she makes a conscious effort to better herself in any way possible. After the release of her movie Visa Girl Reecha decided she wanted to do be in the film industry; if not as a performer as a director, production designer or even conducting an acting school.
I’M A PRACTICAL PERSON AND I’VE MATURED OVER THE YEARS, I KNOW WHEN AND FROM WHOM TO TAKE CRITICISM. THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO’LL ALWAYS TELL YOU YOU’VE DONE A GREAT JOB, AND I’M NOT BUYING THAT.
“I wanted to get the proper education because I knew that was what I needed if I wanted to improve” she admitted. She applied to Jack Walter’s Acting School in France and after an audition was selected as a student. She flew to France to complete her three months diploma where she learned about the arts and the technical aspects that went into the movie business.
“The deeper you get into it the more interesting it gets. Did you know there are 143 different human emotions you can express and there are 9 types of anger alone. Anyone can act, but you need proper guidance and education to take it to the next level.”
“I can’t act.”
“Yes, you can. You do it every day. You act differently in front of different people. Anyone can act; you just
need to be able to do it in front of the camera.”
“How has your training in France helped you with your career?”
“Before I enrolled myself in the institute, I was pretty much raw and acted on the basis of experience. At the institute I learned each day and now I get to implement it into what I do and it helps me reach depths I’d never been able to reach before.”
“It must have worked; you ended up bagging the National Award for your performance in Talakjung Vs Tulke. You did the movie soon after your training didn’t you?”
Eager to share the knowledge Reecha promptly began an acting workshop in Nepal which was a success with a turn up of more than 35 participants. Not everyone was too impressed with this or her efforts to educate herself abroad.
“Everyone’s a critic I guess,” she said with little emotion.
“But do they bother you? The critics?”
“Not really… well, they did at first but not anymore. I’m a practical person and I’ve matured over the years, I know when and from whom to take criticism. There are people who’ll always tell you you’ve done a great job, and I’m not buying that. And there are others who will critique you negatively any chance they get. You just have to sieve them out. My family is brutally honest and they’ll let me know exactly what they think, so I’ve got that going for me. And I also won the Best Critic’s Award last year, and I’m sure that’s a good thing.”
After the release of Ko Afno, audiences will get to see her in the role of an antagonist for the first time in the movie Jange (a modern adaptation of Jung Bahadur Rana). Her appearance alongside Dilip Rayamajhi in Bato Muni ko Phool 2 will be another first for her in a commercial movie. With plans of conducting more acting classes and possibly an acting institute, the year 2016 seems to be set to become the year of Reecha Sharma.