Priyanka Lalwani’s career in showbiz began as a model. Born and raised in Nagpur, she was the runner up at a beauty pageant held in the city. She did regional films, Hindi and Sindhi web series, Hindi ads and is also a host. While in college, Priyanka joined an event management firm started by her friends, and the team later moved to Mumbai and also started managing popular singers. But somewhere Priyanka always wanted to do more. The creative streak in her enthused her to give acting a shot again. Though the journey is not a smooth one, the actor, who has done the TV show Jamai Raja, web series Spotlight 2 and films Vaaesar e Gum and Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se, is content with the opportunities she has been getting. Excerpts from a chat with Priyanka:
What made you move from event management to acting?
Actually, I started with modelling and got into acting and anchoring later. While doing all these I met some of the friends who were into event management so we worked together for a couple of years. One day I decided that I want to get back to what I initially wanted to do, that is to be an actor. So I decided to give it a shot because I didn’t want to regret not trying.
How easy or difficult is it to make it to showbiz?
It was and still is a struggle. I don’t belong from a film background so when I had moved to Mumbai initially, I didn’t know a lot of people. My event management contacts and a few friends in the city guided me. If you’re from Mumbai or know someone from the industry things become easier for you. So it took me time. You’ve to consistently give auditions without expecting much in return. And to top it all when you do a project and it doesn’t release, that’s a different story altogether. It happened to me, so I know how much it breaks your heart.
There are too many actors with the name Priyanka. Does that bother you?
Remember that William Shakespeare saying, What’s in a name? I believe in that as well. It doesn’t really bother me. Each one of us is unique in our own ways.
You are also a hand model. How did that happen?
I feel this happened because it was supposed to. I knew that I had decent hands but didn’t know that I could try something like hand modelling as well. I remember going for an ad audition and they asked me if I would want to do hand modelling. I was unaware of this but thought why not try this out as well. After I agreed, they took a few pictures of my hands and I got selected. I did some ads for Cadbury, Manish Malhotra’s Love and Care, Nutribullet and others.
How did you get your first break on TV?
I got my first break on television with Zee TV’s Jamai Raja. I had shared my pictures to some casting directors, and one of them was working on Jamai Raja, which I didn’t know then. Later, I was then called for an audition and bagged the part of an interpreter in the show. At that time I did not know much about it, the only thing that was there in my mind was that I wanted to act. Hence, I was knocking every possible door.
Why didn’t you take up more work on TV after Jamai Raja?
It’s not like I haven’t given auditions, in fact I gave a lot of TV auditions and I still do the same. But, things didn’t work out the way I hoped it would. Sometimes I didn’t like the part that was offered to me, while other times I got rejected. And, in some shows I only did cameos. So, I did TV a bit here and there but not like any proper character. I hope I will get more opportunities in the coming times.
You also did Sindhi music videos and web series. How did that work out?
My debut music video is a song called Oh Muhinji. It’s a Sindhi song sung by Shaan and Manjushree. I also did a Sindhi web series last year, called Sindhi Wedding Bells and the response was very good. The makers then decided to make a part two of the series. I worked simultaneously on the song and the series. The song is available on YouTube and the web series will be released soon. Oh Muhinji is a nice, funny and peppy number.
You played the character of a host in Vikram Bhatt’s Spotlight 2?
Yes, my character is seen hosting a grand finale concert. Doing the role was quite fun. It was like a real meeting the reel. My experience as a host came in handy while working on this project.
How are you managing amid the pandemic scenario? What have you learnt?
It’s been a tough two years for all. Amid the crisis, I’m grateful for having a roof over my head, food on my plate and a healthy family. I tried not to feel low and kept myself occupied. I stayed close to my family and friends. This situation has taught me to be more compassionate. It has also made me realise that we all should save for the rainy day and that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. And more than anything else, life is small, so we must live in the moment.