In this exclusive interview at her pad in Malad, Shinnova who has made her debut with the web series Hiccups & Hook Ups tells JYOTHI VENKATESH that with a whole lot of people looking at them from all sides, she did not even think or feel anything and did the kiss mechanically on the sets.
You are making your debut with the web series Hiccups & Hook Ups. Tell me something about the web series which has started streaming from yesterday?
Hiccups & Hook Ups is a Lionsgate play directed by ace director Kunal Kohli and starring among others Prateik Babbar , Lara Dutta , Meera Chopra, Chang, Divya Sheth, Nassar Abdullah, Khaled Siddiqui, besides me . Prateik and Lara play the roles of my uncle and mum. It is a slice of life story on the unfiltered relationship between the siblings played by Lara Dutta and Prateik Babbar.
How was the experience of acting in the web series?
The role that I play in the series is quite similar to the relationship that I and my mother share in real life though my relationship with my mother is not as turbulent as the one I have in the web series with Lara Dutta and hence I was luckily in my own comfort zone when I slipped into the character of mine in the web series
How would you react if you are hailed as a sexy and hot sultry siren?
Frankly, I’d be glad if I am called one. I remember telling Lara Dutta on the sets that she was hot and sexy.
What is your take on relationships? Have you also had turbulent relationships in real life ?
You would not believe it but my real life relationships with most of the boys with whom I was involved, extended just to the stage of holding hands. Though I had always wanted to be in a serious relationship with a boy, I did not at all sadly feel attracted to any boy because I am not at all social and am thoroughly home-bound. I do not go clubbing. If I had a choice, I’d chose to spend time with a boy who is very understanding and also gives me a lot of space
To what extent do you think you could identify with the role that you play in the series? In real life though my parents have never asked where I was going, I am not very much in favor of casual hook ups like in the series, especially since I feel that maturity isn’t there in boys today.
How did you bag the series?
I was in Badlapur with my aunt learning yoga when I got the call for the audition for the series. Mukesh Chhabra called me to meet him and at the audition, I got the opportunity to meet Kunal
Were you zeroed in by Kunal the moment you did the audition?
You would not believe it but when Kunal asked me whether I was happy with the audition that I had given, when I told him that I did like it at all, to my pleasant surprise, he said he would do a new audition with me. I had to imagine Lara with a boy I liked on the bed and the required that I catch her red handed. Kunal gave me an hour to do the audition. All alone, I imagined Lara and the boy on bed and passed out my audition in flying colors and was zeroed in for the role on the spot.
Don’t auditions scare you?
When I was in the college, I used to give a lot of acting auditions. I was under contract with an agency and they used to send me to different auditions but I left the agency because they help a person only on an individual level in the sense that you gain confidence but whether you will bag a part entirely depends on you alone.
Was acting in your mind right from the beginning?
I did not at all have the confidence to be an actress because I did not know whether I had the talent in me. It was my mother who pushed me into acting literally. She has always been very supportive and it is only because of her that I got into acting.
Did you learn acting as such?
I learnt from veteran actress Seema Biswas with whom I had also acted in a short film. If I am an actress today, I’d give the total credit for the knowhow only to Seema. I also did a four month course in acting with Vidhur Sir, besides 10 days with Adishakti theatre workshop in Pondicherry. Those were my best days a far as experience is concerned. Learning always helps and a lot of what I used to learn sank in as I became a little older. Frankly it did not at all sink in within me that I was actually acting after just one reading of my lines in the script.
Is it necessary for one to learn acting?
It is very necessary to learn acting for practice as besides the fact that it’s an everyday chore, it is also true that I am not a Smita Patil. I learnt to trigger my emotions and address my body and it has opened for me a lot of doors and with every audition, I make it a point to Iearn even today.
How was Lara Dutta on the sets?
At first I was in awe of her. I had seen her in the film Partner in the song Maria. Lara gave me a lot if acting tips and made me comfortable by going out of the way. I could easily connect with her.
How was your interaction with Prateik Babbar and Kunal ?
Prateik was the super chilled uncle on the sets. He was so loveable sweet heart and as far as I was concerned, he was never a snob or introvert as people say about him. Prateik used to chill by talking to me about his experience with Amitabh Bachchan in Akrosh. I am a great fan of his mother Smita Patil and he told me that he had a tattoo of hers on his body. I shot almost for a whole month with both Lara and Prateik. Kunal is great and very easy to work with and is more like a friend
Do you think shooting for a web series is quite different from shooting for a film?
I think it is pretty much the same process, whether I am acting for a web series or for a film. I think that OTT is really taking over and at times wonder whether people would still go to theatres to watch films after the pandemic gets over at last. In OTT, no one is a star but I want to be part of only films and am keen on doing films in Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu, besides Hindi as content is great in these languages.
How ‘ready’ are you in show-biz to show your body? What is your idea of nudity in films?
It all depends on the zone of the film. I need to portray myself but definitely I will not shed clothes and get naked on the screen though I am okay with lip to lip kissing and I have also done a kissing scene in Hiccups & Hook Ups too with an actor called Vishwesh. As far as nudity is concerned, it all depends on how much the director wants to show. I will take my own call but I am not comfortable as far as depicting frontal nudity is concerned.
Did you enjoy the act of kissing?
What? With a whole lot of people looking at us from all sides, I did not even think or feel anything and did the kiss mechanically
Who are your favorite actors today?
Ranveer Singh, Nawazuddin Siddique, Rajkummar Rao, Naseeruddin Shah and Vicky Kaushal, besides Alia Bhatt, Radhika Apte, Priyanka Chopra, Vidya Balan, Shabana Azmi and Tabu.
If you are offered the role of a lesbian, would you be comfortable to take it up?
If I am offered the role of a lesbian, I’d definitely take it up, because in any case, a role is a role and to play a role which you are not in real life is indeed a challenge. In any case, I have a lot of friends who are lesbians and I do support the LGBT community.
What do you think about sex before marriage?
Though I’d prefer a love marriage, I am of the opinion that you do not have to wait any more for marriage to have sex with your partner. However, I’d advise one to take precaution in the form of pills or condoms because for temporary pleasure, I do not think it is advisable to go through this.
Is virginity today outdated?
Times are changing. Today no one asks for a virgin as his partner. If a woman wants to explore her body, I do not think she should be judged for that
Do you smoke or drink?
I used to smoke when I was in college but quit it. I used to consume alcohol too but when I threw up, I realized that it does not suit my body and left drinking. I quit smoking cigarettes when my mother caught me red handed and made me realize that it is bad for health.