Kaveri Priyam opens up on casting couch in the industry: says, “Once a casting director made an indecent proposal in return for work”
Kaveri Priyam who rose to fame with her role as Kuhu in Yeh Rishtey Hain Pyaar Ke is one of those few actors who instead of saying yes to any role that came to her waited for the right opportunity till she was offered a positive lead role in her next show.
The actress bagged another popular character as Dr. Monami in Ziddi Dil Maane Na. During a recent interview with ETimes TV Kaveri opened up about her struggles in the TV industry and shared how she survived in Mumbai.
She shared, “I was a complete nautanki as a kid. I participated in a lot of theatre plays during my school days. I had no stage fear or audience fear. I would participate in street plays also while growing up. In fact, I loved the attention I got from the audience and that was the major reason I am here today in the industry. I used to write my own plays and make kids perform so I was always inclined toward the creative field. But studies were also important and after completing my graduation I decided I should give it a shot. Though I was not very confident that I will be able to make it in the industry and this profession can be my way of earning.”
Kaveri added, “I was extremely confident when I came to Mumbai. I also feel you grow, learn over the period of time and get to know what is working in your favor and what doesn’t. The same thing happened to me. I kept getting rejected in auditions one after the other. I understood that there are things that are not working in my favor. Then you start talking to people and grooming yourself. You meet people during auditions and learn from your other experience. I met a lot of friends who guided me in the right direction.”
When asked about her initial journey in the industry and if she also faced rejections, she said, “I’ve lost count of the number of times I was rejected. There was a time when I had given up and thought of going back home because the roles I was getting were not very satisfying and I was not happy with them. I wanted to do something substantial so that took a lot of time. I struggled for two years and then at one point I went home as I wanted to take a break and start fresh. When I was home that time I got a call for Yeh Rishtey Hain Pyaar Ke. I auditioned for the show from home and sent them. I actually just auditioned without any enthusiasm thinking, this is just another audition. I was very chilled out and the show actually clicked and I was called to Mumbai for a mock shoot. I feel destiny plays an important role.”
Upon being asked if there were moments when she was replaced or dropped from a project last minute, she said, “Yes, I have been replaced from shows at last minute and even after doing mock shoots someone else has taken my place. It happens all the time in the industry. One thing I’ve realized is that whatever happens, it happens for a reason and for our good. Something is better on the way. There are times when you make wrong choices and then later you regret oh I should have done the project. It takes time to come out of the setback and recover.”
Talking about her experience with Mumbai, she said, “Coming from a different city and living in Mumbai is very tough. You come across so many people who will take you for a ride. When I came here I was very naive and didn’t know the tricks of the business. That’s where how you have been raised and what sort of values they have imbibed and inbuilt in you comes to play. I worked on myself a lot. I groomed and transformed myself completely. I started getting print shoots and all. I took on small projects so that I could sustain myself in the city. I didn’t want to ask for money from my parents. I would take up shows for a cameo or one day, two day work. Whatever I earned during the initial phase I put in rent. Then whatever I earned I started to spend on my growth. Be it joining the best gym, meeting the best nutritionist, or going for the best makeover. I invested all the money in grooming myself. So there were tough days when sometimes I didn’t have any money and I had no other option but to cut down on my expenses and postpone my plans.”
Opening up on casting couch, Kaveri said, “When I came to Mumbai I had no one’s support or no one to guide me where to go for auditions. During that period I met a lot of people who would give examples of other actresses and tell me that they have become stars by using shortcut routes. I had a very tough time during that phase because I didn’t know how to react. Also, deep down I knew that this is not the right path and it won’t last for long. These shortcuts are not long-lasting, they won’t take you ahead in life. What will take you ahead is your talent. But when you see someone in a strong position sitting there and giving you gyaan. I used to make excuses that my mother is waiting down, she is calling me and would leave from there.”
She added, “I remember once a casting director made an indecent proposal to me. I just cried so much after the incident. I sat in an autorickshaw and cried my eyes out because I had given up everything and came to Mumbai to become an actress and this is the way I was treated. I started thinking that “kya sach mein log aise shortcuts leke aage badhte hain” and there is no value for talent. I was so confused and I ended up crying. I was very sure I wouldn’t be able to do it. There were other incidents when I was asked to pay a huge amount to get a break. It demotivated me. Ultimately, there were moments when I broke down and called up my family. They guided me and pumped me, not to give up. Then I met the right people who guided me and asked me to go for real auditions.”