Rati Pandey Shares Her Experience of Getting Bullied by a Director on Set
Renowned for her outstanding performances and iconic roles in Indian television, including “Hitler Didi” and Nupur from “Miley Jab Hum Tum,” Rati Pandey recently opened up about a distressing incident where she faced bullying from a director while on set. In an interview, the actress bravely spoke about this experience for the first time, shedding light on how it impacted her and led to self-doubt due to harsh criticism.
Recalling the incident, Rati began, “I prefer not to disclose the name of the show. I was part of a mythological series, alongside a historical one. When you immerse yourself in a mythological role for an extended period, you naturally start living and speaking like the character. I had begun conversing in pure Hindi even in my daily life, finding it challenging to detach from the character. Suddenly, I was offered a socio-drama with no time to prepare. Shooting commenced within a week, and I couldn’t shake off the habit of speaking pristine Hindi. The director of the show initially wanted another actress for the role, his personal favorite, but circumstances led to me taking on the part. This is the first time I’m discussing it, and it happened to me just two or three years ago. To belittle and insult me, he would loudly berate me over the microphone in front of the entire crew.”
Rati, adored for her portrayal of Nupur in “Miley Jab Hum Tum,” shared how this ordeal led her to question her acting abilities and resulted in sleepless nights. She explained, “The moment I uttered a line, he would interrupt, saying, ‘This isn’t working.’ He never allowed me to perform or express myself. The director is the captain of the show, and when he behaves this way, it’s disheartening, especially when you’ve dedicated so much time to the industry. I began to doubt my skills as an actress and my potential. I would return home and ruminate endlessly. ‘Have I forgotten how to act? Can I not act anymore?’ I’d ask myself. He was trying to break me, but I didn’t give in. I handled him diplomatically for a month and focused on self-improvement. One day, I had to assert myself. I was deeply engrossed in an emotional scene when he called ‘cut.’ I stood up, put the script aside, and told him I wouldn’t continue with the show. I suggested he find another actor. On the spot, I called the producer, thanked him for the opportunity, and explained the situation.”
Nevertheless, Rati expressed gratitude for the incident and the critiques she received, as it became a catalyst for her personal growth. She shared, “Later, I learned that this director employed such tactics with many actors to help them unlearn and let their characters shine. It was his approach. The producer recognized the issue. Even well-known actors on set feared the director. It shouldn’t feel like a prison; we’re actors, and there should be a comfortable environment. In a way, I was thankful for this incident; it was a valuable learning experience. I realized that with every new character, you must unlearn and grow. Every criticism contributed to my personal development.”