Describe your journey as an actor. How did it all begin?
Lipi Goyal: I always wanted to be an actor since my childhood, but choosing acting as a career option and profession becomes a tough proposition for most of us in India. Moreover, not having any Filmi background also makes one weigh a lot of pros and cons, particularly when you are born in an Indian family and you have the big task of convincing your family about your desire to pursue a career in acting. So, initially, I also assumed that I was not destined for an acting career when I suppressed my desire to pursue a BA in Theatre and went ahead with applying for BA in English at Fergusson College, Pune. It was a matter of Karmic connection that when after graduation, I started exploring the corporate world and while I was receiving training in Advertising in Bangalore, I got to watch a lot theatre during the weekends. I was so smitten by the ‘nasha’ that theatre gave me, I felt the inner voice craving for the spotlight on stage. And I followed my inner voice and started chasing my showbiz aspirations as I decided to move to Mumbai after fully convincing my parents on my decision.
Mumbai, as they say, never leaves any ambitious person without opportunities. So, as I joined a theatre workshop to explore a friend circle and meet the like-minded in the industry, opportunities started pouring in. My first project was a dramatic reading with Tom Alter and Cyrus Dastur (who had faith and confidence in me from the day one). To be honest, I was really nervous, not about the reading, but during the drive from Mumbai to Pune in the car with Tom Sir. I had butterflies in stomach and asked myself ‘what will I talk with him?’. 😀 It turned out to be the most memorable drive where I got to learn a lot. Life took a promising turn from there on. I did plays in Hindi and English and went to do two TV shows with the same production house for Doordarshan. Post that, I also did a 3-day theatre workshop with actor/ director Rajit Kapur. Meanwhile, I kept on giving auditions and also learnt Kathak simultaneously. And one such audition which I had given for a film with Radhika Apte (which I didn’t bag), helped me get a humble role in Anil Kapoor’s “24”, Season 2. I was on cloud nine, though the casting director told me it will be a 5-7-minute role maximum, I had no second thoughts. Working in 24 was a different experience altogether.
Post which I was offered to play Zoya Afroz’s friend’s role in the Bollywood film Sweetie Desai weds NRI. While I was shooting for the film in Baroda, I got a call to audition for ‘Passport’ and here I am all set to debut in a Gujarati Movie! It’s my third year in Mumbai, and I guess I have surely convinced my parents to pursue my dream. 🙂
Tell us about your experience working in the Gujarati movie Passport?
Lipi Goyal: The experience has been fantastic. The Gujarati film industry is undergoing a phase of positive change and with movies like Bey Yaar and Chello Divas setting new trends, more and more youngsters are taking interest in doing Gujarati film. The exposure that regional cinema gives to an actor is immense and I very much wanted to be a part of the new wave of Gujarati cinema. So, when opportunity knocked on my door, I simply grabbed it. And the cast and crew has been like family, with lot of new learning and lot of new bonding.
What are your thoughts on urban Gujarati films?
Lipi Goyal: This trend has to continue with increased acceptability from the audience. Gujarati cinema is undergoing a big revolution. The use of latest technology, music, sound, contemporary and fresh content has brought in a complete makeover. Especially, youth centric films are striking a chord with the audience. A lot of young entrepreneurs are investing time and money as they are turning Gujarati movie producers, which is a phenomenal development so far as Gujarati film industry growth is concerned. Moreover, it’s a good feeling to see Guajarati movies running houseful in-spite of good Bollywood and Hollywood movies released.
What are your tips for people who aspire to join the Gujarati film industry? How do they get started?
Lipi Goyal: To get started, getting into the right circle is important. Being an outsider, it is important that people from the industry should know that someone by this name is trying to make a name. I would suggest to start with theatre and that too from theatre workshops, as it helps in getting the basics right. And it is ALWAYS important to have self-confidence and passion for what you are pursuing. Any profession needs patience to be successful, but in this industry (whether theatre or film) you need this “little extra patience”. So before getting into it, remember that you might be working 24X7 for 10 months and you might not get work for the next 6 months. So, always have a backup plan ready as well in your mind.
You have worked in theatre as well as films. Which one do you prefer and why?
Lipi Goyal: It has to be theatre definitely! What could be more lively than everything coming to life in front of you? As an actor, I feel, theatre keeps you grounded. At the same time, it’s difficult to survive just on theatre. So, exploring other mediums too becomes crucial to move ahead.
Which is your favourite Gujarati film ?
Lipi Goyal: I happened to watch only three Gujarati films. And Bey Yaar is my favourite ! 🙂
(Featured Photo and Photo 2 courtesy: Vivek George)