Medha Aich is an actor who made her Bollywood debut in 2019 with the movie ‘Motichoor Chaknachoor’. The film has been directed by Debamitra Hassan and she was seen sharing screen space with renowned actors like Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Athiya Shetty.
Hailing from Assam, Medha is an alumnus of the Tezpur University and National School of Drama. Medha lives in Delhi but due to the pandemic, she is currently living with her parents in Guwahati, her hometown.
Muskan Bhatnagar got an opportunity to chat with her and get to know her better. Here are some excerpts from the interview:
Muskan: How was your journey to Bollywood like? How did you develop an interest in acting? How did you discover your passion for it?
Medha Aich: Since childhood, I’ve been into the field of performing arts. The first film or work that I had done in front of the camera was at the age of 8. I was playing a child artist, a child character. So that’s how it started. And then, when I was in school, I was also getting trained in Bharatanatyam. Then from Bharatnatyam, we also used to do a lot of dance-dramas to theatre. And after a point of time, I decided that apart from the studies I should also work on the performing arts side of mine. So I applied for NSD. So yeah that’s how it kept on developing. All my friends and teachers used to say that I must go to Bombay and I must give it a try because they used to believe that I have the screen presence, so that’s how it started.
Muskan: Would you like to share your experience in National School of Drama?
Medha Aich: Experience in the National School of Drama was a roller coaster ride, to be honest. It was a 3 years course but it felt like that the whole time went by adds if it was just 3 months. It was that intense, it was that rapid. The times were very busy at that time. My whole perspective changed. And I think institutions like NSD change your perspective and push you towards becoming an artist rather than only a skilled person. There’s a difference between sing and art, you know how to sing, you are skilled with singing but when you see life through music, that’s where you are becoming an artist because you are implementing that art in your life. So that’s when the difference between skill and art comes in. This whole thing, I understood and realized in the National School of Drama. When you have to, you know, eat, sleep, run, do what not along with the whole practice of theatre. So, everything happens simultaneously. It was a wonderful life-changing experience for me. The changes or the way it affects you remain with you for a lifetime.
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Muskan: You made your Bollywood debut with the movie ‘Motichoor Chaknachoor’. So how was your experience working on it?
Medha Aich: It was a new and my first experience in fact, and the thing is being a newcomer, you’re always anxious to shoot because all the known people are there and you don’t know how they’ll behave with you. So that anxiety was there of course. But thankfully and I consider myself very lucky that my first work in that field has been with a team who are so friendly, who are so caring. In no time we actually became a family, along with behind the people camera as well. So we actually have become a family and the best part is that there were 6 actors who were from the National School of Drama. So that kind of added to the comfort zone you know. So it was really comfortable, it was very good, we had fun, we talked a lot about very content matters like- at that time the ‘#metoo’ movement had started, so we also used to have healthy discussions on these movements. Of course, there would be arguments also but arguments are always good to have clarity. Everyone used to take care of each other, everyone was very down to earth, we used to have fun, we used to tease each other, we used to pull each other’s legs but in a healthy way. It was very nice. And I really hope that whenever I get a chance to work more and more it should be in an environment like this. It was a very healthy environment.
Muskan: Before going for the shoot, did you have any presumptions in mind about the big stars?
Medha Aich: Oh a lot! I was just preparing myself that if in case there is something offensive or something which hurts me, I have to be strong and I have to handle it well, I should not lose my temper. I should be cool and calm. So, a lot of anxiety was there.
Muskan: So whatever you had in your mind, did it turn out to be true?
Medha Aich: Oh not at all, not at all! It was very comfortable, it was very nice and yes the team really matters. I’m not saying that all the shoots are of the same kind, definitely not! There are problems during shoots, people do face many problems, especially newcomers, they face a lot of problems in terms of how to conduct ourselves, not conduct but how to be and you don’t have a lot of idea of what might happen, so it’s never the same. If there are 10 shoots happening, then 10 of them would be different from each other. There are shooting scenes where the situation becomes a bit awkward, or ugly or cold but this one was not like that thankfully. In fact I even had spoken to some of my friends who have an experience of shooting and all to get an idea from them. And they were like “just do your work”, “stay calm”, “focus on your work”, and things will be fine. And I was doing that already but it became all the more fun and all the more fruitful when I saw that the environment is so good and it was because of the team and the bunch of actors I was working with. They were all very nice to me, very kind to me and they also knew that maybe she is a bit anxious. They also know that people have a lot of presumptions before going for a shoot. So they made sure that I was comfortable. They really made sure, especially my seniors from NSD. They were very careful of me.
Muskan: Right now, as the pandemic is going on and work from home has become the new normal, how did you spend quarantine and are you working right now?
Medha Aich: Apart from performing and acting, I’m also teaching. I love teaching. So I’m taking online classes. And also a couple of workshops that other organizations conduct. Summer workshops on acting, theatre, and all. In terms of teaching, that is one, and thankfully the shoots and all have started already so a lot of auditions are also coming up. Thankfully due to the pandemic, they’re not conducting auditions physically. They’re sending the scripts and we’ve to send the self-test. That is happening and also this is a very important time and this time will not come back in our lives. It’s very important that at this time we should learn something new, so I’m learning German language and I’m also learning Mohiniyattam.
And also this is a very good time to bond with your family. It has been more than 12 years that I am out of my home due to work or due to studies. After 12 years I’m staying at home for so long. You know, we change and our parents also change with time. So you notice all the changes, you cope up with that and you also become much more friendly, much more understanding. And yes helping out my mother is another thing. Finding ample time to help them (parents) out with the household work also teaches you a lot of life skills. Cooking and all I think is a life skill. Everyone should know how to cook, because you know how to eat so you must also know how to cook. Not for someone else but for yourself. It is a life skill.
Muskan: What is your driving force? What is the one thing that motivates you to better and better every day?
Medha Aich: Oh, never to get satisfied with your work! That is the only driving force. Never to get satisfied because somewhere inside, you also know that you can do better. It is very important to see ourselves somewhere. You should know what you deserve, which position you deserve. It’s just that you’re not there, right? So the moment you’re satisfied with your work, your growth is stopped. You’re just done. That cannot happen. You can’t get satisfied. Like if someone appreciates, you obviously like it but you cannot get done by that? You always have to push yourself. So there’s a saying that if your aim is to reach the moon, if not the moon at least you’ll reach nearby, so you’ll have to place yourself above the moon. And we all are capable, we all are capable, we have to believe in that, you know, to push ourselves. If you believe that you cannot actually ever get satisfied with whatever you’re doing presently.
Muskan: When it comes to acting, who do you look up to?
Medha Aich: If I have to one name, it’ll be Meryl Streep. She’s witty, she’s intense. I really like her work.
Muskan: As you know that the nepotism debate has taken over the Internet ever since the untimely and unfortunate demise of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. What is your take on nepotism?
Medha Aich: Okay so what happens is that, if I take an example, suppose there is a doctor and he has a son or a daughter. So how the lifestyle of the doctor is, the son or the daughter has seen that. And if in the future, if they want to become a doctor at all, obviously this is not an excuse that a doctor’s child must become a doctor, the kid has to prove himself worthy of it. In the same way, I see that if there is an actor and that actor has a kid, the kid has become an actor like really different from the other conventional world. It’s not a 9 to 5 job and apart from your shooting you also have to do a lot of work on yourself. It is a kind of 24 hours of work. Maintaining yourself, thinking about your work, preparing yourself, keeping yourself up to date, so it’s a 24 hours work, according to me. So for someone who belongs to that kind of a family, or a kid who grew up watching all this, knows the mechanism. But at the same time, it becomes easy and relevant that this particular kid when grows up, can pickup and pursue this career in a much effective way. But the problem is that if you’ve seen the whole culture since childhood, then how much hard work it takes to become an actor, in that situation you should be much more trained, you should be much more prepared and you should be very particular that “whatever I show to the audience should be good enough”. And let’s not take the chances or opportunities for granted. Like “whatever I’ll do will be accepted just because I’m someone’s son or daughter”. So that is my take on it. You will obviously get through work much more easily but it is also important that you prepare yourself well enough since you have been exposed to that field, your struggle has always been milder than others. Like people like us, our struggle started from home, right from convincing our parents. That is something that they never had to go through, so that is a plus point. We have to devote a lot of energy and time convincing our parents, convincing everyone around us. They (parents) have so many stereotypes in mind, most of them are not even true also. So conventional parents are skeptical about sending their kids to this stream. And that’s understandable as there are few darker areas to this stream. So in that kind of a situation where you didn’t have to go through that struggle and all that why won’t you devote your time and energy in training for it? Getting yourself educated in this particular field of art, there’s a lot to learn. So that is what I find very problematic. And we have enough examples of bad work from stars kids. So yeah it’s fine till you prove yourself worthy of it.
Muskan: Would you like to share a memorable moment from the sets of ‘Motichoor Chaknachoor‘?
Medha Aich: When the first time I met Nawaz Sir on the sets of Motichoor, someone told him that I am an NSD graduate. He instantly called out, “Arrey! Meri Junior! “. This was a nice and special moment.
Muskan: Who is your favorite new generation actor?
Medha Aich: Vicky Kaushal
Muskan: A film you wish you were a part of?
Medha Aich: I wish I was a part of this film called ‘Bulbbul’. And also ‘7 Khoon Maaf ‘. I feel that if I had got a chance to play that character I would’ve played that character so differently. For an actor, there is a lot of potential in that film. So given a choice that if a film was to be remade and I had to act, it’ll be ‘7 Khoon Maaf ‘.
Muskan: An actor you’d love to work with?
Medha Aich: Pankaj Tripathi
Muskan: A movie genre you’d love to work in?
Medha Aich: Horror and Supernatural.
Muskan: If you were to do a biopic of somebody, who would that be?
Medha Aich: If ever, there’s a biopic made on the life of Rabindranath Tagore’s wife, I’d love to play that.
We are thankful to Ms. Medha Aich for taking out her precious time and speaking to us. We look forward to knowing her more and present her achievements and thoughts to the viewers.