Minissha Lamba is a Hindi film actor who made her Bollywood debut in 2005 with the film ‘Yaahan’. She was also a part of popular films like Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008), Well Done Abba (2010), and Bheja Fry 2 (2011). In 2014 she participated in Colors TV’s Bigg Boss 8.
Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
How did you begin your acting journey?
I used to do modelling while I was in school and college. When I was young, I did an ad for Cadbury which was directed by Shoojit Sircar. When we finished shooting the ad, he told me about his debut film ‘Yahaan’. That is how I entered the film industry. It was by accident because I didn’t have any plans to become an actor. I used to do modelling only for side income. I never thought that I would become a full-fledged Hindi film actress.
What were your plans then?
I wanted to be a war journalist. My parents were very afraid when they heard about my plans. But when I was offered a film, they were happy and relieved that I was not going in a war zone atleast.
Surviving in the Bollywood industry is no less than a war. What kinds of battles did you fight in this industry?
I believe that life itself is a battle. Talking about the industry, it definitely is a battleground. It is one of the most difficult professions to be on the planet. It is a very insecure industry because you are living from one paycheck to the other. There is a lot of insecurity about work. You need to have a couple of hit films or TV shows for your career to have longevity. Also, there is a lot of competition. New talents join the industry every day who are willing to work for longer hours for slightly lesser pay. People easily lose work here. So, it is a financially insecure company.
Do you have a plan B for yourself?
I have a plan B in my mind but I haven’t brought it into action yet. In the meanwhile, I have launched my app also. It is called Minissha Official App where I personally connect with my fans. It has a video calling feature as well. We didn’t have something like this when I was growing up. But the technological developments have made it easy for us. I started this app during the lockdown.
You participated in Bigg Boss a few years ago. Did it change your life in any way?
I was in the Bigg Boss House for only 6 weeks and therefore, nothing changed for me. I never took a stand, which I was supposed to take. I was very shy and never really spoke about what I felt. I used to let go of things. This kind of attitude doesn’t work in a reality show. It would be unfair to say that Bigg Boss changed anything for me.
Did you follow the next seasons of Bigg Boss?
Yes, I really love watching the show. I know how difficult it is to survive there. I understand what the contestants are going through.
Does film industry take mental health seriously?
In this industry, taking care of mental health is very important. As we earlier discussed, that it is no less than a battleground. You are still the charming person and great actor, but you may not be offered work for ten reasons. As I said, it is a financially insecure industry. One has to take mental health seriously because you are always competing here.
And now, social media has added the pressure. People are always competing in terms of followers, reach, engagements, trending reels. So, now the pressure is not just limited to work. Even when you are sitting at home, you have to create content for social media. So, you are always on. There is no Off button now.
Is social media negatively affecting our mental health?
It can have both positive and negative effects. If you consider it just as an added weapon to your armor, then it has positive effects. But if you keep bothering about likes and comments, then it is a problem.
So, use social media as a tool. Use it as one of the many things in life.
A lot of celebs faced online abuses and threats on social media after the death of Sushant Singh Rajput. Many celebs took a break from social media.
It was a terrible time. I used to get shocked while watching TV. It felt like someone waved a magic wand and people believed that there was only one truth. I was shocked to see people’s reaction and how they came to a conclusion without an investigation. People became a jury at that time.
How do you take care of your mental health?
I am naturally a very detached person. I don’t give much importance to what people say or think. I live by the value system that only the people who are very important, their opinions matter. I think that attitude helps a lot in being happy.
You started doing commercial shoots at the age of four. How did you manage your studies and work?
It was just a hobby for me back then. Most of the shoots happened on weekends. And in case, if there was a shoot on weekdays, my mother used to ask for a leave from my school teachers who were pretty understanding. They knew that I wasn’t going to relax at home. Everybody used to appreciate me at school when my ads were aired on TV.
What are your emotions when you look back at your journey?
I feel happy and consider myself fortunate to make a career in this industry without knowing anyone here. Even Shoojit Sircar was an advertising professional and didn’t have any connections in the Bollywood industry. He just focused on his work. Whatever I have achieved, I have got it with my hard work. There was nobody to help or guide me. So, keeping this kind, I feel that things went very well.
You recently opened up about your divorce. Speaking about personal things on a public forum is not easy. When and how did you decide to share it with the world?
I don’t know when I decided. But the only reason I shared it with the world because a lot of time people assume that the woman would be shattered and her life would have fallen apart after the break-up. So, I just want to say that people stay happy these days. Separation doesn’t mean the end of life. People are often afraid to get separated thinking that there wouldn’t be anything left in their life. So, I wanted to break that stigma and help such people by using my positive experience about my divorce. People who are going through similar experience just need encouraging words, so that they have hope for the future.
So, this means that you are in a happy space now?
Both I and the other person are in a happy space. No one has been unhappy and devastated by it. I don’t want the word ‘separation’ or ‘divorce’ to have a negative stigma. There was a relationship and now there is not. It doesn’t mean that we are defined by it our whole life. Relationships are just a part of your life. They are not your complete identity.
Are time changing for women when we talk about divorce?
Yes, times are changing. I don’t want people to see me with pity. Everyone moves on. Life gives you more chances and happiness. It may come immediately for some, and it may come later for some people. So, I want to share this positive outlook and encourage people to have a new start in life.
How was your lockdown?
It has been fun. I have been spending time with someone very special and it has been lovely.