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Exclusive: Nagma Akhtar On Her Bollywood Journey And Lobbying Culture

Lehren's exclusive with actor and model Nagma Akhtar as she talks about her latest song 'Kitna Maza Hai', her production house 'Umeed Films', her journey in the industry and lobbying culture in Bollywood.

What kind of struggles did you face during the lockdown?

It was a difficult time for the entertainment industry. We live away from our families in Mumbai. It was difficult to survive emotionally, mentally and financially. I hope that we never get to experience this situation ever again.

Because of no shoots, there was no source of income. I kept wondering if things would ever get normal or if everything was coming to an end. It was very depressing to live alone during the pandemic. It felt like a curse. But things are getting back on track. I am waiting to get back to work now.

You recently launched your production house called ‘Umeed Films’. Tell us more about it.

I first thought about starting this platform last year. I was in my hometown during the first lockdown in 2020. During that time, Sushant Singh Rajput’s case surfaced in the headlines. He was someone like us who don’t have godfathers or any kind of support and come to Mumbai with big dreams in our eyes. He was a common man like us. He achieved everything on the basis of his talent and hard work. Whatever happened to him was so sad.

So, I wanted to establish a company that would give a platform to common people who have talent. I had such thoughts in mind but I didn’t know that it would come true so soon.

I settled for the name ‘Umeed’ which means hope. Last month I launched ‘Umeed Films and Entertainment’.

Umeed Films has launched its first project. Share some deets about it.

It is a music video titled ‘Kitna Maza Hai’. It is a very beautiful and melodious track. Altaaf Sayyed has sung it beautifully. I am sharing the screen with Kannada superstar Dharma Keerthiraj in the video. He has played his role beautifully and it was a pleasure working with him. It was fun shooting this song.

This song has a special message. We see youngsters wanting to end their life or they resort to drugs after a break-up. So, we want to tell them that break-up doesn’t mean the end of life. There are many other people who love you dearly which includes your family and friends. And you never know that God might have planned someone better planned for you in the future.

Heartbreak is no reason to end your life. Life is very beautiful.

Did you have a heartbreak in your life?

Yes, it happened and it was very bad. And therefore, when I heard ‘Kitna Maza Hai’ for the first time, I knew that I have to do it because I could relate to it in my personal life.

Also Watch: Minissha Lamba Opens Up About Finding Love After Her Divorce In 2020

How is the response on the song?

The response is too good. If you go on YouTube and check the comments, you would know that people are loving the song. You will fall in love with the lyrics and would want to listen to the song again and again. People are falling in love with ‘Kitna Maza Hai’.

How did you begin your journey in the Entertainment industry?

I was born and brought up in Guwahati, Assam. Creativity flows in my genes. My father used to love acting but he couldn’t fulfil his dreams. He passed away too young.

My mother tells me that I used to dance at the age when toddlers learn how to walk. So, she figured out that I would make a career in the entertainment field when I grow up.

So, I always wanted to be an actor. I never had a second option. I started my career through theatre in Assam. I did a lot of dance shows because I love to dance. I also did a lot of regional TV serials. But somewhere in my heart, I knew that I wanted something big in my life. I was happy in Assam but I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted more in life. And so, I came to Mumbai in 2012. I stayed here for 6-7 months and couldn’t gel up with people and the city. So, I went back to Assam thinking that I wouldn’t be able to survive here. It was so tough here.

But then, I was not happy. It took me some time to understand that I needed to spread my wings. And then, in 2016, I came back to Mumbai again. I gave a lot of auditions and got my first ad for PMC bank. My second ad was for Ajmera Builders. Then I did many TV serials like Crime Alert. Recently, I did a web series called ‘Fareb’ for Ullu App. Then I also did a special song in a Kannada film starring Dharma Keerthiraj.

It’s been a year when Sushant Singh Rajput passed away. His memories are still fresh in the minds of people. Do you think people will ever be able to move on?

I don’t think people will ever be able to forget what happened. Such cases happen every other day. We don’t come to know about most of them. But people could relate to Sushant Singh Rajput’s case because he was a common man. He was one of us. He was not a star kid. He had no godfathers and nobody pushed his career. He achieved everything on his own merit and hard work. That is the only reason why everyone could relate to him. People felt like they lost their own son or brother. It felt like a personal loss.

I am still not over his death. It is not possible. His face, his smile and the sparkle in his eyes, you just can’t forget it. I don’t know if it was a suicide or murder but I really wish that there is no other Sushant Singh Rajput.

Do you think that the mystery behind his death would be solved?

I don’t think it will ever get solved. If there was any scope, the mystery would have been unfolded by now. Last year, it was a hot topic and everyone raised their voices to demand justice. So, if the case didn’t solve at that time, it seems difficult now. But I really wish that the truth comes out.

Everybody thought that things would change in the industry after the demise of Sushant Singh Rajput. But now, Kartik Aaryan is allegedly boycotted by some big production houses. Nobody is speaking about it in details. What do you think is happening?

If we talk about Nepotism, it is obvious for someone to push their child’s career. If tomorrow my children want to become an actor, I would surely help and support them. But the problem arises when people snatch away someone else’s platform. There is nothing wrong with supporting your family members. But one shouldn’t destroy someone else’s journey while giving an opportunity to their close ones.

Kartik Aaryan has no godfathers. He has achieved everything on his own.

The kind of attention and treatment the star kids get is very different from the ones who struggle their way. They would never understand our struggle.

Do you think that the struggling actors feel scared to speak up in a fear that they would not get work?

True. Everyone is scared. In the end, everyone wants to work with good actors and well-established production houses. So, there is a fear amongst people. They are fearful that they won’t get work if they speak up. In the hope of getting an opportunity, they don’t come out to raise their voices. And that is very wrong because someone has to speak up. Someone has to be a deal breaker or a changer. If everyone stays quiet, these things would go on forever.

You recently posted a picture with Govinda. How did you two become friends?

We met through a common friend and became very good friends. He is such a sweetheart. He is very gentle. You get so many things to learn from him. And he doesn’t throw star tantrums. He is a very simple man and carries a very positive aura. You just want to keep talking to him. He is like a family to me. I got his blessings even during the launch of Umeed Films.

He was a superstar of the 90s. But now he has disappeared from films while his contemporaries are still ruling the industry. He mentioned that he became a victim of Bollywood lobbying. Has he ever talked about it to you?

Yes, we talk about his journey and experience in the industry because I get to learn a lot from him. And yes, he has been a victim of groupism. See, nobody can beat Govinda. He is a legend.

But people sidelined him due to the groupism culture. He shares his experience with me. He hopes that I never become a victim of it.

Govinda would come up with something special for his fans very soon.

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