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Exclusive: Veronica Vanij’s Journey To Bollywood, Nepotism And More

Actor Veronica Vanij who has worked in many music videos and shortfilms shares her journey to Bollywood in an exclusive interview with Lehren. She also expresses her opinion on Nepotism and casting couch in the industry.

You were recently seen in the music video ‘Khuda Na Kare’. The song and your performance was well-received by the audience. How are you feeling?

I feel great. Anand Raj Anand is a big name in the industry. So, it feels great to be working with such great people from whom I can learn so much. My career has just started and in the beginning, I am getting such exciting opportunities, so I feel very lucky and blessed.

You did a music video back in 2018 with Ritviz. The song was titled ‘Jeet’. At that time, you were very new to the industry. But now people recognize you and your work. How has been this journey of about 2-3 years?

I have learned a lot in this time. When I was new in this industry, I wasn’t aware of a lot of things. I earlier used to think that the glamour industry is very easy to work in. I thought that I would get success overnight. But it’s not like that. It’s very difficult to survive in this industry.

And when I actually started working, then I came to know that it’s not as easy to work here as it seems from the outside. I had many ups and downs in these years. But this is just the beginning. There’s a lot more to come.

You belong to a defense background. When did you decide to come to Mumbai and make a career in the entertainment industry?

I decided this a long time ago. I used to participate in school plays and people used to appreciate my performance.

As I grew up, I realised that I actually love and enjoy doing this. And then I realised that I can make it my profession and make money out of it. So, here I am.

Was your family supportive of your decision to come to Mumbai and join this industry?

They didn’t support me in the beginning. My father was in Indian Airforce. So, he wanted me to be a pilot, while my grandmother wanted me to be a doctor. It’s the story of every household, wanting their kids to be doctors and engineers. But my mother supported me a lot. She is the only one who understood my dreams and supported me from the very beginning.

My mother came to Mumbai with me and supported my every decision. Later, my whole family moved in. So, my mom is my biggest support.

Since you are an outsider, what’s your take on nepotism?

It’s a big topic of discussion.

What happens is, when you come to this industry as an outsider, you don’t know from where to begin with, you don’t get the right opportunities and a platform as a star kid does. The star kids get it easily because their families are based in this industry.

But I believe, everyone has a different journey. Some people become a victim of nepotism and some don’t. So far, my journey has been great and I haven’t felt that I have been a victim of nepotism. Luckily, people are very supportive.

We often hear the stories of casting couch. The filmmakers and casting agents often try to take advantage of girls who come from outside. Have you ever faced a situation where you felt like this person has wrong intentions and decided not to work with him?

It has happened a lot of times. And I used to get scared in the beginning. I used to feel that this industry is not for me. But as I started working and I got to know the industry, I came to a realization that if there are bad people, there are good people too. All you need is to meet those good people. I told myself that every industry has its pros and cons.

You share a good bond with actress Malvi Malhotra. She was stabbed last year. What were your emotions when this horrifying incident happened?

When Malvi told me the first time, I was really shocked. My first reaction was ‘How did you deal with all this?’ In a city like Mumbai, and in an industry which is the safest to work in, if one has to face such a situation, it’s not easy to get over that. Malvi is very strong. God knows how she handled the whole situation. I can’t believe such incidents can happen in a city like Mumbai. People can’t take rejection. They can’t take a girl’s rejection. That’s the problem.

Do you feel scared after this incident?

I had never imagined that such a thing could happen in this industry. But now when it has happened, we do feel scared. We have to take extra care of ourselves from now on. Now we know that we are not that safe in this industry. If this industry has good people, then it also has bad people. So, one has to be mentally prepared. That’s it.

You worked with Hina Khan in a short film titled ‘Smartphone’. Her father recently passed away due to cardiac arrest and she was also infected by Covid-19. Are you in touch with her?

I haven’t been in touch with Hina Khan since a long time. But I was sad and shocked to hear the news. In a tough time, when the entire world is battling a pandemic, she suffered a big loss at a personal level. Losing father is a big thing. I feel very sad for her. I am praying for her.

What are your upcoming projects?

There are a couple of things in the pipeline. It’s the age of OTT. I have signed a couple of web films. I will begin the shoot after the lockdown. I can’t give out many details as of now. But I will share with you once I begin shooting.

Any upcoming music videos?

A Punjabi music video is coming out very soon. My shortfilm ‘Tijori’ is also coming out this month or the next month.

What do you enjoy shooting more? Music videos, films or web shows?

I like to do every kind of role. I just want to try different things. It’s not like I want to do only music videos or only web shows. Whatever good comes my way, I will definitely do it.

What are your professional and personal goals?

Professionally, I want to keep working. I don’t have a particular destination in mind. I want to keep getting better day by day. I want to try different roles.

On a personal level, I want to keep myself motivated and positive.

How are you keeping yourself fit, now when the gyms are shut due to the lockdown?

I am finding it very difficult because I am not a yoga or dance person. But yeah, I try my best to do at home. I try to do yoga, but I don’t enjoy it much. So, it’s a bit difficult for me. But I am following a proper diet. I also do meditation.

But earlier I used to go for a run, I used to do boxing, weightlifting etc. Can’t do all this due to the lockdown. So, I just try to keep healthy.

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