Insights into TV actress as a profession

  1. The only benefit one should seek from their career is to make sure it’s providing them with happiness and fulfillment. With happiness and passion, everything follows.
  2. Back in the day, when I was just starting out, it was really challenging to establish a name in this profession. Only a limited number of serials used to be relayed then. Now, it’s the complete opposite.
  3. An actress’s income cannot be determined as each actress’s income is very different from another’s. Every actress earns according to her experience, her demand in the industry, the budget of the serial etc.
  4. If you are talented, then entering this profession is not tough, really. Out of 10–15 auditions for different roles in a different series, you’ll probably get selected for one, at least.
  5. Though my interest was acting, education was my priority while growing up.
  6. A TV actress’s income falls in the range of close to nothing to 50,000 INR per episode. Income can be higher than 50,000 INR per episode, but that is generally not the norm in the industry.
  7. Some commendable acting schools are “Whistling Woods”, “Anupam Kher Acting School” and “Roshan Taneja School of Acting”. Though, I have never attended any such school.
  8. Retention and visualization abilities, rehearsals are factors that determine whether you’ll thrive in this field or not.
  9. Generally, an actress is required to work for 12–14 hours/day. The number of days in a week/month is not fixed and it totally depends on the number of projects you are involved in.

Profile Details

Name – Vandana Pathak

Profession – TV actress; famous for her role of Jayshree Parekh in Khichdi, Meenakshi Mathur in Hum Paanch

Gender – Female

Age – 50 years

City – Mumbai

Industry – Entertainment

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Mumbai. After a certain period of time, however, my family and I relocated to Ahmedabad, Gujarat; where I completed my schooling and pursued my graduation.

After getting married, my husband and I moved back to Mumbai. This city officially marks the commencement of my career as an actress!

What is your family background like and who would you say, had a remarkable influence on you growing up and how?

I was born into a joint-family. My father owned a theatre in Gujarat called “Natya Sampada” while my mother, on the other hand, was working for LIC. My family was always cocooned by a democratic, worldly environment.

Growing up, I’d say, my father had a pre-eminent influence on me. My father, a pursuer of excellence, always manifested lessons of optimism and humility into the family and encouraged me to realize my aspirations.

Please give us a summary of your career.

I started acting at the age of three. Since my father was a scriptwriter, director, and an actor, I used to play several roles in his acts. My first play was “Nandu Indu”.

While pursuing my graduation, I secured a diploma in dramatics from Gujarat University’s drama college. During this time, I acted in my first official play called “Sparsh”. The plot, based off of a true story, revolved around the rehabilitation of leprosy victims and showcased how society used to look down upon them, fearing that they would fall prey to it too, even though this skin disease isn’t contagious.

Following this, I was honored with “the best actress award” for three consequent years. I also acted in a series called “Huto Huti” which marked the beginning of my popularity in Gujarat.

After this, I got married and returned to Mumbai. One of the first projects that I tackled on my return was “Hum Paanch”, an Indian sitcom where I played the role of “Meenakshi Mathur”.

Before this, I also starred in plays like “Janmadata” and “Patrani”. Actually, the very popular “Bade Acche Lagte Hain” has its roots in “Patrani”!

Next, I acted in “Padosan”, a family comedy, after which I commenced upon acting in “Ek Mahal Ho Sapno Ka” as Sonal Abhay Nanavati.

After this came “Yeh meri life hain”, “Mr and Mrs Sharma Allahabadwale”, “Main Kab Saas Banoongi”, “R.K Lakshman ki Duniya”, and “Saath Nibhana Saathiya”.

Currently, I’m starring in Khichdi, playing the role of “Jayshree Parekh”.

Which institutes, according to you, are the best for pursuing this career?

There are umpteen acting schools that offer great courses like “Whistling Woods”, “Anupam Kher Acting School” “Roshan Taneja School of Acting”, etc.

As far as I know, these institutes consist of astounding lecturers and staff. You get immense exposure if you’re part of these acting schools.

Many of them invite individuals from Bollywood and Hollywood to interact with their students, which is one of the chief benefits of pursuing an acting degree from such institutes.

They also provide an incredulous degree of guidance to students, which really is commendable.

Then again, I’ve never attended these schools myself. However, I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback regarding these schools.

At the same time, one should carry out a thorough research before opting for a particular institute.

What is the expenditure associated with the education/training of this profession, approximately?

Everything has become incredulously expensive these days.

The expenditure you’ll incur depends upon the acting school you’ve decided to attend. For the institutes mentioned above, you’ll probably spend about 4–5 lakhs per year.

Many workshops and part-time courses have been made available too, which may cost you about 10000–20000 INR.

One can also attend crash courses that last for four months or less, but then again, the fee structure varies from school to school.

How does one manage to enter this field?

The procedure to enter this field is quite elementary.

While pursuing your degree, one has to compulsorily audition for different roles. Today, numberless serials are produced, be it a television series or an online series. Inevitably, with this comes a definite increase in opportunities for young aspirants.

It’s not very difficult to get your first role, really. Out of 10–15 auditions for a different role in a different series, you’ll probably get selected for one, at least.

Back in the day, when I was just starting out, it was really challenging to get a role since we were only introduced to “Doordarshan”. Now, it’s the complete opposite.

Yes, the intensity of competition between today’s youth is on the rise, but so are the number of soap operas and roles!

What is the range of remuneration one can expect when starting out in your line of career & industry?

One cannot generalize at all. Different actresses earn differently.

It really depends upon how much of a mark you’ve left in your wake, the projects you’re embarking upon, what kind of projects you’re accepting, your experience and dexterity, whether you want to establish a name in movies, theatre acting, television soap operas or commercials.

Many times, there are fine actresses who don’t earn that much primarily because of their choice of roles. These people prefer method acting overacting for commercial reasons only.

And income is definitely not dependent on the number of years of experience like that exists in the corporate world.

A TV actress’s income falls in the range of close to nothing to 50,000 INR per episode. Income can be higher than 50,000 INR per episode, but that is generally not the norm in the industry.

Actress’s income in a TV serial is dependent on the popularity of the show, TRP, the importance of your role, etc.

The income can be renegotiated if the serial is divided into seasons.

Describe your work.

Right now, I’m playing the role of “Jayshree Parekh” in “Khichdi”, an Indian Television Series. Shoots usually commence in the morning. Once I reach the destined location, I start off by settling into my room and getting ready for the shot. Once I’m done, I pursue my script before the shoot starts.

Sometimes, when my shot gets delayed due to some reason, I busy myself with watching movies.

I need to put in around 12 hours per day. However, like I said, if my shot gets delayed or we didn’t complete what’s on the agenda, shooting can extend up to 14 hours too. Generally, though, it’s 12 hours.

I work on all days, however, currently, I am working for about 15–20 days per month.

In your opinion, what are some benefits that would encourage an individual to consider this career/job?

If you treat your career with respect, it will reciprocate.

The only benefit one should seek from their career is to make sure it’s providing them with happiness and fulfillment. With happiness and passion, many benefits will come along.

Also, as a part of the entertainment industry, you get to interact with umpteen people coming from different backgrounds, belonging to different cultures, which is pretty much a humbling experience.

Can you mention a few challenges that you would want someone to be aware of if they’re considering this career/job course?

Because I love acting, it is very tough for me to find challenges in this profession. Though, there may be several for others!

Challenges are subjective, I’d say.

But one risk factor that everyone can relate to is the fact that a serial either continues for years together, or it just doesn’t work out. There’s no in-between, really.

This is true for acting as a career as well. Either you succeed, or you don’t. Unlike, several other professions, there is no place for mediocre talent in this industry.

How to become a good actress?

In order to thrive in this field, one should possess commendable retention skills. You have to be able to learn your dialogues within a particular time frame.

Next, one should also be able to visualize their role, empathize with their character as if they’re the same person and showcase those feelings when it’s time to.

It’s also important to read up ample. With reading, comes knowledge, inevitably. When you’re shooting for a soap opera, you cannot expect your team to guide you or teach you how to deliver your dialogues or how to present your role. Everyone has their own work to attend to.

You have to know your way around your work well enough to perform without needing any backing or assistance.

I also consider rehearsals very important. Some people prefer rehearsing by themselves, however, I don’t agree with that technique at all.

If you’re not comfortable enough to interact with your team, then there’s no way you’ll be able to pull your role off. You need to familiarise yourself with their acting techniques too for the process to function smoothly.

What kind of a person, do you think, would be content in this field?

The only trait required to be content in this profession is being passionate about it. I’ve seen people occupying two extreme ends of the spectrum but still thriving in this field.

For example, some are extremely sociable while others aren’t, some are short-tempered while some are pretty much the opposite.

So, there’s no specific personality type that would be content in this profession.

This profession is all about passion. If you have passion, you will excel and be happy.

Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned?

Absolutely not. I’m extremely contented with the way things have unfolded themselves in my life with respect to my professional selections. I bask in the happiness that this career has brought me. This is completely credited to the fact that I recognized my calling and pursued my passion.

What advice would you offer to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path similar to yours?

For acting specifically, I’d suggest people to comprehend their role and dialogues in the language they’re most comfortable with, temporarily. In this way, one can really connect with the role assigned to them. It really reflects in your acting and delivery, in my opinion.

Also, don’t belittle yourself. Remain patient and persistent.

Initially, the number of projects offered to you doesn’t determine your worth. It’ll take time for your career to flourish. All your hard work will come back to you in the form of success if you keep the passion burning within you.

Contributing Writer – Urvi Shah