Your father was in the army. Did your background influence the decision of doing The Test Case?
The reason I took it up was because it is the story of a girl in a world where no other girl had been before her. And the world happens to be the army. It’s something that instantly connected with my heart. My character, Shikha Sharma, is the first woman to undergo training to be a commando in the Indian Army. I usually pick up roles that I feel connected to. Or, it should be something I would be tempted to watch on screen.
So do you reject a lot of roles?
No, not at all. It is a question of what phase of our career we are in. Certain projects have taken longer than expected. For instance, Airlift look a year to be made. We were shooting for it all of 2015. However, when the film released, it created a nice impact. After The Lunchbox (2013), I went to Cape Town to shoot Homeland Season 4. Later, I was in Vancouver for Wayward Pines’s Season 2. I believe, a bit of chance as well as my choice of what I want to do are involved in the projects I finally take up. There have been projects that I really wanted to do but they did not work out.
What was your draw to feature in a web series?
The show belongs to a different space. I am obviously not the target audience for this series. I don’t watch shows online. But there is a huge audience for it and we don’t create enough web content in India. We are looking at content from the West. I thought it was quite interesting that we were going to seduce a new kind of audience. The first episode of the series, directed by Nagesh Kukunoor and produced by ALTBalaji, premiered on April 30.
What are your favourite memories as an army kid?
My favourite memories are of the Raising Day celebrations in army cantonments. So much preparation used to go into them. Plays would be put up by the officers and their wives and kids would be put in a room. When we used to be let out, we would go crazy, dance and have fun. Watching my father in the parade is a significant part of my memory.
Other than the physical training that The Test Case required, what was most challenging about it?
The biggest challenge was not to act. It is a very fine line to walk. The performance should be engaging and at the same time refrain from being over the top. From my experience of the army, I know that their speech is very unaffected. So, I had to deliver my lines without making it sound like a dialogue. I am still waiting to know how the performance has resonated with the audience.
Did Wayward Pine give you a chance to work with Manoj Night Shyamalan?
He is an executive producer on the television show. We Skyped a couple of times. But he was not around on the sets in Vancouver. It is a very niche and futuristic show. Since almost everyone was killed off in Season 1, I joined a new cast. For five months, I had a blast working on it.
From your Instagram account it is evident that you love to travel. I have not done any travelling for fun since November. I am scared that when I travel, I would be happy and end up eating junk. Right now, Maharashtra’s Satara, where we are filming the show, is as amazing as it gets. We have to shoot 11 more episodes of the series.