After ruling television and making a starry appearance at Cannes last year to promote Lines, Hina Khan is now eyeing the silver screen. Hina will make her Bollywood debut with Hacked which revolves around cyber-bullying.
Hina shot to fame with the hugely popular TV show Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai. After eight years of playing Akshara, she called it quits for newer avenues. She emerged as the first runner-up of Bigg Boss 11 and Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi 8. Hina even played Komolika in Kasautii Zindagii Kay reboot.
In Hacked, Hina plays the victim of an obsessive lover who creates havoc in her life when she refuses to give in to his demands. It also stars Rohan Shah, Mohit Malhotra and Sid Makkar.
Ahead of the film’s release on February 7, Hina Khan got candid about her Bollywood debut, challenges involved in doing films and why she thinks she is just starting off in her career.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
How does it feel seeing yourself on the big screen?
Big screen feel is yet to come. Obviously, I would love to go and take a seat in the last row and watch myself. That dream is yet to be fulfilled, but there is a lot of excitement because it’s going to happen in a few days time. There’s a lot of nervousness because it is my debut film, technically. The trailer has been received well. It was trending for five days. People are relating to the trailer because that’s what is happening in the world right now.
Hacked talks about getting stalked and bullied on the internet. Have you ever faced any such situation or know of a victim?
I do know some people who have been victims. Vikram (director Vikram Bhatt) told stories about his friends and how one girl had to leave the city because she was stalked so badly. There are so many stories. I personally haven’t really experienced it when it comes to hacking. But every now and then, I do get these text messages on my number which is registered on my Instagram and Twitter that someone’s trying to hack it. So yeah such things happen.
Contrary to other actors who pick lighter subjects, maybe a love story for their debut, you picked a relevant topic. Why?
It is a thing that needs to be talked about. Through my entire career, I have never played safe. I have always taken risks in whatever I have done. Be it leaving my show (Yeh Rishta Kya Kelata Hai) where I was financially so secure. I would have still been doing that show and earning a lot of money. Be it playing an antagonist (Komolika) on television, walking the red carpet without knowing what will happen in Cannes – I have taken all the risks possible in my career. So why not this film? And trust me, this has really proven right for me. So I didn’t want to leave this opportunity. It is a very sensitive topic. I think a film on such a subject should have happened long before. We make movies on different types of crimes. We have Chhapaak which is also about an obsessive lover and what he does to the girl. Even Hacked has an obsessive stalker, hacker, lover and psychopath. So, we need such subjects. This cyber-crime is no less than any other crime.
How was it working with Vikram Bhatt? Is he a demanding director?
He would tell you what he wants. After that, if you manage to give him a little extra, he would be very happy. Luckily, we (Hina and Rohan) were quite good in terms of performance. You will have a long-lasting career only if you can perform.
What is that one thing you have carried from television to films?
I think the kind of patience we have in TV, working for long hours. We can mug up a scene. I used to read my scene in Kasautii and Yeh Rishta. Other than that whatever project I did, I never read the script or dialogues, other than the story. I used to read ten minutes before the scene so that I can give a spontaneous reaction. I don’t over-prepare myself. That’s the kind of actress I am. The person who has done television can do anything in life!
How different is it playing a character in a film as compared to television?
What I mentioned (above) is what to learn from television. There’s a lot to unlearn as well. There’s a set pattern in terms of performance. When we act on TV, we feel that’s how acting is. But no! Every medium demands certain kind of performance. TV demands over-the-top performance. If we talk the way we are talking, it will not work on TV. People wouldn’t watch it unless we give over-the-top reactions. That doesn’t work in digital and films. So a lot needs to be unlearned. I have actually done it.
From ruling social media to also being a victim of trolls, you have faced it all. How do you balance it?
When you start your career, there are ups and downs. People troll you. People talk about you. So it does affect you. It used to bother me too. In fact, I used to give it back to the trolls. But then I realised they are psychopaths who have no identity. They sit in front of a computer and troll people. And we are giving them what they want. It is better that we don’t react. We are not living for them. They should not make any difference. And since a year and a half, I have not been trolled (laughs).
If given a chance to go back to the time when you started your career, is there anything you would like to change?
Nothing! What are you saying! I gave an audition, next day I was in Bombay. I went to the audition with a passport size picture. I didn’t even have a portfolio. I got selected and played the longest-running character on Indian television (for eight years) – a record in India. Mine is a Cinderella story. I think I wouldn’t demand anything other than that. I had never faced a camera. So I don’t think there could have been anything better. I don’t want to change anything. I love the way my journey has been.
Will we see you back on TV or is it only films for now?
I think for now I would like to concentrate on films. I would want to see how Hacked does and the opportunities I get. I have a lot of things in the pipeline. I have another film coming up in March. Let’s see how this film industry accepts me. Will I get a chance to be a part of their family? If yes, then I would like to pursue it further.
And when do we see you walking down the aisle?
I have just started my career in films. So how can I get married right now? I think I am more or less settled in my life. Wedding is just a formality. But yeah, maybe after two or two-and-a-half years, I will do it.
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