Her story can be told in one line – follow your heart. She came to Mumbai on May 23, 2004 and got an entry into the Balaji Studio on June 2. That’s fast alright. Kahiin To Hoga was her first show. Then Kasautii Zindagii Kay and Kaajjal (where she was the solo lead) came her way. Her life revolved around daily soaps but she gave it all up to try her luck in the South industry.
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Surveen says she has always followed her instincts. “I wanted to be a doctor but after my 10th standard I took up commerce. Later I took up Mass Communications but gave it up after the second year. In between I learnt classical dance for six years. Then, one fine day I realised I wanted to be an actor. So I packed my bags, took a train out of Chandigarh and came to Mumbai.” Post doing TV and a not-so-good run down South, she headed back to the North and took to doing Punjabi films. Luck turned in her favour and she became a star there. “I went through a low phase down South. None of my films were working.
It was the worst patch of bad luck ever. Like one Kannada film, which I had set high hopes on got released the week following the Mumbai attacks – the theatres ran empty. I was doing everything right but things weren’t moving as expected.” But things turned around once when Vikram Bhatt called her for a narration. She was moved during the narration and there was no way she could refuse Hate Story 2. [contentblock id=2 img=adsense.png] She knows the difference between bold scenes and skin show and was upset at some of the rude comments made on the Facebook page after the trailer of Hate Story 2 released. “Thankfully, my parents stood by me. My father watched the film and wasn’t upset. That was a big relief.” She says producers Vikram Bhatt and Bhushan Kumar and director Vishal Pandya are the coolest people to work with. “They made me comfortable and never forced me into anything.
I wore a bikini because I didn’t think it was that big a deal. They weren’t after me to wear it.” She says she didn’t mind the intimate scenes with Jay Bhanushali either. Producers had to sell the film that’s why they promoted the film like that. “The lovemaking scene is justified. I didn’t feel any discomfort. I’m proud of my choices. I believe doing this film is one of my best decisions.” The only thing that has acted as a bump in her journey are the constant ‘casting couch’ moments that she’s managed to subvert successfully so far. “During one phase of my life I was getting indecent proposals every day. Thankfully, it didn’t happen in Mumbai. But when I was in the South, I met this guy who was acting as a agent of one top National Award winning director.
This mediator told me that ‘Sir’ wanted to have a relationship with me for the duration of the film, just to understand me better and for the betterment of my role. I asked him whether he was telling me to sleep with the guy. I told him he couldn’t force me to sleep with anyone and that it remained my choice. That shut him up.”Currently, Surveen Chawla waiting for the release of Anurag Kashyap’s Ugly.
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She informs me she shot it before Hate Story 2. She’s glad that now the audience knows her and that means more footfalls for Ugly. Then, she’s signed another bold film, Leena Yadav’s Parched, which is about the sexual suppression of women in a remote village in Rajasthan. “It stars Radika Apte, Tannishtha Chatterjee and me,” she chimes, “And will be made in both Hindi and English. I’m looking forward to it.” So are we.