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Everything Is Straight Out Of A Dream: Saloni Batra On Debut Movie ‘Soni’ Winning Hearts

  • IWB Post
  •  January 19, 2019

After theatre, advertisements, and web series, actor Saloni Batra has now made her debut in Bollywood with Ivan Ayr’s Soni. A movie that gets us in touch with the lives of two Delhi policewomen. 

Soni looks at the journey of two female police officers, Soni and Kalpana, in their professional and personal space. The role of Soni is played by debutante actor Geetika Vidya Ohlyan and Saloni plays Kalpana. The movie has been doing the rounds at International Film Festivals like Venice Film Festival and British Film Institute (BFI) and receiving accolades.

Read excerpts from our chat where Saloni discussed what she learned of a policewoman’s life, juggling digital and mainstream, and surreal experience at the International Film Festivals.

You are a Delhi girl and you shot for your debut film as a Delhi policewoman. Did you learn anything new about the city?

I saw the city in a different way from the perspective of a police officer. On how they deal with drunk drivers on the street during night duty and also got to live what goes around in the city during night patrols.

And, how about your learnings about a police officer?

One thing I realised was how we always need to remember to understand both sides of the coin. If one side is us being in trouble and wanting solutions to our problems instantly, the other side is them dealing with multiple cases in limited time. I got to understand and live their side of the story that involves a high amount of patience and balance.

As we set out for an unforgettable journey to #Venice, sharing a bit of me from this very special film. Thank you everyone for all the love and the support 🙏🏻🙌🏻❤️ #venicefilmfestival2018 #venicefilmfestival #biennaledivenezia #godbless #excited #proud

382 Likes, 6 Comments – Saloni Batra (@saloneebatraa) on Instagram: “As we set out for an unforgettable journey to #Venice, sharing a bit of me from this very special…”

At one place they are dealing with personal problems and at the other, there are many victims waiting for your help.

Before landing movies, you’ve had a good presence in the digital world with your web series like Life Sahi Hai and It’s Not That Simple. Web series’ characters come across as more relatable than the others. Do you also curate your social media platforms accordingly?

It is such a powerful platform, especially for artists. We get to connect with our audience, India or beyond. It has opened avenues for us. So, I think the best is to be your real self, that is what I follow at least. If I like a picture, I upload. There are no second thoughts that involve, “Oh, I am a celebrity, maybe I need to be more conscious.” And, I think that maintains the relatability as it’s natural.

How do you plan to juggle digital world and mainstream now?

Oh, I hope I can balance well. There is amazing content being produced for web series and for movies. I hope to keep getting opportunities to work on the good projects with a good team.

I am gonna continue to be part of the web world. It is amazing with vast topics being covered.

Were you nervous to begin your movie journey with quite a serious script?

Not really. The first thing that came to my mind when I learned about Soni was that it is so realistic and powerful. I immediately wanted to be a part of the film. I felt so fortunate to have something so intriguing come my way. The experience of working on this film was beautiful.

Saloni Batra

Saloni Batra with her director Ivan

And, it’s receiving praises all across the world. How is the experience of being at the International festivals?

It is larger than life! Never knew I would be part of this. There are filmmakers and actors from across the world. Just to be around them, converse with them, and have your debut work being watched by such dignitaries is beyond happiness.

My parents were there with me at the Venice Film Festival too. It is so beautiful. I can’t express the feeling. Everything is straight out of a dream.

Saloni Batra

Saloni with her family at the Venice Film Festival.

When the screening was held for the public, we were thrilled to receive a standing ovation and watch them clapping for five minutes. In fact, Geetika and I had sneaked in to watch the reaction and when they spotted us, they wanted to click pictures with us. It was surreal. I still get goosebumps when I talk about it.

You have assisted a casting director and were also on the casting panel for Dangal. You’ve seen the process quite closely. Casting couch being a reality in India, is there any advice that you’d like to give to young aspirants?

I know it exists but I was fortunate enough to not go through any such thing. To be able to give an advice on this, I feel honoured.

I think in any field that you are in, you need to have your guard on, be smart and come across as a strong person. Also, in today’s scenario, no team wants to compromise with the quality of their work. So, the role and part will come your way through the most ethical way if you let your work speak for you. Do your bit, trust your talent, and be street smart.

 This article was first published on September 13, 2018.

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