Aahana Kumra: Portrait of a young actor
Aahana Kumra, 32
First movie: The Blueberry Hunt (2016)
A movie that made you want to be an actor.
The Disney movies I grew up watching on VHS—Pocahontas, Beauty And The Beast, Alice In Wonderland—had strong female characters.
Which actor can be your doppelgänger?
Although I don’t think so, a lot of people say that I look like Anushka Sharma, (especially) on social media: “Aap unki duplicate lagti hain.”
Most desperate thing done to get into character.
In my final year of acting at Whistling Woods International in 2008, I was playing a beggar who had to recite the Urdu poem Aadmi-Nama while pretending to sit outside a mosque. I hadn’t bathed for a day for the performance. I saw a puddle right outside the campus and decided to dirty myself. A cute puppy came out of nowhere. I picked it up and took it to the class. During my performance, I concentrated on the puppy and said my lines. It sat in one place and listened. It was magical. I think I got the highest marks in any exam of my life.
Best piece of direction you’ve received.
Naseeruddin Shah, whose theatre group Motley I’m a part of, says, “Be loud and clear and don’t bump into the furniture.”
The most cinematic city in the world.
Tokyo—a cool mix of past and future. There are these little by-lanes, places stuck in time. And then, you have robot islands. During the premier of Lipstick Under My Burkha at the Tokyo Film Festival, I had a robot in my hotel called Pepper who would tell me directions.