Hondisi Bareyiri is only the sophomore project of actor Naveen Shankar who made his debut in the 2018 cyber thriller Gutloo. Though he began his innings in a runaway hit that established him as a performer, the actor had to wait for five years for his next film. Similarly, his co-star in Hondisi Bareyiri, Aishani Shetty, took a three-year break from cinema. She made her debut with Vaastu Prakaara in 2015 and went on to act in a couple of films the same year, but did her fourth film, Naduve Antaravirali, only in 2018.
Naveen doesn’t delve into the details of his gap years but believes that his debut was successful and has helped him build an identity. “Gutloo formed this positive pressure to choose wisely. With a successful film like that, there is a certain expectation among the audience. They expect freshness and novelty in the projects we choose. It is not to say that the audience is waiting for our films. Instead, when we come with a release, they hope it is novel.”
While the gap was unplanned for Naveen, Aishani took careful steps to pursue her higher education. An undergraduate in Communicative English and Psychology, she went on to do her Masters in Mass Communication and Journalism. “I wanted to do a full-time Masters degree. And meanwhile, I took my time and chose to do only those films that I liked such as Naduve Antaravirali. It was also during this time that the idea of my short film Kaaji was born,” she says. While the actress was keen on doing her PhD, she also understood that it would leave her with no time to continue acting. “I can do PhD at any point in my life. Hence, I came back to films.”
Such gaps should not happen to budding actors, opines Naveen. He asserts that upcoming actors need to be more frequent with their releases. “One more thing a budding actor should consider is the economics of breaks. I did not have the pressure of running the household. For breadwinners, these five years would have been more difficult,” says the actor.
Aishani doesn’t have a strategy to grow in her career yet. “But it looks like I will have to start. As an artist, I want to play certain roles and wish to be part of certain types of films,” she says, pointing out that the films that come her way are not always like that. Since she is also interested in directing and writing, Aishani wants to write characters for herself. “We have seen many male actors do that, I want to pursue that as well.”
As for choosing films, Naveen has a different plan. He says that an actor is not outside the industry and the types of films they choose are proportional to the growth of the industry. “Everyone is an equal stakeholder. I believe we need to choose films that elevate the taste of the audience and enhance the industry’s progress.”