While for many, Sobhita Dhulipala is known as one of the breakout stars of Zoya Akhtar’s Made In Heaven, she’s been in the industry since 2016. The actor has previously been a part of films like Anurag Kashyap’s Raman Raghav 2.0, in which she made her debut, and Akshat Verma’s Kaalakandi. She’s also been a part of a number of ads, before which she was doing the seemingly endless audition rounds that come with the life of a struggling actor trying to make it in the movies.

So we asked her about her strangest audition experiences. Here’s what she had to say:

“The number of auditions I’ve given in my life is insane. I’ve auditioned for everything from detergents to beauty soaps to shampoo to Vim, Rin, Syska, everything. Some I would get called for, but in the beginning, I would go to Aram Nagar, to whichever studio had auditions going on and I would just knock and ask if I fit the brief and If I can audition. I think a big challenge was that I was not fair enough or I wasn’t North Indian enough because they would be like ‘yaar tu na matlab imagine tu 16 years ki hain theek hai? Aur tu Delhi se hain theek hai?’ And I’m just like, even if I was to be a happy girl from Delhi, I don’t have to act like a retard na?

There was this one time, and I shouldn’t mention the studio, where they told me to audition and do a scene from Jab We Met. And I did the scene with the same dialogue. And they said ‘no no, can’t you see how Kareena’s does it?’ And I said ‘aren’t you supposed to be glad I’m doing it differently with the same emotion? But they wanted it exactly like her. I find it so weird that in our country the standards for acting are so low. People take loudness for greatness. Even on set when I’m shooting a big breakdown or screaming or fight scene everyone’s like ‘kya acting kiya hai‘ and I’m like that’s not acting. Acting is when there’s nothing to do. So I feel so disconnected, I feel like I’m speaking in ABC and they hear 123.

And (with auditions) there’s no feedback. They’re just like okay fine another person showed up, let’s test her also. Either you get a message saying you’re shortlisted for the next round or you don’t hear back at all. It’s like you go and you keep giving auditions and hope that one of them works out at some point. I’m not alone in this, so many people go through it. Why is why so many people jump at the sight of an opportunity when it finally comes. And you can go two ways after all that, either you can become bitter and full of angst and be this hard, rigid person. I went the other way, I became extra vulnerable, extra sensitive. I’m like, if I’ve been wronged, I don’t want to wrong somebody else. I don’t want someone else to feel alone. It’s less smart to go this route. But at least it keeps the child in me alive.”

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