It was a dream debut — a dream role with a dream cast — for Ayesha Kapur, who played a blind, deaf and mute girl in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black in 2005, sharing screen space with actor Amitabh Bachchan. But other than that and a role in Sikandar (2009) as a child actor, Kapur has stayed away from films till date.
Talking about her life post Black, the 27-year-old, who grew up in Auroville, says, “People back in Auroville don’t really watch films. I didn’t grow up watching Bollywood films, it is very multicultural. It wasn’t the same as growing up in Delhi or Mumbai. People didn’t make a big deal about me having been in Black and being famous. I remember that only when I’d go to Pondicherry people would recognise me and take autographs… and it would be embarrassing.”
She admits that her upbringing was different that is why she never let fame and money go to her head. “At Auroville you don’t brag about fame and money as you don’t want t come across as a showy person. For me it was a little overwhelming navigating all that. But I am grateful for the opportunity to do the film,” she adds.
After the stellar debut, which got her multiple awards, it is rather hard to imagine that Kapur would not have got many more acting opportunities as a child actor. Here, she reveals that her father took a decision on her behalf to stay away from Bollywood.
“My father is super protective and he didn’t want me to be caught up in the whole Bollywood thing. They weren’t living in Mumbai and they didn’t want me to lead that life. At that age one is very impressionable. People tell you that you are good and it could have had a negative impact on me and affected who I grow up to be,” she shares.
Kapur quickly adds that fame is not a bad thing, but for child, it is a different story. In fact, she reveals that in between school and college, she did spend some time in Mumbai cracking an acting career and that is when Shekhar Kapur’s Paani happened. Unfortunately, the film never got made.
“It was a dream role for me. The film was both in Hindi and English, something I was very comfortable with as English is not my first language…. I had a three-film contract with the production house and then the film got shelved and I broke the contract. My parents then insisted that I had to go to college and I went back to studies,” shares Kapur, who now an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.
Currently based in Goa, she says living outside Auroville made her realise how difficult it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle on a daily basis.
“That also made me realise that I want to be in this field and embrace health and wellness. I graduated last year from Columbia University with Sociology and I did a year long health and nutrition course. I want to share that with people. I live in Goa now and help people achieve their health goals and be their healthier self,” explains Kapur, who also is the co-founder of an accessory company with her mother.
However, she admits there is still love left for acting. “My primary focus is the health and wellness field. But I am open to acting. I have not signed any agent yet. I have had people approach me but nothing has materialised. I would only like to go through with it with the right kind of role,” she concludes.