Actor Soundarya Sharma may have lived her life in several cities till date, but in her own words she’s a true-blue Delhiite. Recently in the Capital, which is her home town, she recalls the days when she learned theatre at National School of Drama (NSD), before moving to the US to learn at Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, and the New York Film Academy. And flashes of her memorable growing up years come rushing back to her.
Mandi House — the hang out zone
“Mandi House used to be our adda,” reminisces Sharma, who is popular for web series Raktanchal. The minute she entered Triveni Kala Sangam, memories of her growing up years came rushing back to her. “This is my first visit here in four years. I used to come to Mandi House to hang out, eat some great food, and get inspired by the art put on display and give auditions. NSD, which is just round the corner, is where I used to come for my drama workshops. I practised theatre and other cultural pursuits at Modern School on Barakhamba Road…. Once I met Anupam Kher (actor) here once, and had such a fan moment! Today I think about that, and then think how it’s surreal that I’ve got the chance to work with him in my debut film Ranchi Diaries (2017),” adds the 27-year-old.
Brought up in Sundar Nagar, Sharma recalls she moved to Preet Vihar where her maternal grandparents were living. A student at Vardhman Mahavir Medical College, Sharma did her junior residency at Safdarjung Hospital. “I was so passionate for acting that even after a long day at the hospital, I used to go for acting workshops in the evening at NSD… I realised there are also many auditions that happen here. That’s how this whole place became like my adda,” she says.
One month of masti at DU
Not many know that before relenting to take up the gruelling dentistry course, Sharma was all for fun at Delhi University (DU)! “Before taking admission in dental school, I wanted to experience what DU is like. Though I knew very well that I’ll study a professional course only, I still took admission in Daulat Ram College, and attended classes for a month. I had to do it because everyone would dress up so well (laughs)! I didn’t have a chance to explore Delhi before I took admission in DU because I was too much into academics. I knew I had to take admission in DU because my father, being a protective parent and of the opinion that Delhi is unsafe for girls, would otherwise never allow me (to explore the city). So during that time when I was in college, I would colour, braid and bead my hair. And in just that one month of being in North Campus, I had the fun that’s worth the entire three years of graduation!”
‘Delhi people are warm’
“I am a hard core Delhi ki ladki! First, there’s no place like Delhi for food. Moreover, mujh mein tolerance nahi hai (chuckles)! But on a serious note, people in Delhi are very warm. Hum logon ka dil bada hai, it’s truly dilwalon ki dilli. Mumbai has a different vibe, and I feel in Delhi there’s more relatability with the other person. Maybe that’s because I am from Delhi and I know every gali and nukkad here,” she says.
She cannot count the most memorable places in Delhi. “So many are there. My friends and I used to explore a lot at Bengali Market, Khan Market, and Sarojini Nagar market. That time we weren’t earning, so whatever little pocket money we would get, we would spend all of it on clothes. Flea market shopping was the best that time! It’s been more than a decade since I went there,” she says adding, “But coming from a place where I didn’t even know how to give auditions, to landing in Delhi seeing posters of my work…. there’s a sense of achievement there. Although I feel my journey has just begun and I’m taking baby steps but I’m thankful to see my dreams come to reality.”
Author tweets @siddhijainn
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