Bani J is on cloud nine and why should she not be? The VJ-host-actor’s web series, Four More Shots Please! (FMSP) has found a place in best comedy series category at the recently announced International Emmy Awards 2020 nominations.
“This is unbelievable. We can’t even get over the discussions. Such recognition does validate the contribution of everyone who worked on the show. Hopefully I’ll be taken more seriously as an actor. So I’m looking forward to what exactly changes around me,” she laughs softly.
Getting right kind of project, according to Bani, would depend on people’s perception. However, right now the focus is more on enjoying the moment. She is also happy for her former neighbour Arjun Mathur, who bagged the best actor nomination.
“I was like ‘wow this is awesome man’. He couldn’t agree more and was so happy for us. It feels really great. We must celebrate the achievement of our peers. This is much-needed in the industry where there are some who aren’t happy with other people’s success, which I think is so sad,” she adds.
Though she made her acting debut at 19 in Bollywood with Aap Kaa Surroor – The Real Luv Story (2007), Bani took time before deciding to explore the art form. She did an acting course and when she felt ready, took the plunge.
“I needed to be ready as a performer, feel that I’ve the capacity to express this vastness of emotions. Earlier I didn’t have it. You can’t fake it in front of the camera,” says Bani, adding that she’s also not someone who can do multiple projects at a time.
In fact, she said no to films offers that came her way while shooting for the first season of FMSP and also took a break after it got done to restore her energy. “I’m not those actors who can keep going, kudos to those who can. Also, I can afford to say yes or no to work, thankfully,” she adds.
Ask if she’s drawn towards pivotal parts much like her character in FMSP and Bani says, “The industry doesn’t understand where to place me. Abroad it’s different. They’ve actors, who’ve tattoos and are very fit as well. But in India there’s a mindblock. And there have been times when I got work based on my looks. So I hope they’ll be able to write roles for people like me, something that happened in case of Umang (in FMSP).”
Having played a bisexual character in the series, Bani is also hopeful that such roles would be explored and accepted more in the coming times. “We talk about inclusivity and all but that should translate everywhere and every field. No discrimination should be made in terms of body shapes and sizes, skin colour etc too,” she urges.
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Author tweets @Shreya_MJ