By Jai Pradhan
Photos courtesy of Sanjog Rai
With time and patience, mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown. Likewise, a dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work. Seems like the Nepali starlet Shilpa Maskey holds a serious belief in these proverbs as she is not relying totally on her luck, but is actually working hard to be on the top of cinematic world. And she is actually kissing successes.
It was her passion in dancing that helped her debut in Shooting an Elephant, an 11-minute short movie directed by Venezuelan director Juan Pablo Rothie. It was her self-belief that took her to appear in 2016 American Superhero film Doctor Strange. Lately, her sheer grit and determination in cinemas are doing deeds to translate her wish into a bliss because her upcoming due releases are Akshay Kumar-starrer Gold and Tom Cruise-starrer Mission Impossible – Fall Out.
Wishing to get this determined lady on our page, we invited Maskey for an interview, and though she was busy working for her upcoming flicks—Kagaj Patra opposite Najir Hussain and The Break-up opposite Aashirman Deshraj Joshi—she came for the meet-up.
- What helped you to get the first-ever break in a film?
While I was in London pursuing my first-year studies in Business Management, I was taking dance classes as well. During an academic break in 2013, I was here in Nepal, and I auditioned for the movie ‘Shooting an Elephant’. The movie makers required a Burmese-looking girl who could perform a Burmese traditional dance, and I was selected for the short movie. So, I must say that my passion in dancing helped me get my first break.
- How was your experience in it?
It was amazing. We were shooting in Chitwan, and the temperature was 45 degree Celsius. At that time, I had short hair, and I had to wear a wig for the role. Besides, I had to get to get ready at 3 am while my shot came only at 4 pm. I still remember how I was supposed to wait all the hours under the scorching heat with that get-up. Anyway, I was enjoying watching the movie-making process, and it has been a huge learning experience.
- How did you feel meeting Tom Cruise?
Actually, I did not get a chance to meet him (hehe). Security for him was tight.
- What about your experience in Gold?
My mom is a big fan of Akshay Kumar (hehe). Actually, I’ve danced in a song, and it is a really catchy song. I prefer not to disclose details at this moment.
- How were you sure that acting was what you wanted to pursue as a career?
I have always been sure about my love for acting because I have been enjoying involving in movie-making process even in the ruthless of conditions. Filmmaking is a journey where a lot of people and aspects need to be taken under considerations. These include actors, crew, script, setup, locations, weather, and others. The glamour and fame come later but there’s a lot for an individual and production team as a whole. I have always found my inner love for filmmaking even in the heat or the wind or any other technical aspects of filmmaking, and I still do.
- Why did you take a break from dancing?
I was 17 when I went to London for further studies. I did try to catch up ‘dancing’ during my first year, but it was a tough one, practically and financially. I had to pay £25 (Rs 3,619) per hour, and as it required additional travel, it became more expensive. Besides this, there would be four days of college in a week and the rest was work, a must-have to pay for my tuition fees. It was quite hard to juggle with priorities. Honestly, I couldn’t afford dancing, and I quit.
- Will you be able to do a ‘9 to 6’ job?
It’s not that I can’t do it, but I prefer to work as an actor or a dancer and/or in something that requires these skill sets. When I was pursuing my studies in Business Management, I used to ask the same question to myself as well. I believe that we got to be prepared for anything in life.
- Have you ever had to face rejection in professional life?
Oh yes, of course. I have experienced unsuccessful auditions. Honestly, such rejections were pretty discouraging, and there have been a lot of weak moments. But that’s life. Something doesn’t work for us, but there are things that work perfectly. We have to keep on working on it. It’s always fun to keep heading at the direction one would want to head to. This keeps an individual alive ‘mentally’ and ‘emotionally’.
“I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN SURE ABOUT MY LOVE FOR ACTING BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN ENJOYING INVOLVING IN MOVIE-MAKING PROCESS EVEN IN THE RUTHLESS OF CONDITIONS.”