Friday, June 21, 2024

A.I. can never replace humans, especially in India as it lacks emotion – Actress and supermodel Arjumman Mughal (Exclusive Interview)

Edited by – Robinson Bhuyan (Editor in Chief) 

Written by – Reetika Choudhury 

Interviewed by – Shashi Salwani 

Join us in this conversation with Arjumman Mughal, a supermodel and Bollywood actress. She made her debut in the film Pazhaniappa Kalloori, after which she appeared in the films Ya Rab, O Pushpa I Hate Tears, and the recently released 3 Shyaane. In this conversation with Enigmatic Horizon, she talks in detail about her career, her challenges, and shares some of her insights regarding life and cinema. 

Why did you move from Kashmir to Mumbai?

My family lived in Kashmir but relocated to Delhi for my father’s job during my 8th grade. Later, I received a jewellery shoot offer in Mumbai, which sparked my interest in permanently moving there for better career prospects. Mumbai’s vibrant entertainment industry offered numerous opportunities for growth and success, and therefore I made the decision make it my new home!

What inspired your journey into acting and modeling?

As a child, I was deeply inspired by the iconic film “Mughal-e-Azam.” Its captivating storytelling and powerful performances ignited my passion, which inspired me towards the world of cinema. Watching the film, I dreamed of becoming a part of such compelling narratives and bringing characters to life on screen. So, eventually this led me to pursue a career in acting and modelling.

What challenges did you face as a model?

I didn’t face many challenges when I was in Mumbai. Everything went smoothly most of the time. I approached my work with honesty and punctuality because my father was in the army, and I grew up disciplined. Initially, I did catalogue and print shoots, often using about 22-23 outfits in a single day. I was so fast that I could take on 3-4 shoots a day, wearing about 56-57 outfits. This efficiency earned me appreciation, and my name became popular in the market. Everyone started approaching me for work. Eventually, people began scheduling shoots according to my convenience. I did many print and ad shoots but I didn’t do much ramp work because my height wasn’t ideal for it. However, I was given special walks in fashion shows.

How did you transition from modelling to acting?

Maybe it happened due to my passion for storytelling and performance! While modelling provided me with valuable exposure and experience in front of the camera, I aways wanted the opportunity to delve deeper into the realm of acting and bring characters to life on screen. So, eventually I made a conscious decision to pursue acting as a career. Leveraging my modelling background, I embarked on auditions and casting calls, gradually gaining traction in the acting industry and eventually secured the role in my first film.

Share your experience working on “Ya Rab.”

“Ya Rab” was a significant milestone in my acting journey, providing me with an opportunity to showcase my talent and versatility on the big screen. Portraying the role of a mother in the film challenged me to delve into complex emotions and deliver a compelling performance. Yes, initially I did have doubts regarding if I would be able to pull off the character, but I immersed myself fully in the role, drawing upon my experiences and emotions to breathe life into the character. I had got the opportunity to work alongside a talented cast and crew, and I felt supported and encouraged throughout the filming process, allowing me to explore the depths of my character and deliver a memorable performance that resonated with audiences. The film gives a strong message against terrorism, and I urge everyone to watch it.

Tell us about your latest film “3 Shyaane” and how was your experience.

“3 Shyaane” marks an exciting chapter in my acting career, offering me the opportunity to collaborate with esteemed people from the industry. The best thing about this project was that I got to work with Priyanshu Chatterjee, which was a privilege, and he was the first actor whose autograph I had taken. The film’s narrative and storytelling promise to captivate audiences and leave a lasting impression. As the film prepares for release on an OTT platform, I look forward to see how the audience responds to it!

How do you choose a project?

When selecting projects, I prioritize stories that resonate with me on a personal and creative level. I gravitate towards narratives that offer depth, complexity, and the opportunity to explore diverse characters and themes. In addition, I also consider the calibre of the cast and crew, as well as the overall vision and direction of the project. Needless to say, collaborating with talented and visionary filmmakers is essential to me, as it enhances the quality and impact of the final product.

Your thoughts on A.I.? How do you think it will impact the entertainment industry?

Yes, some may express negative concerns about the impact of A.I, but I view it as a powerful assistant that can enhance us, rather than becoming a threat. In the realm of filmmaking, A.I. has the potential to streamline production processes, improve visual effects, and even assist in storytelling. But content that is entirely generated by A.I. will always lack the emotion and never be as good as content created by humans, and that is why it can never replace human creativity, especially in a country like India!

Can you tell us some challenges in staying relevant in your career?

Remaining relevant in the ever-evolving entertainment industry requires adaptability, perseverance, and a commitment to continuous growth and learning. As an actor, what I have observed in my life so far is that whatever is destined to happen will happen, no matter what you do. The only thing you can control is your consistency; be disciplined in your life and follow a healthy lifestyle.

Do you think violent movies such as Animal or web shows like Mirzapur can impact the youth negatively?

I feel films should be pure and natural; they should show the harsh realities of our society. Therefore, I believe films should be made in every genre, not just focusing on the specific types that a certain section of society wants us to.

It may be true that exposure to violent content may influence attitudes and behaviours to some extent, especially among those youths who are considered “spoiled brats”, but it’s crucial to consider various factors, individual differences, societal influences, and the broader cultural context.

Films serve as a reflection of societal realities, and they explore complex themes and narratives. Yes, it is true that violent movies will obviously depict graphic scenes and intense scenarios, but they might also serve a deeper purpose, prompting viewers to confront uncomfortable truths and engage with thought-provoking themes.

Do you have any actor or director in mind with whom you want to work?

There are many filmmakers whose creative vision and artistic prowess have left a lasting impression on me. Working with esteemed industry professionals like Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Imtiaz Ali, and Shyam Benegal would be a dream come true for me. Their unique storytelling and cinematic brilliance have inspired me as an artist, and collaborating with them would undoubtedly be a fabulous experience! Additionally, I’ve always harboured a childhood dream of working with the three Khans – Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, and Aamir Khan, under the direction of a director such as Subhash Ghai. It would definitely be a life-changing experience for me! However, I feel that the industry hasn’t recognized me much as an actor, although the people close to me consider me a star!

How do you see the role of women evolving in cinema?

From strong, independent protagonists to complex, flawed characters, female characters in cinema are indeed breaking free from conventional molds and challenging audience perceptions. However, in many contemporary films, women’s roles are often limited to bed scenes, romantic scenes, and scenes where they are vulnerable and are in need of help. People focus on how glamorous and appealing a girl is, reducing women to materialistic portrayals. I believe that women should be given performance-based roles that add meaning to the story.

Whenever people ask me why I, as an actor, have a problem with doing bed scenes, I reply that it’s not about having a problem with the scene; I simply don’t want to do it. I want to play roles where I can deliver impactful messages to society.

If you weren’t an actress or a model, which career path would you choose other than these two?

Acting and modeling have always been my true passions, and I can’t imagine pursuing any other career path with the same level of dedication and enthusiasm!

Please tell us about your upcoming projects.

If I get the opportunity to work in good films, I will take it. Despite working in this industry for so long, I haven’t received the recognition I hoped for. This might be because I am a very humble and down-to-earth person. I come from an underprivileged village family. I haven’t been able to fully prove myself, and that’s why people don’t recognize me. However, outside this industry, people view me as a star and treat me with respect. But I will not be satisfied until I get a good film to work on properly. Including Aamir Khan and Vidhu Vinod Chopra, I have tried working with several renowned filmmakers, but till yet, my efforts haven’t been fruitful. To be honest, I want to work with the senior directors in our industry because their way of expressing everything is different, and they do not take my down-to-earth nature as a weakness.

Thank you for your time!

Thank you for having me. It’s been a pleasure discussing my journey and perspectives with you.

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