“In conversation with Raviraa Bhardwaj - an actress, a model and a civil engineer from National Institute of Technology, Surat.
Q: You are an actress, a model and a civil engineer. That’s a lot coming from someone of your age. Could you just sum up your journey till now?
Ans: My journey has been amazing. I have somehow been able to achieve most of the dreams I envisaged due to a lot of hard work, great amount of luck and undoubtedly with a single dedicated mindset of achieving whatever my heart wants. It would be fair to say I have not achieved everything yet. I’m quite young and so I have many more aspirations and the top one amongst them is to become a Bollywood actress for which I’m trying and thriving each day.
Q: School days are considered to be the building blocks of life. Tell us the best memory you have of your school days.
Ans: I think every day was a day to remember and cherish, however I can tell you about a funny one. I was a topper throughout my school life and when I was in 8th grade, I secured 95% and it so happened that there was a guy who too secured the exact same percentage. I started wondering how can two students get the same level of scores and since I had been a topper it was very hard for me to accept that I had to share the topper position. I let the ‘competitive me’ get the better of ‘sane me’ and in the heat of the moment, in a piece of paper, I wrote to the guy asking him to share his exact percentage and the exact marks in each of the subjects. I then asked a friend of mine to pass it over to the guy and guess what? The next I hear are rumors about a love story blossoming between us. Everyone assumed that I wrote a love letter to the guy and when the guy showed it to his friends they all exclaimed what a topper freak girl I would be to go to this extent. It seemed funny back then but I must admit it seems quite crazy and stupid today.
Q: Let’s talk something about NIT, Surat. How were your days in NIT?
Ans: My life in NIT Surat (a.k.a. SVNIT) was probably the most chilled out phase of my life. In my view, everyone must experience the life in a government backed engineering college. The culture is phenomenal. You are not burdened with responsibilities, you get to spend so much time with friends and since the college was in the heart of the city, I was never short of doing something new or exciting. Then there is location advantage of Surat, it is very close to Mumbai, Daman & Diu, and Goa, so trips to these places could be made at one’s wish. We used to bunk our classes, maintain 60-75% attendance and basically had the time of our lives. I just remembered about my trip to Andaman & Nicobar Islands in my final year with my buddies. A lot of brainstorming went into the planning since we had to manage the attendance of one particular subject. As it turns out, the professor gave everyone full attendance to everyone regardless of actual bunks. Nothing is as pissing off as getting to know that all the planning was for nothing but the memories of the trip overshadowed the attendance memory.
Q: You have been to Barry John Acting Studio. What were some of the greatest lessons you learnt over there?
Ans: It was mainly about how to perform in front of a camera. The angle placement of your eyes, the block sequence/blocking i.e. knowing how to move in and around the camera and not making any haphazard movements and undoubtedly, they hone and brush up your acting skills.
Q: You know a lot about Indore so what’s the best part about Indore?
Ans: Food. I mean the Pohe of Indore are just too good, healthy and for vegetarians, the place is a paradise. Shops like ‘Chappan Dukaan’, ‘Sarafa Bazaar’ are just what one can wish for. Indore is also one of the cleanest cities so that’s again something to look forward to and of course people of Indore are very cool and easy going so there is nothing you cannot like about Indore.
Q: From Civil Engineering to Acting career, that’s a giant leap. Tell us how you made this jump.
Ans: Acting was always my forte. From a very young age everyone around me used to say that I must try being a model since my fashion blended well with my looks and personality. It was only in eleventh grade that I consciously decided to up the ante and become an actress and not just become a model next door. At this point, my parents suggested me that I’m intelligent so why not get a good degree and thereafter when my age was going to coincide with the apt age for entering the world of acting, enter that world. Even when I wasn’t into acting officially, people used to approach me for pictures and could recognize me as a model. In fact, my professors used to comment that I’m either a celebrity or daughter of one so you can say acting was always within me. It was my own passion as well as support of family that just ensured that I entered this world more confidently.
Q: As per your instagram bio ‘Travelling is your middle name’. Which was your most memorable travelling experience?
Ans: It’s a cliché but I believe some of the most memorable trips are those which are unplanned. I was on a Europe trip with my family and we had to go to Kuwait from Rome and the flight had a stopover at Istanbul. Incidentally my father was talking about visiting Istanbul and I too got curious whilst I was watching ‘Inferno’ in the flight. I wanted to visit the places where ‘Inferno’ was shot and the biggest push was Salman Khan. My entire family is a big fan of Salman Khan and knowing that the song ‘Saiyaara’ was shot there, we definitely wanted to. Our Turkish electronic visas were arranged and we were in Istanbul the shortly without having the slightest clue of where we would stay, where we would go, no reservations. nothing. However everything worked out fine, we visited the places we wanted to like the Blue Mosque and we walked on the Galata Bridge (known as the Galata Köprüsü Bridge in Turkish language) where the song ‘Saiyaara’ was shot and sealed the memory by playing the ‘Saiyaara’ song as we walked. It was just perfect.
Q: You are a fashion diva so your fashion tips for winters.
Ans: Layering. It is the key to look great and the more you layer, the more definition you are adding to your body. The more contrast you give to your face, the better is the glow. Basically it stands out. Monochrome in layering is good too since there are various shades to it. However when you go on contrast color level or parallel color look, that is something that gives a whole new meaning to the way you look, it exudes a very strong and positive vibe and in my opinion people won’t stop raving about your glow and the way you look. Winters are great for experimenting since we are mostly covered so even if it turns out to be a fashion blunder, it can still be managed.
Q: Zee TV and its sister channels are the most popular TV channels around. What do you think?
Ans: No second thoughts on that. It has its presence from daily entertainment in form of soaps, to news, to producing movies. Not to forget, it is also involved in the ‘Zee Cine Awards’ and it has its own ‘Zee University’ so it has a very broad spectrum and that is something that sets it apart from its competitors. Further, it has a wide range of YouTube channels with millions of subscribers which reflects its popularity, so the audience have already given the verdict on the most popular channel and I too think that it is the most popular TV channel group.
Q: Youth are the driving force of this beautiful country. Your message for youth of today.
Ans: Explore and Experiment. When you are in the teenage phase, you need to explore your opportunities. You don’t want to live a life filled with regrets. There was a time when ‘Engineering’ and ‘Medical’ were the go to fields for the youth but things have changed since. Today, acting, modeling, aviation sector, online business, being a Youtuber, being an Instagram blogger/influencer are areas that are not just growing at a rapid pace but are considered as huge money churners. So one must try his/her option and try their area of interest for a couple of year’s atleast so that when you are on your deathbed, you are not having any regrets about not having tried your passion. Try and if things don’t work out then fall back to your basics and if corporate life is your cup of tea then go for it. Take Sundar Pichai who is into the technology and corporate world and earning very well so every field has its own pros and cons and it is upto you to pursue your passion and find your place in it. Take me, I never wanted to be a doctor and had I been pushed to become one, I would have been quite pathetic. So stick your strengths, identify your weaknesses and pursue your passion. If you are passionate, concept of time becomes irrelevant. I have done shooting for continuous 24 hours only because of the passion I have towards it. Love what you do and do what you love.
Q: Naari Shakti. Women Empowerment to you is________
Ans: I think Women Empowerment to me is when you can walk freely on the streets without looking over your shoulder again and again or be worried about someone watching you creepily or following you. It is about going from destination ‘A’ to ‘B’ safely. Not many people talk about it openly and I too have a constant fear running on my mind no matter how much confident I am. Women Empowerment cannot happen with women alone, men are to be involved if we want to empower women in real sense. Men need to stop doing things that have led to this environment of fear and only then will women start feeling fearless and develop the mindset that they are secure and nothing wrong will happen to them. Of course not all men are like this so I’m not generalizing. Further, self-defense is the best defense and I would say every woman today must be equipped and trained to fight her way out when things go bad. At the same time, men must learn to respect every woman and not make them feel uncomfortable. If women get empowered, whole society gets empowered.
Q: Last question, a ‘time-machine’. If you were given a chance to go back in time and change something in say, last 10 years, what would you do?
Ans: Probably nothing. I think I have had a great life till now and so I wouldn’t really like to go back and change anything. I was a topper, good-looking even back then, my parents have been amazing and so everything was great and everything is great even today. One must appreciate the small things that come in life and always think about the things ‘you have’ over things ‘you don’t’. We must think about what we want but not overthink about them. Set a goal and then go about on that path. Oh, there is one thing I might want to change. I had long hair, running beyond my hip length and back then I got them colored upto the shoulder level and very soon my hair started to break and consequently I had a bad haircut too so that was a double whammy. Today, I have my hair upto waist level and they are re-growing. So I experimented a bit too much back then and experimenting is good but one must know when to stop so yes I might want to go back and undo that one experiment. Signing off, lots of love. Thank you.