Tripti Dimri on her breakout performance in Bulbbul: It’s motivated me to do more work with honesty

Bulbbul is a breakout performance for Tripti who conveys the innocence of a child bride growing into a confident and coquettish young woman ready for vengeance against marital abuse and the hold of patriarchy.

Udita Jhunjhunwala June 29, 2020 14:13:53 IST
Tripti Dimri on her breakout performance in Bulbbul: It’s motivated me to do more work with honesty

Tripti Dimri’s journey into the world of glamour and entertainment is not the woeful, path lined with heartbreak and paved with lost opportunities. On the contrary, as a college student in her hometown of Delhi, she dabbled in modelling in order to avoid studying and landed her first Bollywood break after being spotted in her advertising and television work.

A small and fairly insignificant role in the 2017 Hindi comedy Poster Boys, in which she played Shreyas Talpade’s girlfriend Riya, soon lead to her second film. “When I got cast I thought wow, this is easy. Why do people crib about not having work? After Poster Boys I moved to Mumbai because by then I had some interest in acting also. I thought I would try it for a year, but within a month the Laila Majnu audition happened. And when I got that part I thought, ok, maybe this is god’s plan for me.”

Laila Majnu, which released in 2018, should have been the equivalent of Tripti’s coming out ball. It wasn’t. In fact it’s her third movie, the recent supernatural gothic drama Bulbbul, in which she plays the titular role, that has made audiences sit up and marvel.

Tripti Dimri on her breakout performance in Bulbbul Its motivated me to do more work with honesty

Tripti Dimri in Netflix film Bulbbul. Image from Twitter

The 26 year old is overwhelmed, but loving the attention and praise. Her social media is blowing up. Everything she expected to happen after Laila Majnu — which didn’t — is happening now.

Speaking from her Mumbai home, which she shares with two flatmates, Tripti said, “It’s such a great feeling. I was not expecting this kind of response. I am getting appreciated, and so are my co-actors, the different technical teams and the film in general. I am enjoying the attention. I was expecting this kind of response during Laila Majnu, which didn’t really happen, so I am happy and excited that it is happening now. It’s motivating me to do more good work with honesty.”

During a promotional interview for Laila Majnu, when asked who she would like to co-star with next, Tripti came up with a flippant response. She said she would like to reunite with Avinash Tiwary in a horror film. “Not just that, I also said that in that film I would play a chudail. When we signed Bulbbul, Avinash sent me that video to remind me!”

Bulbbul is a breakout performance for Tripti who conveys the innocence of a child bride growing into a confident and coquettish young woman ready for vengeance against marital abuse and the hold of patriarchy.

She connected closely with the younger, more naïve Bulbbul, but felt quite removed from the persona of the latter Bulbbul. “I am very close to the 20 year old, confused, innocent Bulbbul who is always looking for validation. Maybe that’s why Anvita (Dutt, director) selected me for the part. It was harder for me to understand the transformed Bulbbul’s mindset. We had to spend longer working on that persona. We spent two months on prep. We would try and draw similarities between Bulbbul and me. We did workshops to develop her relationship with the other characters. When you think like your character, walk and talk like her for two months, then you become her.”

Tripti admits that she didn’t know “much about acting” during her first two films. “I was very new and didn’t know how thing works, or anything about acting,” she says. It was after Laila Majnu that she enrolled for acting workshops and began learning. “That’s when I fell in love with the craft and learned the basics of acting.”

Tripti Dimri on her breakout performance in Bulbbul Its motivated me to do more work with honesty

Tripti Dimri in a still from Bulbbul. YouTube screengrab

It’s not like she didn’t have any struggles. The difference is that hers set in after her second film. “After one film you have expectations and you want to do more. By then my parents were also ok with me working in the industry. After Laila Majnu I was expecting to get a few calls. The film did well; it was reviewed well and people praised Avinash (Tiwary) and me. But the calls didn’t come. So I had to wait and wait. I did nothing for a year,” says Tripti admitting that it was a difficult phase and she even rejected work that didn’t interest her. “People often say your struggle begins after your first film but the second film is the real test. I wanted an interesting script and part, and then Bulbbul happened. I am so glad I waited.”

Wasn’t it risky to turn down work at such a nascent stage in her career? “It was very difficult because as an outsider you don’t know whether you will get the next opportunity. So yet, it was risky to say no, but you have to learn to filter the advice you get from the people around you.”

She was advised to focus on theatrical movies and not to sign on for a Netflix film. Other suggested that the right way to get noticed in the film industry was by performing in a music video or acting in a TV commercial opposite “a big celebrity”. Tripti didn’t get swept away by those notions. “As a newcomer and outsider you need to know why you are here and trust yourself. Firstly, understand whether you are here for fame and name or for the love of art. Very early on I decided that I am here for the love of the art and I am only going to focus on that. But there are some days you do feel despair because you have no work.”

So how does she keep her spirits up and overcome those moments of despair? “It’s important to immerse yourself in creative pursuits. I signed up for many acting workshops, I work out, cook, audition, watch shows and movies. I also talk to my parents every day. It’s very important to know that there is someone out there who truly cares about, especially when you live away from them. I am always in touch with my friends in Delhi and Mumbai.”

Tripti Dimri on her breakout performance in Bulbbul Its motivated me to do more work with honesty

Dimri plays the titular role in Bulbbul. Image from Twitter

You can’t put too fine a point on the value of patience, Tripti says and offers advice others aspiring actors. “Have patience and trust yourself. If you don’t have the strength to fight, if you are having second thoughts, then pack up and go home because this is a tough life and this is a tough line,” she says.

Perhaps now the calls will come. Tripti is hopeful that Bulbbul will lead to some exciting opportunities and more interesting characters.

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