British Indian actor Bhavini Sheth was recently seen in the hit Bollywood movie 'Bell Bottom', in a crucial role alongside .
'iGlobal' caught up with the vivacious London girl on her release making waves on Amazon Prime, foray into Bollywood, growing up in the UK and her Indian roots.
Born and brought up in the UK, Bhavini boasts of her deeply rooted Indian culture and is grateful to her family to instil Indian values in her.
"If you speak to any of my close friends, or anyone who knows me well – English or the British Indian, they all say that I am one of the most' Indian people' they have met. That makes me feel proud.
“I love our food. I love our songs, the films. I love everything about our . Even though I'm based here in the UK, I'm very patriotic about India."
And this kind of blends in with her role in ‘Bell Bottom’ as the captain of the Indian kabaddi team, Nikita Sharma.
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"I love Bollywood. My whole family loves Bollywood. I've grown up watching films of stars like Akshay Kumar, Lara Dutta and then all of a sudden, I've been cast on this film, and in such an empowering role. It's an amazing feeling.
“Also, ‘Bell Bottom’ is a film that was , and this was when the whole industry was shut for a while due to the pandemic. So, a lot of gratitude as well to be able to work at this time", reflects Bhavini.
She was just four years old when she started taking her lessons in ballet and Bollywood dance. At the age of nine, she won the national and international finals of the then most popular dance reality show, ‘Boogie Woogie’, from the UK and subsequently also from New York.
"After that process, it opened up a lot of doors for me. I started getting more exposure on national television, I started making small acting appearances as well, and began to build it up over time," she said.
As a child artist, she has acted in a series called ‘Aisa Desh Hai Mera’.
"I have grown up on camera, and that has made me the performer I have become today. But it's important to keep training, so I do lots of workshops, and I always put myself out there and try to improve myself," she said.
She has been learning several dance forms like street, hip hop, Bollywood bhangra, jazz, and belly dancing alongside the choreographers of her mother's dance company. She also trains in the Indian classical form Kathak.
Bhavini had also joined the prestigious National Youth Theatre of Great Britain at a very early age.
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On how she ended up being in a mega starrer , she shares: "It has been quite a journey for me personally. ‘Bell Bottom’ isn't something that I necessarily went out looking for, but more like an opportunity that came about. This is something I have always had an interest in but being here in the UK, I never thought it'd be possible to be involved in a Bollywood film in a capacity that I would like to be, as most of the castings happen in India."
Bhavini worked hard to find herself a representation in Bollywood. However, when the casting director of the film spotted her and asked for an audition tape, she was clueless about the kind of work she was auditioning for.
"So I thought it's just a script, well let's give it a go."
Without any research or preparation, Bhavini had sent her first audition tape, shot from home because of the pandemic situation. From there on, the rest is a magical journey that unfolded for her.
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"I started studying at the University of Reading, but I had a turning point in my life when I realised what I was choosing was more of a safe option for me, and I think I was doing it mainly for financial stability.
“My parents, like all others, obviously wanted me to pursue a career that gives that financial stability. So, I did that. I started studying for my law degree at the University of Reading.
But then came the point when I told myself that I must fulfil my dream, my passion. Right now, I am young and I need to put all of my time, energy and effort into this. If it happens it happens, and if it doesn’t, well, you can always go back to study. You are never too old to study, right!"
At this moment, more than Nikita Sharma, the bold and passionate Bhavini sounds a lot like the feisty 'Jess' from the Gurinder Chadha hit 'Bend It Like Beckham'.
Bhavini says she is focused on knowing her craft better and honing her skills. She quit law and went on to pursue her degree in film and television production at UAL ().
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"There are a couple of things in the pipeline, but I would rather not discuss them until they are confirmed and going ahead. But one thing I have learned from life is don't try and plan things. You need to go with the , you know!
“So yeah, I'm just going with the flow and if any opportunity comes, I'm just going to grab it with both hands and be the best version of myself. I'm very excited about my future!"
And, thus signs off Bhavini on a characteristically optimistic note.