Interview: Actress JYOTI SINGH On Her Films 9 ELEVEN, LIFE! CAMERA ACTION and More

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Jyoti SinghWashington DC, April 30, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) Indian-American actress Jyoti Singh has essayed the lead role of Sarita Gupta in Manan Singh Katohora's award-winning Indo-American feature film 9 ELEVEN (the film is available via online streaming by Databazaar Media). She has also appeared in Gaurav Rawal's Iraade Maum Ke, Rohit Gupta's Life! Camera Action, Shailja Gupta's Walkaway and many other feature and short films, Television shows and commercials. Jyoti is an accomplished Indian classical singer, free-style dancer, script writer and badminton player, and also loves Yoga and Cooking (she was one of the participants at the Varli Cooking Festival in New York). Gurjeet Singh caught up with Jyoti on an April evening, and as you will hear, what ensued is an informal and candid conversation with Jyoti about her background, career, films and other projects.

Jyoti is also engaged in helping the less fortunate via RVP Charitable Organization ( which she co-founded with her sister. RVP is actively running a number of projects in India helping various people.

About her role in Manan Katohora's award-winning Bollywood Hindi thriller movie 9 ELEVEN, Jyoti tells us about her journey to Washington DC for the audition. Once selected, Jyoti prepared for her negative character Sarita Gupta by studying the script thoroughly, practicing and trying to fill in gaps while  putting herself in the role. She shares a few anecdotes which you cannot miss, including the very interesting tid-bit that director Manan Katohora did not reveal the end of the script to any of his actors before the week of the actual shooting of the finale! 9 Eleven - Manan Katohora's 3rd and most ambitious feature film yet, film portrays the life of  10 people who belong to different walks of life. Though each individual has achieved a measure of success in their individual lives, their darkest secrets come out in the open  when all of them are given some time for introspection, when they meet each other in a bizarre twist of events. They realize that their lives are inter-woven and this literally shakes up their peaceful lives. Terrorized to the core by an unknown entity in an unfamiliar place (the 11th element), each individual is petrified and is hesitant to talk or take each other into confidence for one simple reason....The Fear of the Unknown.

Talking about her supporting role in Rohit Gupta's Life! Camera Action that is continuing to win awards across the world, Jyoti tells us how Rohit (who she knows from their New York Film Institute days) called her to perform the role of a bad actress - a role, says Jyoti laughingly, that fit her perfectly. That film is about an actress wanting to make a movie based on her own life and thus auditioning other actresses - Jyoti's role is one of the not-so-good actresses in the run.

A formidable theater actress, Jyoti has performed live on stage in acclaimed drama productions, including Christopher Stadulis's Forbidden and Zeshan Bhatti's Bollywood Wedding. She has modeled in New Jersey Diwali Mela and is one of the dancers in Bhavani Lee's Devi Moves production.

Jyoti spent her childhood in the picturesque Indian city of Dehradun before moving to the United States. After attending college, she moved to New York. Acting had always been one of her major interests, and encouraged by being selected for a bunch of roles, she eventually gave up her job to take up acting as her full-time profession.

Responding to Gurjeet's question about the challenges of a career in acting, Jyoti tells us such a career is not all rosy and not necessarily financially rewarding - there are numerous aspirants and competition is high, with only a handful making it big. Jyoti strongly recommends a back-up career for financial stability while newcomers try for a break into the world of acting. Starting young and getting training often helps.

- Article by Supratim Sanyal

Editor's note: Gurjeet Singh is a Financial Analyst by profession and lives in Germantown, Maryland in the Washington DC metro area. A great enthusiast of Indian-American cultural exchanges, Gurjeet is also an avid  music lover. In her free time she dabs in some water color painting and loves to go on long walks. Gurjeet can be reached at guri070555 [at] yahoo [dot] com.