Interview: Award Nominated American Actress Swati Kapila from Award-Winning Feature Film "Life! Camera Action..."
Click Play to listen to Swati Kapila chat with Gurjeet Singh
Washington, DC, June 30, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) Life! Camera Action..., the internationally acclaimed feature film written, directed and produced by Rohit Gupta which continues to receive numerous awards, has unearthed considerable acting talents of many fresh young actors and serves as an inspiration for newcomers to cinema. ‘Best Supporting Actress’ Award Nominee Swati Kapila is one such personality who has proven herself to be one of the brightest new stars on the block. WBRi’s Gurjeet Singh caught up with this lovely young actress where the latter reveals a lot about her early career, her stint at working with the Life! Camera Action... team, her views on acting and plenty more.
"I play the part of Simi, Reina’s (Protagonist) best friend in Life! Camera Action…" starts off Swati and continues with a brief discussion about her childhood and early forays into acting. She grew up in Jupiter, Florida and she sweetly calls herself a ‘small-town American girl’ always eager to learn about Indian art and dance forms, thanks to her parents who made sure her heritage is part of her grooming. Apart from Indian dance forms, she also learnt Jazz and other western performance styles.
Dance performances remain one of Swati's favorite activities. She says performing live on stage helps an artist experience the ‘purest form of happiness’. The actress looks back on her first stage performance with great fondness.
About her interest in acting, Swati believes acting had chosen her instead of it being the other way round. Swati went to New York University, where she studied film production.
On how she became a part of Life! Camera Action…, “I had read lines for Rohit once a long time ago, and then almost a year later he contacted me saying he thought of me for this. It's the most flattering and confidence-boosting way to get a part, when the director feels you are right for it”, says Swati with a smile.
About her part and how she relates to the film: "The story actually means quite a bit to me, because as a person born to parents from India, and as a female actress and filmmaker, I can very much relate to the protagonist's struggle." This movie aims to more accurately portray the experience of an artist, and moreover a female filmmaker, who is trying to achieve success off the beaten track. This line of work is all about struggle, and this film is about the struggle. Experiencing struggle is a very emotional and beautiful thing to watch as an audience member!
Coming back to the character ‘Reina's’ story, as if friction and rejection from the world isn't enough, often women, especially Indian American women have to fight battles at home with their parents and extended families who simply don't understand the life they have chosen. "They tend to plant the seed of doubt in our heads, which is a very dangerous thing. We put so much weight and value on what our parents want for our lives that it is hard to ignore their disapproval. Thankfully, ‘Reina’ is so amazingly resilient, that this doesn't stop her.”
Swati Kapila dubbing with director Rohit Gupta at studio in New York City
Swati has already done several commercials and small features. The starlet marks out her shooting stint for Life! Camera Action… as a truly special experience that she really enjoyed, and relishes the challenge that she faced to fit into her character in the film."I really enjoyed shooting one of the scenes with Dipti (‘Reina’). After a few takes, Rohit asked us to just improve and have a conversation. We filmed a few long takes, and the scene was simply very interesting to explore. Shooting with Rohit at the helm is a lot of fun!"
Editor Praveen editing a scene with Swati Kapila
Her excitement at being nominated for the ‘Best Supporting Actress’ Award at the World Music & Independent Film Festival is palpable. Kapila describes the feeling of getting the prestigious nomination as ‘amazing’ and rues the fact that she could not be present at the occasion. “It feels hopeful and encouraging to have received recognition for the work I did on Life! Camera Action... When one thinks about an actor's chances at even getting a role, and then on top of that being nominated for any accolade is icing on the cake! It's a treat that I'm very thankful for.”
A timeless classic feature film, Life! Camera Action… is a moving story of an aspiring filmmaker and the quest to fulfill her dreams. It has been named as one of the top 10 Outstanding Movies of all times made by Indian American Filmmakers.
On the issue of Hollywood and Bollywood for Americans of Indian heritage, Swati feels that while the Hollywood industry generally tends to can such actors into stereotypical roles, performing in Bollywood movies requires an artist to have just the right Hindi accent which often times is a challenge for folks like herself.
Apart from acting (which is her main professional interest), Swati has a quite a few projects on the horizon. She is excitedly preparing a ballroom dance number for a music video to be shot in August in New York. The pretty actress will also be seen in a Bollywood-style dance sequence in a Hollywood-produced short film, and beginning production on the 2nd season of her hit web series. On her "free time" she's using her film school skills to work on a feature-length screenplay with the hopes of someday producing and starring in it!
Swati adroitly points out that acting, in general, is a combination of inborn qualities and proper training. The budding star believes in the eastern idea that hard work leads to good results. With her abundant acting talents and commitment towards hard work, she clearly stands out as one destined for even greater acting success.
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.
(Article in association with Penning Creations, Calcutta)