Interview with Ria Patel an Australian-Indian Artist All In One
Interview With Ria Patel An Australian-Indian Artist All In One
Ria’s experience growing up Indian in a foreign country, from feeling like an outsider to bridging the gap between two cultures and embracing her Indian-Australian uniqueness. She Shares about empowering women through compassionate conversations around commonly taboo topics within Indian and Western cultures.
Ria shares her story in an interview with us… let’s find out more.
Ria you are so many things in one… Tell us about yourself to start with.
I was born in India and raised in Australia, I am very grateful to have experienced two different cultures. I loved being creative growing up, I loved arts and crafts, drawing, dancing, writing, and acting. I wasn’t great at sport and neither was I a social butterfly, I always kept to myself and I expressed myself through my creativity. A random fact about me I love fries! I love it so much I wrote and acted in a short film about a girl who has an undying love for them.
How was your childhood? Who were you influenced by while growing up?
Growing up I watched A LOT of Bollywood movies, it was my favorite thing to do with my mum. My love for movies came from her. Whenever I needed to feel comforted I would watch a movie, I really feel there is a movie or show for every mood you’re in. I was a quiet kid and also an only child, I found solace in films which is why a lot of my ideas are influenced by the films I watched growing up. I loved Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan. My favorite movies of theirs were: Amar Akbar Anthony, Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke, and Andaz Apna Apna – which still is my favorite film. I wanted to be like them, they were so cool! I would sometimes go into my room and practice the dialogues from the films.
You are an actress, writer, and dancer. Which part of you embrace more and which one you feel you belong to the most?
Although I loved movies I was not that confident in acting and neither was I really interested in having a career as an actress. The dance was my first love, dance is what helped me come out of my shell and become confident, I actually wanted to be a choreographer at first.
As with acting growing up I would reenact scenes in front of the mirror in my room but like I said, I liked acting but didn’t know I wanted to become an actress in the beginning. As my confidence grew as a dancer, I started to take drama classes, audition for school plays, shoot silly skits at home, I even put up puppet shows too! Once I started acting more, I just knew this is what I wanted to do. Dance is my first love but acting is my true love.
Now writing, I always enjoyed writing, and this has been a recent discovery that yes I write but I am a writer. Over the past few years, people always complimented my writing, but I never thought much of it, I thought if I was a writer when no one would take me seriously as an actor. Soon I realized that if I wanted to feel creatively fulfilled I had to create my own work, so I started writing my own work. This has been truly empowering, I get to tell the stories I want and the best part is that I can write roles for my friends too!
What is the ultimate goal for you as a writer, actor, and dancer?
One of my goals is to be a showrunner. I would love to produce, write, and act in a TV show of mine, like Mindy Kaling and Reese Witherspoon. They are powerhouse women and I aspire to be like them.
As for dancing, right now I am not vigorously pursuing it, but I would like to continue to train and grow as a dancer and perhaps one day do a dance film, this is on my bucket list.
Who would you like to perform as a dancer?
I know this is a cliche answer but Madhuri Dixit, is the epitome of grace and beauty. Someone I also think is a fabulous dancer is Nora Fatehi. I love watching her perform. But Madhuri Dixit all the way! You see the sheer joy on her face when she dances and I truly believe her energy was so contagious that all choreographers loved working with her. You see her performing choreography by many different people like Saroj Khan, Shiamak Daver, Prabhu Deva, she brings their vision to life and lights up the stage or screen.
Tell us more about your writing. Do you have some new project you would want to tell us about?
A lot of my work revolves around my identity, this is because growing up, like many South Asians who grew up in a foreign country, I felt like I didn’t belong, I wasn’t enough for either culture. I write stories dealing with characters who explore their identities and culture. This is so relatable to many people as growing up in Australia a lot of my friends were children to immigrant grandparents or parents – they too sometimes felt like they didn’t fit in.
Also growing up I didn’t feel represented within Hollywood, I don’t remember seeing a girl like me on TV. It is changing now, we still have a long way to go but we are on the right path and I want to contribute to this change.
Right now I am working on a short film of mine “Sifter”, it is about an Indian Lesbian couple celebrating their first Karva Chauth (a Hindu festival) together. My aim is to show a story about two people who have embraced their sexual orientation and are in a different stage in their life of trying to make their relationship work.
Another series I am super excited about is a web-series called Fi and Me. This story follows two best friends who are Indian but essentially ABCDs (Australian/American Born Confused Desi) and are navigating the ups and downs of adulthood. I want to explore the taboo topics within our Indian society such as female pleasure and masturbation, colorism, and mental health.
The pilot of Fi and Me has already picked up a few awards at the Tagore International Film Festival and Cult Critic Film awards.
What does a regular day look like for you?
I am usually on set for a 12 hour day of shooting. On days where I am not filming, I would be working on my own script. I try to do three things a day for my craft and they can be as simple as reading a script, breathing, or connecting with another creative.
If you were not an artist?
When I graduated from high school I had applied for a degree in Health Science – I was accepted and I was also accepted into film school and as we know I went with my acting degree. If I wasn’t accepted into film school maybe I would be pursuing a career in the health field but to be honest I don’t see myself doing anything other than being an artist. I don’t think I would feel the joy that I feel like an artist in any other field, even if I was not an actor perhaps I would be a Director or Cinematographer. I just know my place is within the entertainment industry, I am here to create an impact through storytelling.
Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
I see myself continuing to produce my own work but having more experience within that field and having a series regular role on a TV show.
Who would you like to collaborate within near future?
I would love to collaborate with Mindy Kaling and Reese Witherspoon one day! Some of the actors I would love to work with are Bryan Cranston, Steve Carrell, Jenna Fischer, Justin Baldoni, and Gina Rodreguez.