-Written by Satya Wanvari, Contributing Editor
young and innocent 18 year old girl from a small town,
Dehradun, came to Mumbai alone with only one possession...a
dream. The dream became a reality after eight long years
of struggle. Today, she is Archana Puran Singh, a successful
television actress, anchor and a matinee star. Every
time she plays a role or anchors a programme, she becomes
firmly etched in the audience's memory, whether it is
the modern wife in Mr and Mrs. or the host of 'Censored'
or 'Wah, Kya Scene Hai'.
All this has not happened overnight. As Archana herself
reveals, it has been a long journey. She started with
an ad film for which she was paid Rs 100 for standing
on the sidelines, and continued with more ad films of
unknown brands until she modeled for `Band-Aid'.
Jalal Agha, then the producer of the ad film recognized
her talent and cast her in the lead role in his serial,`Mr
and Mrs'. After Pankaj Parasher's, 'Karamchand', she
shot to fame with the film 'Jalwa' and has never looked
back since. Today she is in a position to work on her
own terms. She shoots only 2 days in a month for her
current television projects, 'Jaane bhi do Paro' and
'Archana Talkies' on Sony and does only one film a year
as her two small children are her priority. As she herself
puts it very aptly, "for every one Archana who makes
it in this industry, there are million others who go
So what does it take to get there? "It is my desire
for perfection that keeps me going. I never settle for
the second best. I am extremely hardworking. When I
shoot, I work 20 hours a day. I don't even take lunchbreak.
When I was pregnant, I worked throughout the nine months
until my doctor threatened to call the police. From
8 am to 10 pm I would be on my feet. I resumed working
after four days after my delivery to complete an important
According to Archana, determination, hard work, ambition
are the keywords for success. She warns the struggling
actor though to be honest with himself/herself and not
waste his/her time if he/she is not talented. "Believe
in yourself" is another motto she vouches for. "But
there is a difference between genuine ambition and empty
Many people told Archana, she was wasting her time but
it was her belief in herself that carried her through.
"Just as much as talented young actors need a break,
so do directors need really talented actors."
is the first rule of the game
You can never over-prepare.
Use the struggle period to learn more. Read Hindi books
and plays and watch movies, especially Hollywood fare,
where even an actor playing a small role does it to
Use the mirror
Practice scenes in front of the mirror. Select some
Hindi film scenes that move you and perform as if you
were the artiste playing the role.
Work on your Hindi speech and
This is an essential part of an actor's portfolio.
If your command over Hindi is strong, you will be in
a position to intonate right and emote even better.
Improve your personality and confidence
by meeting people and reading
Remember, if you can impress a person in 5 minutes,
then you can be trusted to impress millions of people,
when on screen.
Be well groomed
Look and smell clean.
Nails should be well kept and nail polish should never
Archana always wears white nail polish. Don't just put
perfume before meeting someone. Take a shower, wear
clean, well-ironed clothes. Have a good haircut even
if it is expensive as an expensive dress will not help
as much as the daily hairstyle you sport. Your hair
is your crowning glory.
Be physically active
Maintain a good posture. Walk or exercise at least
three times a week. A supple body is required for every
role and not everybody becomes a Guddi Maruti. Archan
never sits even when she is at home. She goes shopping
with her son, swims and does the odd jobs at home herself
instead of ordering the maid.
Follow a vegetarian diet and keep
Eat lots of greens and fruit. Avoid red meats and
stick to a vegetable cuisine. Archana uses only five
teaspoons of oil a day for food.
Girls should never wear foundation
in the day
A light lipstick for the fair complexion and a brown
lipstick For a dark complexion is ideal.
Look at yourself in the mirror
carefully and wear what suits you the best.
If you don't want to give the wrong signals to producers
, don't dress in minis when you meet them for work.
If you get a small role, do not
You will be noticed if you are talented. Use the
role to make a show reel to promote your self.
Above all a single-minded devotion
is what it takes to achieve you goal.