MUMBAI: Actress, model, DJ, Pantaloons Femina Miss Fashionista 2012 and Kingfisher Calendar finalist Sneha Upadhyay (Madhu Sneha) is on a high this year after having walked the ramp at Lakme Fashion Week for Ritu Kumar and as a Pool Model; as well as for Shantanu & Nikhil at IIFA Rocks 2013.
Sneha was on the jury of Sydenham College's Simsree annual fest Simerations 2013 along with Bollywood superstar Salman Khan's favourite choreographer Mudassar Khan (Dabangg, Bodyguard, Bol Bachchan and Boss amongst others) and Dancing Curve's Itika and Raunak. Sneha, who found the Simerations show too 'filmi', crowned Beat Breakers from Chinai College as the winners along with the second runners up from NK College.
Incidentally, Sneha is also finalising a very unique show on a niche channel where she is playing herself as a successful model - well, she really is the Tyra Banks of India when it comes to films, fashion and television.
This mesmerizing model was born in Howrah (near Kolkata) and was a studious conservative middle class family geek till she participated in the Bhawanipur College Fest and her entire life changed! The scintillating Sneha Upadhyay is the first runner up of the Kingfisher Calendar Girl 2012 hunt in association with NDTV Good Times and chosen in the Top 3 after a long hunt for a talent race among contestants from all across India. The girl, who had not even worn track pants is now scorching the ramps across India with what ace lensman Atul Kasbekar calls is the ‘perfect body’. And renowned Bollywood designer Manish Malhotra chose only this Kolkata girl for his shows. The diva now aims to model her career a la Trya Banks and wants to replicate the global icon’s success in India.
Sneha started off with an audition as a ‘Cat Woman’ and the model with ‘Rhythm in her Body’ had leading fashion choreographers drooling over the Indian equivalent of Hollywood star Halle Berry! In fact, Sushma Puri from Elite Model Managemetn chased her all the way upto the Kolkata Fashion week in order to sign her on. And ace designer Nandita Thirani chose her as the lucky opening mascot for showcasing her Lakme Fashion Week collections. And then followed a string of fashion designer fans including Manish Malhotra (he only chose Sneha from Kolkata she closed for him in the Kolkata Fashion Week), Jaya Misra and Shantanu-Nikhil amongst others.
“I always had a feeling of being extraordinary and rising above my surroundings but didn’t have any clue. I strode the normal path for a girl of my background till my teens. My letter from the engineering college got misplaced and I was mulling entering dental college. When suddenly a new avenue of ramp modeling opened up in my life. It created a ruckus in my conservative household and my parents were very upset. My elder sister stood by me and gave me the confidence and courage to pursue it,” says Sneha. When 5-6 hoardings with my face were put up across Kolkata, my parents finally relented when people appreciated my work. And yes, she has not taken a single penny from them for her pursuits.
On the Kingfisher Calendar show, Sneha was initially very disturbed with the emotionless approach of the crew! “I was just another candidate with a lovely body. I wanted to tell them that I had an equally intelligent mind to back my body up. I am proud that it was seen in the tasks that I did. The other candidates found my reading habits and my religious chanting from my rosary very weird. And while they used to diet, I used to eat quite a lot and still maintain my demure size zero tall frame. But when I started posting success after success, they started taking me seriously,” says Sneha. She adds, “Others were competing while I was really enjoying myself. I am very happy to win the Most Beautiful Body and the Most Photogenic Body titles. My mantras were confidence, determination and focus.”
In fact, Sneha’s biggest fear on the show was that she was frightened of water and scared she might be asked to swim. “There was an accident in Chennai where I literally lost my life and was scared of swimming and going underwater. I joined this contest to confront my biggest fears and showcase my inborn talents. In the early rounds, they gave me an underwater task and I had to channelize all my resources to complete the task. I did well and proved a point to myself and peers. I won the maximum tasks and surprised myself and others. I have become very carefree and fearless.”
An ambitious young fresh face, Sneha quit her marketing job in the fast-paced city of Mumbai to change her career course to the glamorous world of fashion. A true believer in herself, Sneha swears that soon the world will know and believe in her! She is the most confident about “Myself as a whole” and her asset is her “confidence that has got her quite a lot at a young age. She reads quite a lot and is a linguist with English (literature graduate with honours), Hindi, Urdu and Bengali. And she claims that she is a born dancer. She has dabbled in copywriting and thinks of writing scripts during her leisure time. She has also tutored the contestants of the Indian Princess contest organized by the Mumbai-based Atharva Group. She enjoyed the task of grooming and tutoring young raw contestants and elevating their self-esteem, self-confidence and self-belief.
An extremely spiritual human being, Sneha philosophises, “I get bored very quickly and keep looking for new challenges and frontiers of expressing myself. I still feel I haven’t expressed myself fully and am still in the process of discovery. I continue to get plum assignments without really auditioning or striving hard. I continue to meet greater human beings and aspire to match their greatness with my latent talent and abilities. I believe that an actor lies hidden within me. I always fantasise about giving several expressions for a particular situation. I am Power Woman and will be the one that will make a difference to the lives of millions of Indians.” Incidentally, her father was an amateur actor and used to do a lot of theatre and encourage her to watch serious cinema. But no one else in her family has any remote connection with showbiz. And Sneha is determined to make it on her own steam.
As in sync with her Kolkata mindset, Sneha dreams of doing meaningful globally crossover films in the mould of actress such as Aparna Sen, Smita Patil and Madhuri Dixit amongst others. She is still adjusting to the metropolis of Mumbai in terms of films, finance and fashion. And Sneha Upadhyay is very clear that she is here to be and carve a niche for herself while leaving her footprints in the sands of time. ..