DR. GAURI BATRA – Neuro Pediatric Therapist and Actor
It isn’t every person who takes the leap of faith and becomes an actor. So grateful that she chose to take that leap to make her dreams come true. From being a Neuro Pediatric to being an actor, she just wanted to go against all the odds and make an existence in the industry. Later in 201 8 after mid, she made the best move of her life. She moved to Mumbai, the city of dreams; the city of “Bollywood.” For the past 3.5 years, she has worked in about 35-40 Ad campaigns, short films, Web-shows, music videos, social media sketches and always looking forward to bigger things. With every passing day, she is just trying to move closer to her goal of being a known artist to her best ability, in the film industry. As a person, she is very much interested in almost everything, 3-time IPSC hockey player, horse riding has been her main go-to, love adventure, certified scuba diver, certified rock climber, has been a part of almost all the sports (football, cricket, lawn tennis, golf). Dancing has always been on top of her list (Bollywood, Pole, Aerial, Hip Hop). Currently living in Mumbai, working as a Neuro Pediatric Doctor and an Actor.
Here is Gauri Batra in a conversation with GOGO Magazine.
1) How did your journey begin?
Honestly, it was just so sudden the whole journey of wanting to become an actor, it’s like it just fell into my lap and I am so ever grateful about it. Professionally I am a doctor first (Neuropediatric Therapist- I deal with specially-abled children). I had just finished my med school (Christian Medical College), started practising in Delhi and it was like a 7-7 job and by the end of the week, I used to be completely exhausted. I had always been on stage since like childhood for debates, speeches, dance, skits etc and then I went to the boarding school “Ashok Hall Girls Residential School, Ranikhet” wherein again I was almost involved in all the cultural things performing at every given opportunity, got so involved in sports as well, played IPSE hockey three times, horse riding was my main activity and then golf, football, cricket, lawn tennis like almost every sport. Adventure too, did a rock climbing course, treks to a few mounts and glaciers and then in my med school again we used to have these broadway musicals like lionking, Shrek, Adam’s family and so, therefore, I was on stage for almost each one of it during my time there and being in Christian college we had Christmas plays and activities, I was also the council president so basically was all out there since the beginning. And therefore, when I found myself in that 7-7 loop while practising after my graduation I got so frustrated and just randomly one day signed for a beauty pageant that showed up on my Facebook wall “Miss Eva India” and then somehow I also got crowned as one (Miss Eva India) in Dec 2017 and that’s when I just randomly asked my parents if I could please move to Bombay and check out the industry for a year or so because I really loved being on stage and acting, never wanted to get into modelling, altho I did a few photoshoots and fashion weeks after the pageant but it was acting as a profession that called out to me and they (my parents) took a promise that I never stop practising as a doctor, I understood their perspective and so I agreed.
So I moved here in 2018 post mid and the First thing I did in Bombay has found myself a job as a neuropediatric doctor and then started exploring the whole acting area it’s been 3.5 years now and I don’t think there is any going back. I just fell in love with the camera when I started giving auditions, and acting is not easy, it’s a whole lotta proper study and so did a few workshops and still taking the time to time, started studying about it and the journey till now has been absolutely beautiful of course with its ups and downs because surviving in Bombay is definitely not that easy and industry also has its difficulties, there is so much competition which is good in a way but rejections break you sometimes and there are very gloomy and dark days too but I guess to keep going you gotta learn how to deal with your emotions and that in turn makes you a better actor so it’s a really a win-win mostly, the gradual learning and stepping up process. All I know is, I have and I am always gonna embrace all the parts of this journey and make the best out of it, rest is whatever is meant to be will be, all you need to have is a strong belief in yourself and the universe and keep at it.
2) Who has been your inspiration?
I would say, everyone that I have been around, there is something or the other to learn from everyone and then how to balance those learnings with your values, thoughts and principles completely depends upon you. There are so many incredible people who have done wonders and set examples, inspiring billions. They all must have had different experiences in their lives, which I believe should motivate you to keep growing and set goals and targets and instil certain values and discipline and their determination, but not to completely follow footsteps and their journey and experiences. You got to create your own and better and that’s what I solely believe in, I read or watch documentaries about so many wonders like that and balance them out with my ideologies. In my personal life also I have family members and many friends who are supremely talented and hardworking so they are like my day to day inspirations. So there’s not only one, it’s whoever I can learn anything good from, and therefore very very thankful for all of them. At the end of the day, it’s all about you surrendering yourself to the thing you want to achieve and keeping faith in yourself.
3) Which was your first break?
I did an ad for Tropicana, that was my first shoot here but if we have to talk about a break, then I did a tiny character role in the series “Rangbaaz” on Zee5 opposite Saqib Saleem and it was this UP girl with that accent, I think I did well :p and even though it was very small, I got so much random appreciation on my social media and I was stunned at how much love people have for this industry, for us artists and it was just so overwhelming to see my name on a screen in the credit list and that just motivated me to keep going and going. That character actually made me a meme too (like there were so many memes made out of it), and trust me when I say if you become a meme, you are on the right path, I mean that’s how the digital space is growing and that has become a big mode of conversation actually. So my first tiny break did me good.
4) How do you manage acting and working as a doctor side by side?
Well, when I moved to Bombay the first thing I did was find myself a job to keep the promise I made to my parents, also I myself never wanted to stop practising, so I went in for a few interviews and I was just very honest about the whole getting into industry and if any of those centres or hospitals had like a part-time or on-call basis vacancy and luckily I came across this one Doctor (Dr. Harish) who just made it happen for me and I cannot thank him enough for that ever, so since then had just been practising with him for two years and now I am doing my own solo on-call visits. I’ve kept it very flexible with my patients too that if I have a shoot or meetings or anything to do with the actor’s job they also adjust and I just consider myself lucky on that part. So mostly every day I am working from morning till evening, doing my visits and finishing lined up auditions at night. That’s how I’ve been rolling till now, let’s see what’s next on my way, a bigger project hopefully and then will have to figure out how to manage two professions then. Tho I am all set to bend the edges and make all of its work.
5) Which has been your most memorable moment in life?
There have been two as of now and I can’t keep one on top of another because they both have given a shape, career paths to my life basically. The moment that happened first was during my convocation a voice calling me “Dr. Gauri Batra” from up on the rostrum and the way my parent’s eyes got lit up was just such a proud moment and that’s when my journey with my profession started in the real world. Then later at the end of the same year the beauty pageant happened and on the day of the event I was up there on the stage standing amongst the top 5 and then top 3 and then getting crowned the same night, I remember when it was about to get announced (that suspense moment, haha) my parents just stood up and somehow made their way as closest to the stage possible and my eyes were just constantly looking for them amongst hundred’s of people and as soon I found them, my name got announced and oh my god I was shaking more than happy but ah the parents jumped right there and I knew how proud and how elated they were at that moment, big starry eyes. I suppose there is nothing more precious than making our parents feel proud and I pray I keep growing to witness those priceless moments in life ahead.
That’s where my acting journey budded, so I just keep reliving these moments in my head for that time to time needed push and they remind me of where it all started and how far it’s supposed to go. Utterly grateful for all the blessings and this life.
6) Tell us about your favourite memory from Good News.
Oh, the entire journey of it has been beautiful and still going and I am sure it’ll be even better when it’s out there for everyone to watch. Since the day Danish sent me the script and asked me if I’d be interested in playing Tara’s character and I think without reading it only I said yes because I just wanted to work with him. We had met in Srinagar the first time when I had gone there for some other shoot, and we just connected so well, he thought I was from LA and until now he says he just feels I am not from India at all and he absolutely loves LA and because of that me now (at least I hope, haha) but yea then I read the script and absolutely loved it and we had a little discussion about what are my interpretations on it and a bit of discussion, and then it’s a long story on how we made it happen (the making of the film) maybe you can do another interview with me for that, haha. Coming to the actual answer to the question, Kashmir is beautiful so all of the locations were breathtaking and working at those locations was just magical what better thing one can ask for, and definitely the moment when danish said I did a fab job after one of the shots that I gave and so that was it. I do remember each and every bit of those three-four days and they were just pure happiness, also connecting so well with my co-actor Salonie the first time I met her at the airport, she is a brilliant actor and a human so it was even more fun while filming and I believe our film “The Good News” will also be a accepted by everyone with all the love for it’s been written so beautifully and shot even better and being put together with all the love and hope, so fingers crossed.
7) Who has been your favorite co-star?
Well, I’ve most enjoyed working with everyone that I’ve until now worked with, and I am really glad about that fact, maybe the favourite is yet to come so I am gonna hold onto that and keep working and searching, hehe. Tho I absolutely loved working with Saqib Saleem for whatever short amount of time that we shot for. But like honestly this industry is very big yet very tiny and mostly everyone knows everyone and there all kinds of people. So I think you vibe with some and some you can’t with some but when it comes to work, everyone should be as professional as possible and I think when two or more professionals are working together, it’s always fun and amazing and 95% of my experience has been really really good not with the co-star but the entire team. Though I also have had some bad experiences too once it’s action it’s just that emotion and character you gotta feel, so all for good, all for work. But before cutting it short maybe I can tell who I would love to work with incoming the near future, so on top of my list right now is Taher Raaj Bhasin, he is just an incredible actor and I would love to work with him, and of course, the list is very very long.
8) What do you like apart from acting?
Foremost, treating my patients gives me immense satisfaction so I’d never take my hands away from that. Other than that as a person, I am very much interested in almost everything, like I absolutely love trying everything possible, especially something that involves adventure, it’s like this zeal to experience things, be it some new study, places, food, any art form, any sport (all of it actually) or maybe you can call it fear of missing out also which just gets me interested in trying anything. I have always loved sports, 3 time IPSC hockey player, horse riding has been my main go-to, love adventure, certified scuba diver, certified rock climber, has been a part of almost all the sports (football, cricket, lawn tennis, golf..), been an athlete (helps me to keep running towards my goal). Dancing has been one of the interests on top of my list (Bollywood, pole, aerial, hip hop..) To let all the steam off I usually paint or sketch, a skill I have acquired from my mother (she is just a brilliant brilliant artist) I grew up watching her paint, sew, design, cook etc.. for whatever time I was with her before my boarding and been out since she is incredible, so I take it like it’s a God’s gift to me and so I love art, all kinds. I really enjoy doing accents also, basically I am down to try anything, love exploring different parts and forms of art and life.
I’ve always liked singing a lot but I could never get myself to sing good, I enjoy doing it alone but I am really bad at it, I can make people’s ears bleed kinda bad (not proud). Just one thing has never been interested in and can’t do to survive is Maths and oh yea I am really bad at remembering names, have gotten myself embarrassed a lot with that (tho trying to improve in that sector). Pretty much about me.
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