Salonie Patel is an Indian model and actress. She works in the OTT space. So far she has worked in the web series Campus Diaries (MX player), Sunflower (Zee5), Potluck (Sony Liv), Broken but Beautiful 3 (ALT + MX player), Raiker Case (Voot). Salonie Khanna was born to a Punjabi family in Delhi in the year 1991. She currently resides in Mumbai. Salonie completed her school education at a private school in Delhi. She has done graduation with a Bachelor of Technology in electronics and instrumentation. Before entering the entertainment industry, Salonie worked in the technology industry. She started with TCS. Salonie made her debut with the Punjabi music song Chakkwein Suit. She also appeared in TV commercial brands like Sunsilk and OLX. She soon had the opportunity to make her debut in acting with mini TV series – The Heartbreak Hotel in the year 2019. She was recently seen in Danish Renzu’s Good News, a film set against the conflict-driven valley of Kashmir, the lives of two friends tragically intertwine over conflict and identity.
Here is Salonie Patel in a conversation with GOGO Magazine.
1) How did your journey begin?
While I was working in a 9 to 5 job in TCS as a Java developer one fine day, I realized this is not something that I see myself doing in the next 10 years and it’s not making me happy and so I decided to explore other options and I decided to quit my job. The other option at the time since I didn’t know what I wanted to do with an MBA so I gave my entrance I got admission and had six months till I joined college. So it was really 6-months of really not doing anything, no work. During that time is when a modelling agency in Delhi reached out to me and they wanted me to start modelling with them temporarily for 6-months and see how it goes and I wasn’t getting any salary. I think that’s where it actually all began when I realise that there were so many more options for me than a 9 to 5 job. I started meeting new people, I started meeting new people and started travelling a lot, I started being on the ramp and it just opened up so many more avenues. Modelling got me to Bombay and when I reached it or I really had no work so I decided to train myself in theatre and I started taking acting classes and that’s when I fell in love for the first time with what I do and that’s why I said this is it and this is now what I’m going to be doing for a very very long time.
2) Who has been your inspiration?
This question has been asked so many times and it’s asked at so many different stages of my life, when I was a child they used to ask who inspires you? or who was your idol? The same happened in college but I never had an answer towards it because I never understood how somebody I don’t know fully can inspire me because I don’t know the person’s different aspects of life only based on one that is only based on any one of his phases how can somebody be truly inspirational to me and I never had an answer for who I idolized or who inspired me but today when I look back and I think this is something it’s the realisation that came to me very late but I now know that my true inspiration has been my mum I get my creative gene from her and get my looks like her to get all my mannerisms from her. My mother gave up so much of her life for the kids and she has so much potential to be more than a homemaker. Though I think it is one of the most difficult things to do because you have to be so selfless in order to live for your family or other people I think truly inspires me she’s such a powerful and wonderful woman who’s always had my back and always pushed me to do things out of my comfort zone if I am why I’m today I am Fearless I am strong I know what I want because of my mum and I think she has been my true one and only inspiration,
3) Which was your first break?
I was just thinking about this morning when I had a shoot and I came on set and I was thinking how it all started and funny story after facing ‘n’ number of rejections and giving ‘n’ number of auditions, My first break was a short film for a friend by the way and I consider it my first break because it was my first experience on camera and the idea of making the film was to send it to festivals. So even though I wasn’t being paid and I was doing this just for a friend, I had a great role. It was a great script and the potential of the film was a lot. So I had been doing theatre and I was on stage with this will be my first onset experience and I was so nervous that I couldn’t do anything. The director got so frustrated. I don’t know what came on me. I just got stuck in and now I realise when I work on sets and have delivered that there are times an actor can get stuck at some point or get an emotion or it’s a line. And all of that happened to me on my first break which was not a very pleasant experience. I remember I came home crying and we managed to finish the shooting, the team managed to take over the good from me and I remember I came home crying but in my heart, I knew this was not because I wasn’t good or I didn’t have the potential to be good, but it was because I was too much in my head too much, too much about everything else except for the film and that was what I needed to change and that learning was so great and so wonderful that I haven’t ever been got anything since then and I think that’s what amazing because everything bad had to happen on the first date but it was okay because it was for a friend and everybody was understanding and then after that, I think it has been smooth and great learning curve for me.
4) Why did you leave the technical industry and how difficult was it?
Initially, I think it was liberating for me because I realise that this is not something I see myself doing in the next 10 years. I enjoyed it in parts but I did not look forward to going to work every day and it was just not something that I was meant to do I wasn’t even really good at it honestly because my heart wasn’t there so it was very very liberating, it was scary because uncertainty crept in the day I decided to leave from a stable income to nothing at all and no you don’t see anything coming away and at the time I didn’t even know I wanted to be an actor. I just didn’t know anything, I was very lost but I knew that I wanted to figure out truly what I wanted to do something that I’d love to do.
5) Which has been your most memorable moment in life?
I’ve been really blessed till now, I’ve had a great life now, very supportive parents, I recently got married to the love of my life. This moment is very close to my heart that I would like to share with you was the first time I came to Bombay or Mumbai when I landed here for work. I had visited Mumbai once before that for some college admission when I was just out of school and this time when I came to Bombay with a completely different feeling, I came to Bombay because I had been called to do a campaign shoot for Sun Silk out of the blue and I got a call saying that they wanted to have me the very next day and I just flew the very next day, I did my hairdryers and it was good. When I landed on the first day I knew I wasn’t going back in just two days. I was supposed to go back in two days because I was supposed to just finish the shooting but I stayed here for two months instead because I didn’t know anybody but something inside me changed and I don’t know how to describe it tangibly. It was just a beautiful feeling, it was just a feeling of belonging, it was a feeling of a little bit of peace and the restlessness of not knowing what you want to do? Where do you have to be disappearing? It was just a feeling of being home and this has been home ever since I stayed back for 2 months when I came for that the campaign so much that my mother and father could not comprehend what is going on because I had to be back in 2-days but I took 2 months and I went back to Delhi, packed my bags and came to Bombay again and this happened in 2017. And now I am married here and settled here so this is my home.
6) How was your experience working with Danish Renzu?
So there was a casting director who got me introduced to Danish 2 years before I ever have a chance to work with him for some music video where Danish was looking for a female actor and that never materialized but the first time I spoke to him I didn’t know who he was and he didn’t know what work I have done before so it was a very candid and casual conversation. But when I spoke to him, His sensibilities were so intact, so much in the same place that I knew I want to work with him and ever since I’ve been trying to I was trying to work with him this is I think 2019 and finally in 2021 he calls me saying he has a short film and he wants me to do it. I told him you don’t have to say anything more just send me the script and we are on. I will work out every other detail, doesn’t matter I just want to work with you. I hate the cold but I flew to Kashmir in December. It was really cold and this is only because I really wanted to work with Danish. After I worked with him, I saw his previous films and I have to admit he is brilliant, I experience that myself on sets. He has a very clear vision. He knows what he wants and he knows how to get it done. He is very collaborative which is amazing because he wants you to bring it to the table as well and he is very accepting of it if it fits in the entire picture. So, I think he knows his game and is very lucky to have worked with him and I am very sure we are going to work more in the future.
7) Who has been your favourite co-star?
I have been very lucky to work with wonderful people. I haven’t had any stories of co-actors not getting along, not matching their sensibilities or having any issues on set and I have seen my friends going through some of that but luckily I have not found anybody I worked with to be like that. I have had wonderful people and it would be unfair to pick one because every single person that I worked with has taught me something and I hope that I have given them something to take away as well because that’s what it’s about, you learn from each other and I’m just very very grateful and thankful that every single person who I worked with whether it’s my love interest in the show, whether it’s my father in the show, mother in the show or sister in whatever show I’ve done with, whether it’s somebody I have met for one scene on the set I have found some amazing actors and amazingly talented people and I have found some wonderful friends for life but if you really need one name, I did a play “A Streetcar Named Desire” where I was playing Blanche and Kashyap Shangari who was playing Stanley and he is an amazing actor and he is a very dear friend now. We met while working together and then I think he is going to be my top pick if I had to pick.
8) What do you like apart from acting and modelling?
I am a Kathak dancer. I have done my diploma in Kathak dancing when I was in about 9th standard and ever since I’ve been doing Kathak on and off and it’s a space that I love being in it, it is a place that makes me forget everything and gets me to focus on what’s important. I love dancing, I also sing, I love creating my music, so apart from modelling and dancing it has to be these two things that I absolutely love doing and also absolutely love eating good food. I don’t know how to cook so I love being fed and it makes me really happy and being hungry is a very legit thing because I’ve experienced it myself so I think food, dance and music are something that I love.
PHOTOGRAPHER: GARRY DEAN TAYLOR
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