Flying Across Open Skies: A Chat with Mithila Palker!


Mithila Palkar tells us about her tryst with theatre, webseries, bollywood and her upcoming project Tribhanga

As you watch this free spirited, bubbly young actress chattering away, you feel like you have known this ‘cute girl next door’ for ages! And it wouldn’t be completely wrong to say so as this super talented star has been performing across every medium possible – be it theatre, internet, social media, Netflix, mini screen and the silver screen! Forbes India listed her among the Forbes 30 under 30 list of achievers. Her Netflix series with Dhruv Sehgal titled ‘Little Things’ is onto its 3rd Season now! What’s more? After an impressive performance in the Bollywood flick Karwaan with Irfaan Khan and Dulquer Salmaan, she is now gearing up for the much awaited web series directed by Renuka Shahane titled Tribhanga, where she is teaming up with Kajol and Tanvi Azmi in the lead. Ritz caught up with Mithila Palkar as she landed in Kochi for her play, Dekh Behen at the Cuckoo Club!

Interview: Riya Sonny Datson

Photography: Precisely picturesque photography by Shreya Shetty

You have literally explored every medium possible when it comes to performance. Looking back, how would you describe your journey??

Surreal – I can not describe it in words. It has been incredible and all I can say is that – it is just surreal!

You wished to be an actor at 12 and yet we have heard you say that you ran away from it…

Yes, my grandfather had his apprehensions about the industry and honestly I don’t blame him for it. I never had a Godfather or a mentor in the industry who I could approach for help and that by itself was a little scary. He assured me that I was free to do whatever I wished for while in school, but after schooling, I had to focus on academia. I did try to do that for a while but after a point, I guess when you run away from your passion, it eventually finds you!

What does he say now?

Now he is my biggest fan! He has saved all my print interviews and he shows it to guests who visit us. He has learnt how to use a smart phone, use Youtube to look me up and he follows my shows.

Your first audition led you to Thespo, the youth theatre movement, instead of the play, how did you feel back then?

I was in my last year of college and it was my very first audition for a professional play that was being directed by Qasar and produced by QTP. When I didn’t clear it, I did feel bad but I knew there would be something else that would work out. As it happened, the audition introduced me to two of the most important people in my life to day, who are also my mentors Toral Shah and Qasar Thakore Padamsee. Thespo also gave me the networking tag, it was literally my spring board into the field of Theatre and the entertainment industry. I met Akarsh Khurana at Thespo, who again plays a very important role in my life, he is one of my mentors. I also got my first audition through someone who I met at Thespo.

Your very first short film, ‘Majha Honeymoon’ made it to the Mumbai Film Festival. How was the entire experience of facing the camera?

I never felt camera shy or had any stage fear. It was as if I belonged there, I just love being a performer. I had graduated as a mass media student and the guys who were making the short film were my juniors in college and when they asked if I would like to be a part of it, I was more than happy. After it was shot, they submitted it to the film festival and I was unaware of it until I was told that it was on the official selection in the ‘Dimensions Mumbai’ category at the 16th Mumbai Film Festival. It was also screened at the 13th Frames Film Festival. I was thrilled and excited to see my very first project screened at the film festival!

Now that you are an established actor, how do you handle the unpredictability, the ups and downs that come with the industry?

You have to be patient. I knew that ‘unpredictability’ was a pre requisite for being an actor. Of course, there is stress and panic after a project finishes and until the next one begins. I still go for auditions and there is a process involved each time. I have learnt that patience, perseverance and resilience is key. I think this comes with any kind of freelance work and not necessarily acting. I always try and stay positive and take things as they come.

You have shared screen space with our very own Dulquer Salmaan for Karwaan. How was the experience working with Irfaan Khan and DQ?

Oh, it was a lot of fun! In fact that was the last time I came to Kochi! I remember while shooting for Karwaan, I felt like a child in Disney land and I used to be on the set every day, even when I was not shooting. I was really excited and wanted to see it all working out. Both Irfaan and DQ were fabulous and we had a great time. Akarsh like I said, is my mentor and is a pleasure watching him work. Irfaan Sir is an acting school and there is no other way to look at it. DQ is just fantastic. Humility is something you need to learn from him. If you met him without really knowing much about him, you would never know what a megastar he is!

How do you juggle so many mediums of entertainment? Do you feel insecure at any point about being online?

Not at all. You will find me where ever there is good content irrespective of the medium. I want to be a part of good content, I want to say wonderful stories and that’s what I crave to do.

Your web series with Dhruv Sehgal, ‘Little Things’ is onto the third season on Netflix. Did you expect it to happen?

No not at all. We didn’t expect to get such an overwhelming response. We had no idea that it would happen, it was extremely encouraging to be a Netflix original from the second season. The first season was on Youtube. We cant fathom how much it propelled us to so many 170 plus million subscribers of that channel and it is just fantastic. It is amazing that Little Things is such a loved show! It was never expected and it very overwhelming for both Dhruv and I!

How has life changed?

In the wider sense, it has not changed but the ‘little things’ have changed – no pun intended! Walking on the streets is not the same anymore but it is great. I love to meet people, receive the kind of love they shower upon me and I hope I get to return the love in the form of my work.

You have such wide following on instagram. How do you handle social media and trolling?

It is very organic for me and I post updates as and when I am free. When it comes to criticisms, I take everything with a pinch of salt whether is a compliment or a negative comment. I do understand constructive criticism, but if someone told me that I am ugly, I can’t be bothered as this is who I am and I can’t help it!

How do you make your choices when it comes to scripts?

Once I have enjoyed reading the script from an audience’s perspective, then it’s a no brainer for me.

Any regrets?

No. I have absolutely enjoyed everything that I have done! In fact, I think I am still very new at this. I have done a few things but those are really what I can count on my fingertips. But there is so much more to do! I am still that excited child in Disneyland. Still want to learn so much, so many characters to pay! I cant say this enough that this is such an exciting time to be a part of the entertainment industry because there is so much happening! Especially with the OTT platform opening up and creating content. I can’t wait to see what is instore for me!

Tell us about your experience working for Tribhanga.

I cant talk about it too much! I am a huge fan of all the three women. I had met Renuka Shahane a few years ago at Thespo when she was judging festivals. I have been a fan of her writing, she is one of the most articulate women I know, very intelligent and it was a joy to work with her. Kajol and Tanvi are both veterans but none of them come with any air of who they are. They are very welcoming and I never felt like I was new there.

What is your fitness regime like? You are always glowing!  

I don’t have a regime as such, I do workout twice or thrice a week. I exercise generally as it makes you feel good and healthy. And I drink lots of water.

One thing that drives you:

My Work drives me! There are very few things that can get me out of bed and work if definitely one of them. I love food as well but work is definitely what drives me!

Biggest fear:

If I ever run out of work, I wouldn’t know what to do – because that is what drives me!

You are in Kochi for the play, Dekh Behen, tell us a little about it.

It is an Akvarious production and the play is about to five bridesmaids who are gossiping about life and the bride!

On the Bucket list?

I let life happen to me.

Rapid Fire:

  • Motto in life: Be happy and make happy
  • Guilty indulgence: A big bowl of vanilla ice cream
  • I crave for: My grandmother’s home made food!
  • I am in love with: Kochi right now!
  • Relationship Status: Single
  • I can’t do without: Sleep!
  • If not an actor: There was never an alternative!
  • Success is: Doing something that you are passionate about makes you happy and when you receive love for it; I think that is my measure of success!


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