Renowned actress Rati Agnihotri was born in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly in a conservative Punjabi family. She acted in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada films and has many successful and glaring pieces of work in her kitty. In a conversation with the Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Vaidehi Taman, Agnihotri, known as one of the ‘glamorous moms in films’, beautifully illustrated her 41-year-old journey in the industry. She said that the change in the film industry is natural but sometimes the old world charm of films seems missing in the present-day cinema.
How did you decide to act in films?
Well, I did not decide to work in films. It just happened by a fluke. I was handling a play in the annual day function in the school and Tamil director Bharathiraja was sitting in the audience. He was planning to cast his first film. He saw my performance. He called my dad and he went furious at this. I managed to convince my dad for working in films.
At such a young age, you became the heart-throb of Indian youth. How did you handle that fame?
Well, I have been fortunate enough for such recognition and adulation. It was a surreal feeling. I remember the first time I went to the theatre. In those days, there was a box to sit and privately watch the play. There were shouting, clapping, and rejoicing. I clearly remember that my first shot was about youth having some flaw. I felt I was walking in the clouds. My parents were completely grounded. They taught me ‘Do your job, do your hundred per cent. Everything else will come and go but your work will be appreciated’.
Tell us about your journey from films to stage and now as a business entrepreneur.
Well, since I entered the film industry early in life, the journey still goes on. In between, I tried stage which is the true test of an actor as you have your audience right there in front of you. After that, I took a shift to do something constructive. I worked with my sister. It was another phase of my life. I always love serving good food in an elegant way at home. That is another extension of my personality.
How did you cope up with life when it was in turbulence?
Life is beautiful, life is tough, and life is strange. Life is joy, life is happiness, and Life is a mix-box of chocolates.
What has changed in the film Industry now as compared to then?
Change in the film industry — change is constant, change is appreciated, and change is always welcome. Sometimes, I do miss the old-world charm of films in our present-day cinema. Yet we do make silly films. Sometimes I just feel a little style is missing.
Have you ever wanted to be the producer or director of the films?
Not at all! No director, no producer, just acting in front of the camera. I love my space. That’s where I belong that’s where I always will be.
Thirty-seven to thirty-eight years in cinema feels like a lifetime but still, I feel it just started. I guess that’s my passion for work, my passion for the industry and I will keep going on. I am open to scripts when I am in the country if it fits my time span.
Tell us about your 38 years journey in the film industry. Why did you choose to stay away from Mumbai and travel the most?
Yes, well, I have always been in Mumbai. My son is a young man now and he has his own life. He doesn’t need me around all the time. And, I wanted and loved to do certain things that I have done throughout my life and I am doing now
What is your plan for the future?
I live for the now, in the present. We live today. Tomorrow is another day. Live for today, live to its fullest. Enjoy life, be happy, stay blessed, and stay healthy. That is the motto of my life.
What is your message to our readers?
I take this opportunity to thank everybody for watching my work for all these years. Thank you, everyone, who has always motivated me to go on, do different work, make my own path, and stick by my beliefs. Thank you for appreciating all I have done. You’ll have been the backbone of my work in the industry for last so many years. Stay blessed.