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'I speak better Hindi than Mumbaikers'

By Rajul Hegde
April 10, 2017 16:20 IST

'I would get a rejection everyday. I used to give five-six auditions sometimes and would get disheartened. After so many rejections, I have finally managed to do what I like.'

Meet Ek Aastha Aisi Bhi's Tina Phillip.

Tina Philip recently made her acting debut on Star Plus' Ek Aastha Aisi Bhi, a show about a girl who questions religious beliefs and promotes the path to humanity to get closer to God. 

Tina quit her job as a chartered accountant to pursue her dream of becoming an actor. After several auditions, she finally landed her big break. 

The young actress tells contributor Rajul Hegde how she got lucky with television. 

Tell us about yourself.

I have lived in the UK for 20 years; my family is still there. My family was based in Delhi before they shifted to the UK when I was in primary school. That's why I speak better Hindi than Mumbaikers (laughs).

I have always wanted to become an actress. My passion for it brought me to Mumbai. I have been living here for the last two and a half years, trying to get work down south too but nothing had worked out.

In Mumbai, I auditioned for a Yash Raj film but was disheartened when I didn’t get through. 

How did your parents react when you decided to move to Mumbai?

There were very particular that I complete my education. All my cousins are from IIT and IIM, so I had to at least study chartered accountancy.

I have done theatre, acted and written plays too. I have written a play called What’s Your ID?, which talks about British Indians and their identity crisis issues.

I don’t have relatives in Mumbai, so my parents were concerned about my safety. But one of my friends was in Mumbai. I stayed with her for three months before I found my own flat.

My father used to work for a French Embassy and now he is in the education field. My mother is a teacher.

Even though I did not get work in this time in Mumbai, I was not dependent on my parents, as I had saved up money.  

I would get a rejection everyday. I used to give five-six auditions sometimes and would get disheartened. I would pray in temples, gurdwaras, masjids and churches. After so many rejections, I have finally managed to do what I like.  

How did you bag this show?

I borrowed my friend’s kurta and went for an audition without make up.

After the audition, I had to go through a few mock shoots. Then I did a pilot shoot a year and a half with a co-actor. 

In Ek Aastha Aisi Bhi, my character Aastha believes in the goodness of the heart over religious norms and rituals. She believes in serving humanity to please God. I am similar in some aspects to Aastha. I also believe that by doing good deeds, one can help humanity more. 

Since you have shot the initial episodes in Kolkata, have you explored the city?

Yes. We shot near Howrah Bridge for almost a month. People are nice and the life is not mechanical like Mumbai.

When I first came to Kolkata, I discovered khirkodoms (a Bengali sweet) and loved it!. I loved the fish as well.

Do you watch Indian soaps?

I have started watching them now because I have been asked to watch the reactions they give, which is typical (laughs). 

What do you do in your free time?

I play online chess.

I read and sing as well. I keep singing on the sets but people ask me to shut up (laughs).

I am not a trained singer but I had participated in Indian idol in the UK. I am a bathroom signer and was out in the second round! (Laughs

Rajul Hegde / in Mumbai