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Exclusive! Apoorva Arora, bullied in school, talks about how she dealt with the scene in College Romance

Apoorva was last seen in Udan Patolas season 2, which released only a few days back.

Exclusive! Apoorva Arora, bullied in school, talks about how she dealt with the scene in College Romance
Apoorva Arora (Instagram).
  • Shaheen Irani

Last Updated: 05.48 PM, Sep 14, 2022

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Just a few days after Udan Patolas season 2 released, Apoorva Arora is gearing up for her next series, College Romance season 3. The actress spoke to OTTplay about how she relates to her character Naira’s long-distance relationship and friendship, what she went through to be the actor she is recognized as today and facing bullies in high school. Ironically, Naira played a bully in College Romance. She also told us about how she dealt with the scene, among many other things.

Excerpts from the interview:

Apoorva, Udan Patolas 2 released recently and your character is one of the cutest even there. Soon after, College Romance 3 comes back. What are you feeling like right now?

I am ecstatic. There are so many projects releasing back-to-back. I have been working since December and then, promotions started happening because things were set to release. It's a great phase for an actor because so many things release and you have so much to look forward to. You already put in the work and efforts so now is the time to reap the benefits.

Now Naira is in the US and there's so much happening with her life. What should we expect this time around?

The show won't lose its flavour. It will be funny and crazy with mad characters who are extremes. Despite that, like real life, there's some progress in the story. You know, in your first year, you just have fun but by your final year, there's so much at stake, so many complications - someone is someone's ex, someone has just started dating, some people are not friends anymore. These are the kind of things that happen in real life and is happening on the show as well. We're exploring that and I'm so glad that the writers made it happen. People are going to really have a blast this time.

Naira and Bagga are in a long-distance relationship and it is messy. What are your views on long-distance relationships personally?

I would just say run. I personally feel that if a relationship starts as long-distance then it is very difficult to make it work. You don't get to see the non-verbal cues. Some people's love language is touch. You don't get to experience that. When you meet once-in-a-while, it will be butterflies. You'll never experience the real side of the relationship after your honeymoon period ends. Sometimes though, the relationships do last and the partners happen to be in long distance at this point of time. Naira and Bagga are also like that. It's easier to make those kind of relationships work.

There’s even long-distance friendship on the show. So, do you have a long-distance friend in real life? How does that work?

A lot of my friendships end up being long distance because I happen to travel so much. I'm away for so long that I don't get to see that person. In a way, it's the true test of friendship, even when you give them the kind of time or connect with them. It's the same for Naira's character. She knows that when she comes back, she can just start from where they left off. That's where I sort of relate to the bond that these people have. I have such bonds in real life too. So yeah, there's a similarity there.

Since there is this long-distance relationship going on, was it a virtual shoot for you? Tell me your experience with that.

You asked for plot twist! I'll say that there was a lot of time I spent alone and others were giving me cues when I shot with them. There's a lot of scenes with the gang also.

You know you had your whole journey from doing Kannada, Punjabi, Marathi and Gujarati films before reaching where you are in Hindi today and even then, more than films, you are known for your web series. Would you say you are in a happy space and aim to reach a happier place?

Oh yeah, absolutely. I have always been doing a lot of work - big films and projects but since the OTT boom happened, my work is being noticed. There's a wider fanbase and audience watching you. That's when you become a bankable actor by default. For someone like me, that's very important that people put their trust in me as a saleable face rather than a pretty face. I also like to bring in numbers. Since I did that on OTT and YouTube, it has been a great change in my life. It definitely put me in a happier and content space as an actor.

You have worked in some popular films but almost went unnoticed. Does it hurt that people don't remember you for the projects?

People know me because of a show where I have abused. I have done serious work before that and I think they will go back and notice those films too. The films that should have done well but didn't for some reasons, I feel that people will notice them too.

Would it be right to say that you are a proud Delhi girl and not afraid to flaunt it? I'm saying this because in today's times people look for real over glamour and you somewhere give that vibe. So, would it be right to say that you are very much your own person rather than chasing glamour?

Absolutely. The Delhi girl is always going to be there in me. I also lived in Mumbai so I'm a Mumbai girl also. At a very early age, I learned that fitting into a certain pattern wouldn't help. I have to be who I am - that I'm not inferior to anyone. The way I am is good and I learned that the harder way. It came from a place of being bullied in school and told I'm weird and eccentric. I'm glad it happened. Now I take it with a pinch of salt and give it back also. I like how people see me because that's how I want to be seen.

What was so weird about you, if you'd like to elaborate?

They found me a nerd and know-it-all. I would do my work on time, score good and be among top three. I had my opinions and didn't know how to assert them on people.

How did you deal with the bullies? Were you bullied throughout school? Did you give it back?

I could never give it back. I complained to the authority but they were also a bully. My school experience was the worst for me. I'm glad my parents let me take the step of self-study. That was a blessing for me - that I could get out of school. The people bullied either become a protector or a bully. I'm glad I didn't become a bully.

But that was the exact opposite for Naira. She was introduced to College Romance as someone who bullied juniors...

That's a concern I had raised with the team also. I asked them to not make ragging look cool. Then my character only includes the junior in the group when she invites him to have samosa.

How did you keep Apoorva from coming in between Naira? Since you are a different person and have different views, were there clashes?

I went with my own set of opinions about the character. When I went to Delhi to meet the team and rehearse with them, they just told me about the character and what I should watch or read to be able to understand the character. With Naira though, everybody looks at her differently. They have an assumption - that they want me to play Naira a certain way. I also realized later that Naira is seen differently by everybody. For someone, she's the serious, studious girl, for someone, she's a Bagga fan, for someone she's a yaaron ka yaar and for someone, she's like a mom. I just had to bring their opinions together and form this person in my head. Now Naira is ingrained in my memory to the extent that she comes naturally to me.

Your upcoming projects?

There are some really exciting projects coming up which haven't been announced yet. I can't talk about them. One of my films has been announced. It's called Motor, Maachis Aur Cutter. Jatin Sarna plays the lead. I'm very excited about it. It was one of my best experiences. It should come out anytime soon. The dubbing is complete. I have also worked in a short film, film and web series, all of which will hopefully release soon. So, a lot of things are in the pipeline.

Is there going to be a new season of Udan Patolas?

There's no update on that yet. I was talking about another show, which also has a second season.

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