Stefy Patel: I tried becoming a Kannada ‘hudugi’ and fell in love with Bengaluru

The actor from Jharkhand, who is marking her Kannada debut with Love Li, discusses at length her journey being an actor and her working experience
Stefy Patel: I tried becoming a Kannada ‘hudugi’ and fell in love with Bengaluru

Stefy Patel always dreamed of becoming an actor. The artiste hailing from Jharkhand Reflects on her journey, expressing her excitement about the dream has now finally becoming a reality. Having already made her mark in Telugu and Tamil cinema, she is eagerly awaiting her Kannada debut in Chethan Keshav’s Love Li, where she shares the screen with actor Vasistha Simha.

“I wasn’t even aware of the existence of the language or details about the South Indian film industry,” Stefy Patel shares. “And I actually got a whiff of it, that’s when I started watching South Indian films. While I was working in Telugu and Tamil films, I also learned about the Kannada industry, and then Love Li came along. Chetan Keshav’s team reached out to me for an audition and provided the synopsis of the character, which instantly connected with me,” she adds. Stefy portrays the role of Janani in the film which is slated for release on June 14. “Slowly, I began learning the language and the shooting process. In my journey, I grew fond of the food here as well,” she says.

As an actor, Stefy notes that she has had her fair share of highs and lows. “Although I had a deep sense of yearning to act, I faced a hundred challenges. There are days when I have been in depression and cry a lot. But at the same time, the moment I face the camera, and when they say ‘action’, I would tell myself, ‘This is it.’ For me, that is my happy space. I worship acting, and I consider it as an achievement to have come this far.”

Regarding the toughest part of being an actor, Stefy shares, “People have several misconceptions of how an actor lives and are quick to judge their personal lives, but that has never been the case. Given an option in life, I love being just me. However, being an actor, I have to be presentable, learn the language, and follow a diet. There is a lot of sacrifice that has to be done to be in front of the camera in order to get the love of the people. I initially thought it was going to be easy, but every time I finish a film, I start from scratch, shedding off all that I learned from my previous film. But it is all worth it once you watch the film.”

Entering a new industry requires significant preparation. Explaining about the same, she says, “When I start in a new industry, I have a hundred questions in my mind. There are a lot of mixed talks about any industry. But I was prepared to learn about the Kannada industry, and the best way I felt was to be with people around. What began as just being an actor in the film, I eventually became their family and they treated me like one. I tried becoming a Kannada hudugi, and I equally fell in love with the city of Bengaluru and the state of Karnataka.”

In the context of Love Li and portraying Janani, Stefy Patel sheds light on her role as the female lead. “Of the half a dozen of films that I have been part of, I am sure that this character in Love Li is one of the best I’ve come across. Janani’s role is written so well. She is not just a part of songs and a few scenes. I go through three phases of life in the film: From being a college girl, having a love story, getting married and becoming a mother, and that required a lot of preparation. If the actors make a difference to the story in a good way, it is there in the film.”

Stefy explains that she was initially hesitant to choose Love Li, which is based on a true incident. “But they were firm that I should be part of the project. I like to sit down with the director and discuss my character’s vision, and since it was based on a true incident, I wanted to stay true to reality and had a lot of questions for the director. He patiently answered all my doubts.”

Sharing her experience working with Vasishta Simha, Stefy says, “Having watched him in his previous films, I felt he is rugged on and off-screen as well. I felt hesitant to open up, thinking he would be a person who likes to keep to himself, but he ended up being so nice. He is an amazing actor, and it was challenging to match him. Thankfully, I had help from him as well. I was always with my diary and pen, translating the dialogues and getting the accent right. He would often become a teacher on the sets, and that helped to work on our on-screen chemistry,” she signs off.

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