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Sab Kushal Mangal made me connect with my roots, says Riva Kishan

The first-time actress will be seen in the upcoming film, directed by Karan Kashyap, along with Priyaank Sharma and Akshaye Khanna. She spoke about her entry into films and her bubbly character in an interview.

Sonal Pandya

Dressed in a printed blazer and white pants, newcomer Riva Kishan looks quite different from her on-screen avatar in her first film, Sab Kushal Mangal (2020). The first-time actress, daughter of well-known actor, one-time Bhojpuri superstar and now parliamentarian Ravi Kishan, plays Mandira Shukla, who has caught the attention of both Pappu Mishra (Priyaank Sharma) and Baba Bhandari (Akshaye Khanna).

In an interview at the offices of One Up Entertainment, Riva Kishan tells us she was always interested in acting, largely because of her father. “Dad has been one of the major reasons why,” she said. “He is the whole and soul in the family, [and] he was into the industry, which to be honest, motivated me in a very good way. I was always curious to know what it is that makes him want to work so hard for this industry. Now that I’m seeing it, it actually has worked out in the best way possible, so why not I give it a try?”

The newcomer, who has done a few plays, has previously taken acting courses in Los Angeles and was in between acting workshops in London when she came back to India for a short holiday.

“I came here for holidays, just to visit the family, and that is when Dad happened to get a call from a family friend who said there is an offer for your daughter. Riva should go and take the narration and everything,” she recalled.

“Dad called me up and told me this and I was excited, but I could also see my London dreams just go down the drain,” Riva said and laughed. She knew if she took up the offer, she wouldn’t be returning to London.

Anyhow, accompanied by her mother, she went to the narration and the deal was done. “Both of us couldn’t stop laughing. Every single thing about the movie, all possible details, and especially the way Karan sir, our director, was narrating it, he made it sound so special and so funny that I was even more excited,” she said.

Describing her character Mandira as a “bubbly, fun-loving girl who wants to live her life by her choices”, Riva added that she also knows the values of the family. “She knows how to balance both sides. She is all-out crazy also, and on the other hand, she respects her family, she loves her father and is very connected towards all of them in the house. She is also very innocent when it comes to the love she has. So it’s all of the fun parts in her which make her Mandira,” the young actress explained.

“I believe that the character itself was somewhere relatable for me, because I am very close to my father. I love him. That was there, then the fun-loving part, being a crazy girl [and] I somehow feel it made me feel connected to my roots also because this character is from UP-Bihar and I have been in my village, I have been there for at least a nice time with no luxuries, but with the complete down-to-earth, no-electricity life, I’ve lived that also.”

Her first day on the set required her to film the love song ‘Na Duniya Mangi Hai’ which initially made her apprehensive.

“I was just nervous, emotional, [with] all of those feelings on my face, whereas I’m supposed to be romancing with my hero, but here I am, just nervous. But it all turned out to be very beautiful in the end. And Priyaank has been so supportive,” she said of her co-star who is also making his movie debut.

Riva stated that they easily formed a bond during the workshops and filming as they both had the same kind of upbringing, making it easier for them to connect. Sharma is the son of yesteryear actress Padmini Kolhapure.

Asked if she reached out to her father for advice during filming, Riva said no. Both her parents were not around for the shoot, but they spoke on the phone often. “He had faith in me for some reason that if you are there, you are there for a reason. You are not just there just because you have to be there,” she said, adding that her parents are still her go-to people for any advice.

Meanwhile, she has to settle the butterflies in her stomach over her debut film which is set for release on the first weekend of 2020. “That’s like a beautiful New Year’s gift also," she said. "We are just hoping ‘Sab Kushal Mangalhi ho!”