With looks to kill, a vivacious spring in her step and an impressive work ethic, Esha Gupta comes across as a woman who knows her mind. Despite being an industry outsider, she has made an indelible mark in Bollywood through power-packed performances in hit films such as Raaz 3 and Rustom. Here, she dials up the heat in some of this season's most covetable pieces by designer Arpita Mehta.
Her journey began in 2007; after bagging the Miss Photogenic award, she went on to being crowned Miss India International. This success culminated in a Bollywood offer that catapulted her into stardom. For her debut performance in Jannat 2 opposite Emraan Hashmi, she was nominated for Filmfare, Stardust, and Zee Cine Awards. Her dexterity in portraying Priti Makhija, a fearless, grey character seeking to avenge her brother’s murder, impressed audiences worldwide. A regular feature on the ‘Times 50 Most Desirable Women’ list and as a fashion week showstopper for numerous A-list designers, Esha exemplifies the fact that perusing your dreams with determination and being true to yourself is most important. With four films in the pipeline at various stages of production, she’s ready to end the year with full force. We catch the style icon between shots for a quick tête-à-tête.
What inspired you to become an actor?
I think I was meant for this! I call it destiny, which I’ve worked hard towards.
If you had to select an alternate career, what would it be?
What is your favourite character that you have played?
All have been my favourite, but Jhanvi from Jannat 2, my first film, will always be extra special.
How does Bollywood compare to the film industry worldwide, in your opinion? How has it evolved since you began your career?
Bollywood has more emotions. That’s what makes India the country it is – more colours, more life. Now, it’s slowly becoming more realistic.
The film industry is closely intertwined with fashion, and actors often set trends, whether on the red carpet or through the way the characters they play dress. For example, your look in Rustom was trendsetting. How do you plan your appearances? Any go-to designers?
I always wear what I feel speaks to my personality, which is strong and confident. Whether it’s my casual or formal wear, it’s about wearing pieces that resonate with who I am. Not setting the trend, but that’s my own style. My favourite designer label is Ranian.
What is your personal style like? How do you dress on a day off?
I’m all about comfy clothes! A well fitted denim and tee with sneakers is my favourite.
One fashion trend you love, and a trend that needs to go.
I love 70’s fashion; it’s very cool. I love high-waisted mom’s jeans paired with a crop tee. I can’t stand animal print.
What are your thoughts on Arpita Mehta’s collection?
I love Arpita, and more so her collection. We’ve been working on and off for years now. Arpita’s clothing label communicates her personality - feminine and delicate. Her outfits are always so beautiful that they make you feel beautiful when you wear them. I’ve always been a fan of hers.
What are your thoughts on being on the cover of the Aza Magazine’s anniversary issue?
Aza is one of the most prestigious designer stores. It’s my pleasure to be on the cover of the anniversary issue. They have all the great designers under one roof.
What would your dream wedding outfit be like?
A soft pastel pink lehenga. It has to be very lightweight so I don’t feel the stress of walking in it. I love jewellery, so more of that.
How do you stay fit while traveling? What is your fitness regime like?
Eating right, and lots of water. If you can’t work out, a walk or yoga at home is sufficient so that your body doesn’t get too lethargic.
What are your beauty do’s and don’ts? Any beauty / make up essentials?
Always clean your face thoroughly at night, especially if you have make up on. Drink lots of water and avoid sugar and dairy. A healthy lifestyle is key.
What’s next for you?
My first international project is releasing this year, an Iranian film called The Devils Daughter, directed by Ghorban Mohommadpur. Paltan releases in September, followed by Total Dhamaal, directed by Indra Kumar, in December.
Concept: Arpita Mehta
Photography: Taras Taraporvala
Styling: Aastha Sharma & Arpita Mehta
Location: Versova Social, Mumbai
Cutdana & mirror work bustier with sharara pants & ruffle jacket
Ruffle mirror work sari with blouse and jacket
Resham thread embroidered lehenga set
Mirror work embroidered top with sharara pants
Cutdana & mirror work bustier with jacket & tulip skirt
Floral printed skirt with embroidered bustier & ruffle jacket