By Janvi Sonaiya
Ahmedabad, Jun 2 (IANS): When we met Aarohi Patel in the afternoon she was dressed in a baggy T-shirt and jeans. "Whatever I have been wearing for years, has become a fashion now! I just do not want to put an effort into dressing up," she said.
Aarohi is an actor, producer and video editor. Daughter of Gujarati cinema's prominent director-producer duo Saandeep and Aarti Patel, she has been in the industry for eight years.
The 28-year-old can be called a 'nepokid', but she insists she is not one, although she owes her fame to the success of her father's film, the romantic drama 'Love Ni Bhavai', where she plays a .
Making her acting debut as a child in Saandeep Patel's film, 'Moti Na Chowk Re Sapna Ma Ditha', she rose to prominence with her leading role in Vijaygiri Bava's drama, 'Premji: Rise of a Warrior'. From editing videos to doing technical work on film sets, she does it all.
"My idea was never to be the lead heroine of my father's movie 'Love Ni Bhavai'," Aarohi said. "That was never on the cards. I have grown up on film sets and therefore I was like ... make me a spot boy or an actress, but let me be on film sets.
"The idea was to assist my father on the sets, but it was only at the last moment, when he could not find the right fit, he chose me! Initially, even he was sceptical about whether I would be able to do it, but just after the first shot he was proud of me."
But it's not easy to come from a family with deep roots in the film industry. Aarohi finds her background a tightrope to walk on.
She noted: "Being the daughter of Sandeep Patel (director) and Aarti Patel (producer-actor), if I perform well, people say 'she will obviously perform well, she is the daughter of ..." and if I do badly, they say 'despite being their daughter of ... she performed so badly'.
"I don't think I will ever get due credit! I have only my fans who recognise my work for what it's worth."
Recalling her 'Love Ni Bhavai' days and the rejection she faced, ironically, after the film's success, Aarohi said: "When I did the film, it became an instant hit. I got so much praise for it and I assumed that now I will be getting lots of offers. I waited and waited a lot, but I didn't get a single call. No work offers. That was one of my lowest phases.
"Eventually, one day I got a call from the director Vipul Mehta. He wanted to narrate to me the script of 'Chaal Jeevi Laiye' -- he even invited me to Mumbai, but before listening to the script, I agreed to the project. I said, yes!"
She has chosen to be a hands-on producer for over two years. "During the gloomy times of Covid, when nothing was happening, I founded GlassHour Productions with a fellow actor and good friend Tatsat Munshi. We are still taking baby steps, but yes, we're producing ad films and web series. We want to narrate stories that are fresh, give opportunities to newcomers and make great Gujarati content."
Like for most actors, is the next step Bollywood? "I love 'Amdabad'. I am a Gujarati at heart and I want to create and produce content that will make the Mumbai fraternity look at Gujarat for opportunities. I am here to stay!"
Aarohi's last film was 'Aum Mangalam Singleam' (November 2022). This, again, was a box-office success -- and the film has been directed by her father; her mother is the producer and plays one of the characters.