The talented Isha Koppikhar who made her screen debut 21 years ago in Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada cinema shot to fame in Bollywood with her ‘item’ song in Ram Gopal Varma’s Company. After a voluntary break when she married and became a mother, Isha is back in the limelight, and it is with Ram Gopal Varma again.
“Small world,” she laughs as she discusses the film industry’s mutating morals during the time she was away. “Ram Gopal Varma has offered me a web series where I’ve a lot more to do than I did when we first got together (in Company). That was just a song and dance called ‘Khallas’ which became a rage. Sadly I was offered many so-called item songs after that. I turned down most of them. In Ramu’s series I am playing a cop ….again. Mine is one of the central characters in the series, like the cop in the American series Narcos. I played a cop in my last two films Looty and Kavacha both in Kannada. Maybe I was a cop in my last life. I should change my name to Isha Cop-ikkar, ha ha.”
How has the show world changed while Isha has been away looking after her own world? “The atmosphere is far less toxic. There’s no hanky-panky on the sets, no unnecessary talk. When I came in things were very different. Girls were asked to ‘compromise’ and some of them had no choice but to do so because they came from humble backgrounds. I didn’t have to do it. I had solid familial support behind me. I was neither financially nor emotionally insecure. But what about those girls who had no security at all and were asked to compromise? It was a really sad scenario,” says Isha.
She sees everyone being more professional now. “The new generation is so much more focused on their work. I lost a lot of good work because I wasn’t willing to compromise with my values. I was only 23 then. But I knew what I wanted from my life. And I didn’t believe in short cuts.”