Sitting in a coffee shop with a cup in her hands, Shristi Karki looks absolutely at ease. Popularly known for her music video with Abhaya, Chha Mero Aru Sansar, Shristi has been a part of the film industry for five years.
Belonging to an army family, Shristi comes across as straightforward, a woman of few words but big on her fashion statement. She is often seen carrying colourful outfits with quiet confidence and aplomb.
She says, “Filmmakers tend to look at the number of followers you have on Instagram or likes on Facebook to determine your popularity. This surely doesn’t justify the talent of any actor.”
Here’s more from the young actor:
Tell us about your growing years…
I had a loving childhood. I was born in Bhaktapur, my life used to revolve around my mom, grandmom and my two siblings. But I always had a void inside not having my dad around us most of the time. He was serving in Nepal Army so I used to miss his presence but mom gave us everything she could to make us happy. I was always a naughty child. I knew all the kids in the street and our neighbourhood and we would always hangout. It was before social media took over ofcourse.
When did you decide to get into films and modelling?
Eversince I was a child, I had always wanted to become an actor. Most likely I was always influenced by Bollywood movies and songs. I remember locking my room, draping my mom’s saree, playing music and dancing in front of the mirror or enacting some movie character.
Modelling is completely different. I have always wanted to act and been interested in doing commercial ads rather than ramp walks or just limiting myself to photo shoots.
How did the music video with Abhaya take shape?
It was just after the first lockdown, I got a text from my friend asking if I am interested in doing a music video with Abhaya di. I remember I was so happy that she wanted to work with me. As soon as I got the offer, I immediately said yes because I have always loved her as an artist.
After few days, we met at her place. We chatted for a while and she wanted to see if I could do the crying scenes so I gave an informal audition and they were happy with my performance. Soon we announced the date for the shoot and that’s it. It was my first music video with one of my favourite singers. It’s always close to my heart and I will always be grateful to Abhaya di and her team.
Tell us about the films you have done…
I came back to Nepal in December 2016, and got offer for an item song in a movie titled Gangster Blues. To be honest, I was confused whether I should start my career with an item song or not, but I have always loved dancing and performing so I thought I would give it a try.
In 2017, I got an offer for a movie called America Boys starring actors like Sunil Thapa, Arpan Thapa, Sandip Chhetri which was directed by Prabesh Poudel. The whole experience of working with talented actors was amazing. Everyone was supportive and friendly which made my first movie experience filled with good memories and good company.
What are the major challenges of the industry you are in?
I always have this different mindset about the industry culture and how we have created this false narrative to survive in this industry. I won’t say it is a challenge but there is the trend of those having a huge number of followers on social media leading to lead roles in big production movies. This upsets me as many talents go unnoticed because of this irrelevant practice. There’s definitely a huge difference in acting for TikTok and for a real movie scene.
Acting is an art and most directors and producers can’t figure out the difference itself. They are in their position just because they have the money to invest not because they know and can figure out talent in people. That’s how the Nepali film industry works. There is just a handful of directors and producers who really want to change the industry and promote talent.
I am not very active on Instagram and TikTok so it has made me realise how my work offers fluctuate depending on my posts and followers. This is a harsh reality of every struggling actor. I don’t want to get work by showing what I am not on social media and don’t want to sell my talent just like that for anything.
What is your fashion statement?
Combining different styles together and accessoring to create a whole new look is what I love to do. Playing with colours and adding an aesthetic vibe is my statement lately. I keep experimenting though.
Besides your work persona, what are you really like?
A person who has a positive outlook towards life. An ambivert who is very goofy and fun, who loves to nourish the inner child. I love simple things and small gestures. I am also very spiritual. I love spending time alone as I need space to recharge myself. Also, I am a very private person who follows certain ethics in life. I am loving, kind, humble and straight forward and am particular about the things and people I want and like.
What are some of the conscious changes that you have made for yourself?
I have become more resilient and started seeing and respecting things from other’s perception. I am focusing on more self-love. I am learning to remain kind but setting boundaries at the same time, accepting my mistakes and flaws and am not ashamed of doing my best to become a better person each day.
Are there any people that you look up to?
Not exactly but I wish to be like my mom. Some of her traits and personality has taught me a lot in these past few years. She has single-handedly raised me and my two siblings giving us a good upbringing, love and affection while my dad was serving as an army officer for the country. It was magical and incredible whatever she did for us, so I aspire to be like her in that way.
What do people tend to get wrong about you?
I am very straightforward and witty so people often think I come out as a very rude and cold person which I am not. I get misunderstood because of my nature and also people often think I am arrogant. I am particular about the people I care to talk. In reality, I think I am sweet and nice once someone gets to know me better.
What brings you joy?
Oh! There’s plenty. Dancing, travelling, creating something artistic, spending time with my family and close friends, food, reading, writing, gardening, giving hugs, watching sunsets, time for myself, random fun plans, greeting everyone with a smile, and saying kind words to strangers.
In moments of doubt, what gives you courage?
I am always aware of my potential and talent. This makes me very confident but sometimes when I have little doubt, I reflect back on my journey… of becoming independent from the age of 18, all my past experiences, all of which give me immense courage to move forward and do more. Also, some positive self-talk every now and then.
Tell us about your long-distance relationship with cricketer, Prithu Baskota?
We have been in a relationship for eight years now. Actually, it sounds so filmy that we started our relationship long distance back then. I was in Spain and he was in Nepal. Fun fact is that neither of us had any mutual friends nor had we met each other in person. He added me on Instagram and we met after one and a half years at the airport for the first time. We have been together after that but now he is in States playing and it’s already been a year we are again long-distancing. This time I am in Nepal and he is abroad.
Do long distance relationships really work?
I think it depends on the people and how they want their relationship to be. For us distance was never a big deal right from the beginning. I believe it has taught us both lots of patience, about giving space to each other, understanding each other’s situation and feelings, all of which are very important to make our relationship strong. And yes, we are strong and growing together.
If you could go back in time and talk to the younger Shristi, what would you tell her?
- There are so many things I would love to tell her. I would love to sit with my younger self and tell her to stop pleasing people and friends and learn to say NO. I would tell her:
- You always felt you were different than others and over-think about it but let me tell you that’s what makes you shine more beautifully and uniquely in the future. Don’t trust people easily and learn to set boundaries.
- Don’t prioritise people so much
- Embrace your emotions, it will make you kinder and more empathetic in the future
- You are so creative, you should always focus on being artistic, learn different dance forms, pen down your thoughts and feelings more
- You love sewing and knitting so don’t be lazy with such a creative mind and hands
Tell us about your plans to go to the US…
I have already lived abroad for five years. The time that I am spending in Nepal, I have got so many experiences in different sectors. But I think I always seek changes in my life. I again want to go abroad and explore more sides of the world, get all sorts of experiences, meet different people and work. That’s growth for me, to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. It’s been monotonous here lately. I want something exciting and different.
Photographer: Suzan Shrestha (@suzan_shots)
Interview & Coordination: Ankita Jain (@jain.anki)
Makeup: Nilima Basnet (@nilimabasnet)
Hair: Durga Malla (@hairartist.durga)
Hair Assistant: Sudikshya Bajracharya (@sudikshya_bajracharya)
Stylist: Rajesh Jung Bharati (@rajesh_jung-bharati)
Wardrobe: Anugraha (@anugraha.adh)
Bipin Creation (@bipin_creation)
Accessories: Anx Studio (@anx_studio)
Location: Supper Club Nepal (@supperclub.nepal)