Akshara Singh was just a popular name in Bhojpuri cinema. But after participating in the first-ever digital edition of Bigg Boss, she became a pan-India star. In Bigg Boss OTT, Akshara was one of the most-loved contestants and the live audience saw a potential winner in her. However, just before the finale week, she got evicted along with her connection Milind Gaba. For Akshara, though her Bigg Boss OTT journey was filled with highs and lows, her friendship with Milind, Nishant Bhat and Moose Jattana will be remembered for a long time.
Now, as she gears up to record a song with Milind in Delhi next week, Akshara spoke to PeepingMoon.com about her journey on the controversial reality show. She further revealed the reason behind staying away from Shamita Shetty and how the Bollywood actress made her feel 'cornered'. Akshara remembered her struggle in the industry and how a traumatic relationship changed her as a person.
Excerpts from the interview:
You are teaming up with Milind Gaba for a song. Can you tell us a little more about it?
Yes, we are still working on it and we'll be meeting again very soon. In a week or so, I’ll go to Delhi for the recording.
How has your life changed after Bigg Boss OTT?
The experience in the Bigg Boss OTT house was beautiful. I left the show with many memories. My life has definitely changed for good, it is much better than before.
Were you hoping to see yourself in the top 5?
I definitely saw myself in the top 5. Everyone wishes to win the trophy when they decide to participate in the show. I had that desire too and gave my best to achieve that goal.
After your eviction, you said that Bigg Boss OTT is 'pre-planned’. Why?
Actually, no. I got evicted after facing enough humiliation. Many allegations were levelled against me. Out of agitation and frustration, I said that the show is pre-planned. I never intended to blame Team Bigg Boss, Colors and those behind it. Certain bitter experiences forced me to say so. Bigg Boss never asks you to behave in a particular way or use certain words for the housemates. Jis tarah se main nikli vaha se voh expected nahi tha.
Before Bigg Boss OTT, you were only known to the audience of Bhojpuri cinema. Now, people across the country know you. Are you planning to do mainstream Bollywood films?
Definitely. Bigg Boss is a huge platform and I am thankful to the show's team for selecting me. It is because of them I got such a huge platform. Now, people across the world know and watched me. Right now, I’ve many projects in the pipeline. I’m doing a song with B Praak and one with Milind Gaba.
You never shared a great equation with Shamita Shetty in Bigg Boss OTT. What kept you away from her?
Personally, Shamita is a nice person but I felt her behaviour towards me in the house was biased. I felt she often neglected me. She would often shout at me for no fault of mine. Lack of respect and the fact that she is a Bollywood star and I come from a small town made me feel disheartened. She would often say, "Isse baat karne ka fayda nahi hai," "Kaise baat karti hai, kaise bolti hai." Aise sab cheezon ne mujhe andar se depress kar diya. Main bhi insaan hu, kisi kachre ke dibbe se nikal kar nahi aayi hu.
Did the contestants ever shame you for being a star in Bhojpuri cinema?
Yes, I often observed that from their behaviour. Shamitaji would yell at me for no reason, Neha Bhasin too for that matter. On some occasions, they would make me feel cornered.
Pratik Sehajpal ditched you and chose Neha Bhasin as his 'connection'. Did that disturb you?
It did disturb me. I have been through a lot in my life. Being a girl, I have fought many battles in the industry. Kahi na kahi maine uss cheez ko relate kar liya apne personal life se. Pratik, Nishant Bhat, Moose Jattana and I were extremely close in the house. But when Pratik ditched me, our bond broke. Mujhe lagne laga ki ab voh friendship kaha hai? I took a stand for Pratik since day 1 and promised to be there for him throughout. When he ditched me, mujhe thoda bura laga. Iss tarah se ditch nahi karna chahiye tha. Unhone emotionally hurt kiya mujhe.
Are you in touch with him after Bigg Boss OTT?
We haven't spoken after the show. But as a friend, I’ll be there with him. Main apne zaban ke liye honest aur pakki hu.
You mentioned that you've fought many battles in the industry. Please elaborate.
I started working when I was very young. When I was 13, I would teach dance to kids who were my age. I did that for only Rs. 2,500 per month as I was in desperate need of pocket money. The financial situation at home wasn't good enough. When I turned 16, I made my acting debut in a film opposite Ravi Kishan. After that, I have done many projects in Bhojpuri cinema but I still struggled with work. I was confident that I am capable of doing good work but never got the right opportunity. I even did 2-3 serials.
After that, I was in a scary relationship. Ek dardnaak relationship, joh main kisi ladki ke liye nahi chahungi. After 4 years of relationship, usne mujhe ditch kiya. Post ditching me, he got married. Just 2 days before the marriage, he told me that I have to do the shopping for the ceremony. I was shocked. I was in Patna for a show. On the day of the wedding, they locked me in a room and got him married. I never wanted to raise this topic in public because main aise jagah se aati hu jaha relationship ko publicly nahi announce kar sakte. Aap kitne bhi modern ho jaye, Uttar Pradesh aur Bihar bohot choti jagah hai aur vaha ka culture hi aisa hai. He threatened and dominated me. He forced me to accept that we are in a relationship.
Post his wedding, it was out in public that he cheated on Akshara. I decided to step out of the relationship after wrapping the projects that were in my hand. Uski chahat thi ki uski shaadi ke baad bhi main uski 'keep' banke rahu joh ki mujhe manzur nahi tha. Due to my decision, he started dominating me and made sure I don't get work. Main bata nahi sakti ek-ek din maine kaise nikala hai. Har din main mar rahi thi, mere paas koi rasta nahi tha. He had told all the Bhojpuri heroes to not work with me.
Due to this event, I became suicidal. When I had lost hope, my father came to my rescue. Mere parents ne kaha ya toh tum lado ya humari taraf se aazad ho, jaake suicide kar lo. I gathered courage after that and embarked on a new journey as a singer. Kisi tarah se paise jodke gana gaana chalu kiya. My ex-boyfriend, who is also a singer, tried to put a full stop to my singing career too. After taking efforts, a channel refused to accept my song. Usko (ex-boyfriend) insecurity hai mere gaane se kyunki voh usse zyada chalte hai. Later, I decided to take things into my hands and launched my own channel. My first song Idhar Aane Ka Nahi got 300 million views without any support.
When my song became popular, he got insecure again. That's when I filed a case against him in Malvani Police Station. Out of insecurity, he planned an acid attack on me. He sent 3-4 men behind me with bottles of acid. Main raat raat bhar bhag rahi thi. Finally, I registered a case against them in Charkop Police Station. I feel lucky to be alive, it is an achievement for me.
Did the police arrest the culprits?
No, they couldn't. In fact, they even checked them for evidence. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough money to approach the court. He managed to bribe advocates and those linked to the case. Neither did I have enough money nor time. For me, it was important to work for a better future. Mujhe ab marne se dar nahi lagta.
Bigg Boss 15 is starting this weekend. Are you approached for it?
As of now, no. I have never watched Bigg Boss since I started working at a young age. I'm a workaholic. Mumbai mein ghar chalana mujhe hi padta hai, yaha saans lene ke liye bhi paise lagte hai. Coming back to Bigg Boss, I've never followed the show and I simply don't believe in 'chal-kapat'. I have always been real and showcased that side in Bigg Boss OTT too. Now that I have understood the game, I'll be able to give the contestants a tough fight if called for Bigg Boss 15.
In Bigg Boss OTT, Shamita Shetty-Raqesh Bapat and Neha Bhasin-Pratik Sehajpal grew closer. Were you attracted to someone in the house?
No, not at all. Voh time aaya nahi. If I get a chance to go to Bigg Boss 15, I would definitely be open to it.