Harleen Sethi’s Journey: From “Pretty Face” to Acclaimed Actor in Kohrra

Super Gorgeous and Super Cute, Harleen Sethi, the Mumbai-based actor, experienced a unique sense of triumph with her latest Netflix series, Kohrra. When she showed the show to her parents, she eagerly anticipated their feedback. To her delight, they not only praised her performance but also revealed that every actor in the series stood out, which filled her with genuine satisfaction.

Reflecting on the success of Kohrra, Harleen expressed her overwhelming emotions and how the focus during the project was on sincere work rather than the outcome. The experience of working on the show has been a significant milestone in her career, marking a new chapter that some have called “Harleen 2.0.”

In an interview, she opened up about her career journey, comparing the impact of Kohrra with her previous hit, Broken but Beautiful. Harleen shared her transformation from seeking recognition as a pretty face to embracing her identity as an actor, exploring different characters in the process. The transition happened during the OTT boom in COVID when she discovered the joy of diving deeper into her craft.

Before Kohrra, she pondered if her character would stand out as it was a more character-driven role rather than being a poster face. However, the love and admiration she received from the audience and the industry affirmed her path as an actor.

Though anxious about the show’s release, the positive feedback from the show’s creators eased her nerves. Yet, she still wondered if this recognition would lead to better opportunities and collaborations with filmmakers she admired. Despite such doubts, she reminded herself to cherish the present moment and be grateful for her current achievements.

In conclusion, Harleen Sethi’s journey in the acting realm has undergone a significant transformation, and she eagerly awaits the future, hoping to continue learning, growing, and working with passion and sincerity.

When Harleen Sethi, the Mumbai-based actress, introduced her latest Netflix series “Kohrra” to her parents, she patiently anticipated their feedback, hoping they would recognize her standout performance. After the conclusion of the six-episode crime investigation drama, her parents turned to her, praising her portrayal of a woman navigating an unhappy marriage in the backdrop of a troubled local cop’s story. Their comments not only filled her with pride but also provided her with valuable insight into the show’s potential impact upon release: “Every performance, every actor stands out in Kohrra.”

Harleen shared her thoughts, saying, “To me, that marked the true triumph. When each element garners appreciation, the entire show prospers. We all reap the rewards,” she recounted during her conversation with indianexpress.com as she contemplated her role in “Kohrra,” the intriguing new series fueling online conversations.

The narrative revolves around the investigation into the untimely demise of an NRI shortly before his wedding. Harleen embodies Nimrat, the daughter of the troubled local officer Balbir (portrayed by Suvinder Vicky). Her compelling portrayal of a woman yearning to break free from an unsatisfying marriage has captured attention, with many considering it a significant leap forward in her career, akin to a “2.0” version.

In an exclusive interview with indianexpress.com, Harleen delves into her journey, contrasting the distinctive impact of “Kohrra” with her 2018 success, “Broken but Beautiful.” She expresses her aspiration to transcend the label of a mere “beautiful face” and discusses the anxieties accompanying her newfound recognition, as influential filmmakers take notice of her compelling performance.

Were you taken aback by the show’s reception?

The overwhelming emotions have swept us all. Such outcomes weren’t anticipated; this project was one where the process held greater significance than the outcome. Our focus remained steadfast on the work’s authenticity. We didn’t dismiss the audience’s reception, yet the intent centered on dedicated sincerity. There existed a ‘no makeup’ ethos on set; within our sanctum, we immersed ourselves in our craft. These factors fortified my conviction in the endeavor, while thoughts of its outcome lay dormant.

What significance does a project like this carry for you at this phase of your career?

The fog veiling my acting journey has seemingly dissipated (chuckles)! Some refer to this as my ‘Harleen 2.0’ odyssey. Initially, I didn’t view it as such, but then it dawned upon me. While ‘Broken but Beautiful’ enjoyed mass acclaim, this marks an achievement within the industry. I infused equal candor into both ventures… Nevertheless, I harbor no regrets regarding the timing of this success. Perhaps its manifestation was destined for this juncture—my evolution as an actor has reached an opportune stage. My hope is for this progression to foster further opportunities, facilitating continued growth alongside diverse creators. I perceive myself as a neophyte. Just yesterday, a wave of self-doubt crept in, making me ponder, ‘Do I truly comprehend the art of acting? Where does one embark upon this journey anew?’ One’s merit hinges on the most recent performance. Nimrat has granted me validation within the industry that Sameera couldn’t. It offers a profound sense of affirmation as an actor.

As actors, we engage in these introspections, a discourse both with ourselves and companions. We consistently contemplate the potential—each project’s contributions, lessons imbibed, and more. The advent of the OTT boom during the pandemic precipitated shifts for me. After the triumph of ‘Broken but Beautiful,’ I adopted a discerning approach toward projects, envisioning a particular positioning. This mindset was geared toward roles as poster figures, collaborations with specific individuals, a patient anticipation for such opportunities. Yet the era of OTT unraveled, revealing how myriad characters bore the potential to shine. In cinema, the spotlight predominantly graces the ‘heroes’ and ‘heroines,’ whereas a protracted narrative magnifies the essence of every persona.

I began pondering, ‘Am I content merely being a heroine or an iconic face? Or do I aspire to be an actor? To be acknowledged for my talent rather than mere aesthetics?’ This transition materialized during the pandemic, kindling a desire to embrace the mantle of an ‘actor.’ During those moments of self-testing within my abode, a renewed exploration of acting unfolded—an exhilarating journey of discovery. Simultaneously, the script for the “Kohrra” audition reached me. Admittedly, a mélange of emotions coursed through me initially. This marked my foray into a more character-driven role. Though I didn’t occupy the realm of a poster figure, Netflix and others graciously embraced my presence. It’s not ‘my’ show in the conventional sense. As the release loomed, I pondered if my character would garner attention, if it would carve a niche. This marked my premiere endeavor presenting myself as an ‘actor,’ a deliberate pursuit of quality over quantity. My choices last year embraced a medley of projects, but this served as a personal experiment.

Could you recount the aftermath of “Broken but Beautiful”?

The masses extended boundless affection; ‘Sameera’ became my nom de guerre wherever I ventured. The adulation and love I received from them held a special place. Yet interactions with industry insiders invoked a recurrent refrain: ‘You’re an exceptional dancer, my friend.’ I contemplated a transformation. Undeniably, my prowess encompassed dance, yet my ambition expanded to encompass acting. I aspired for discussions to center around my artistic capabilities. The voyage undertaken toward this juncture proved to be remarkably enriching.

How did you navigate the apprehensions prior to “Kohrra’s” release?

My performance would have undoubtedly elicited greater apprehension had those engaged in the show’s creation not offered positive commentary. Conversations had already taken flight, underscoring the reception of my portrayal and contributions. Thus, while anxiety persisted, the prevailing sentiment underscored a resounding affirmation. Nonetheless, a niggling uncertainty lingered—would it resonate with the audience? Would they appreciate the labor invested? Would I leave an indelible impression? I vividly recall watching the series, scrutinizing my parents’ expressions, yearning for validation. Their feedback, however, wasn’t restricted to me alone. Instead, their words encompassed everyone’s efforts, a collective flourish of excellence. This was heartening, for it augments the show’s impact.

Just yesterday marked a trying day. Amidst the sea of accolades and commendations, a haunting question emerged: Would this cascade into superior opportunities? Would filmmakers of my aspiration extend their overtures? A welter of inquiries surged forth. Tears welled in my eyes, contemplating the resonance of this performance, the potential of being typecast as a mother or a Punjabi archetype. Yet one must refocus, anchoring oneself in the present moment, relishing the current accomplishments. Many covet the role I inhabit. Now, an attitude of gratitude prevails as I aim to inhabit the present. My aspirations encompass learning and evolution. Sudip sir consistently reiterated, ‘Harleen, reserve judgment until the unveiling of “Kohrra”.’ His emphasis on quality over quantity resonated profoundly. Last year, I embarked on a multifaceted journey, exploring diverse realms. With bated breath, I anticipate the opportunities post-“Kohrra.”

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