Did you know Pragya Jaiswal ditched a carrier in law to pursue acting? Today, the actor predominantly works in Telugu films and even bagged a Filmfare Award for her debut. Beyond the big screen, the fashionista wanders around the world giving her fans a glimpse of her Insta-perfect travels. Back from her European tour, the star talks to Travel + Leisure India & South Asia to relive the heartwarming moments in Switzerland, streets of Paris, and more. By Srushti Kulkarni
Excerpts from the interview with Pragya Jaiswal:
T+L India: How did you foray into acting?
Pragya Jaiswal: During my college days, I used to be a part of a dance troupe. Dancing made me really happy! It helped me break the monotony of my routine life. I could express different emotions when I danced and through dancing, I realised I had a passion for acting. That’s when I decided to pursue acting.
T+L India: How do you tackle the pressures of your work?
Pragya Jaiswal: Stress and pressure exist in every industry today. You must keep a positive attitude and believe in yourself while you work hard. Personally, a good workout or yoga session, dance, or any physical activity in the day helps me distress.
T+L India: Do you enjoy travelling?
Pragya Jaiswal: I am lucky to be a part an industry where I get to travel extensively. Our field of work requires us to travel every other day. We shoot in different cities, countries and in some of the most scenic locations. I am glad that I get to do what I love and I try to make the most of it.
T+L India: How does travel inspire you as an artist?
Pragya Jaiswal: As an artist, we are always stepping into others’ shoes. We play different people and different characters on-screen. Travelling is a beautiful way to observe and learn about different cultures and different people, and how they live and conduct themselves. This helps me imbibe different things as an actor. Travel gives me a different perspective and makes my job as an actor easier.
T+L India: Tell us a bit about your time in Pune.
Pragya Jaiswal: I studied law in Pune. Law school was definitely life-changing as I had several realisations at the time. As part of the dance troupe, I realised I was passionate about acting and modelling as well. I realised that I can pursue them as full-time jobs. I think it was amazing how Pune broadened my horizons. I realised that I don’t want to do this [law] for the rest of my life; I am made for something else.
T+L India: What were your favourite go-to spots while growing up?
Pragya Jaiswal: I grew up studying in a boarding school. Whenever I would come home for my vacations, it felt like a celebration. We used to visit the Kanha National Park (Madhya Pradesh)for safaris to celebrate special occasions. Those frequent visits to the national park are some of my closest memories from my hometown.
Another spot in my hometown was a hill we used to trek. We usually ventured up the hill during sunsets.
T+L India: You recently went on a trip to Spain. What did you enjoy the most over there?
Pragya Jaiswal: There is so much to do in Spain! We stayed in Spain for about 11 days. I loved the energy! We kickstarted our trip from Madrid and wrapped up in Barcelona. We explored some interesting places to eat; Spain has amazing food! We enjoyed being in awe of their architecture. Every city in Spain has its own unique vibe. At the time, the streets of Madrid were buzzing with processions as Real Madrid had won a [football] match. The country is studded with some beautiful beaches as well.
T+L India: What are the must-visit places in Spain that you would recommend?
Pragya Jaiswal: People just stick to exploring Madrid and Barcelona. There are several smaller towns with pretty gardens, which are stunning. We visited Toledo and Cordoba, which were extremely beautiful and well-maintained.
T+L India: Having recently visited Paris, are there any shopping destinations in Paris that you would want to go back to?
Pragya Jaiswal: Yes, Paris is definitely the fashion capital of the world. The kind of stores that you see there is just something else. The last time I was in Paris, I explored street fashion brands that were more casual. During this visit, I went to Rue de Rivoli
and explored Champs-Élysées and Avenue Montaigne. It was a different experience altogether! The stores there were unreal. I would definitely love to revisit Champs-Élysées and Avenue Montaigne again.
T+L India: Your favourite holiday destination that you keep going back to?
Pragya Jaiswal: My favourite holiday destination has to be Bali. Bali has a great mix of everything—great food, great places to hangout and amazing nightlife. If you are inclined towards yoga and meditation or serene scenic trips, there’s Ubud and Seminyak. I have not visited Bali too many times, but I would definitely go there again.
T+L India: What are some of your go-to dishes?
Pragya Jaiswal: I am a big fan of Hyderabadi food! I am obsessed with Hyderabadi biryani which comes with mirchi masala and raita. It’s yum! I am also fond of haleem; it’s fabulous! It’s impossible to find the kind of biryani and haleem that we get in Hyderabad anywhere else.
T+L India: At T+L India, it’s all about places and people. Did you feel a personal connection with the people of any particular place?
Pragya Jaiswal: I also visited Switzerland and Switzerland—being the most beautiful place on Earth—felt like paradise. My family and I had just arrived in Switzerland. We were carrying a lot of luggage and had to change trains, which seemed impossible at the time. My sister and I almost gave up, but random strangers came to our rescue. They helped us with our bags and helped my parents too! It was a very heartwarming and touching experience to see complete strangers helping us. Switzerland is very close to my heart—not just for its beauty, but for its people too.
Related: Going Places With People: Actor Aisha Sharma Gives A Glimpse Of The Parisian Life