Every evening, when my parents would come back from work, I used to sing and dance to entertain them in my own little way as a child. Little did I know then that my fascination for the performing arts would land me in Hollywood,
says a delighted Elisha Kriis, an actor in Hollywood motion films with roots in Vadodara, Gujarat.
She has recently acted in a movie based on Human Trafficking. Produced by Nancy Becker and written and directed by Chuck Walker, former middleweight Olympic boxer, the film titled ‘BorderCross’ stars Elisha who shares screen space with Hollywood veterans Lorenzo Lamas and Danny Trejo in the sensitive movie.
It has been filmed at multiple locations in Texas, a state which reports high number of trafficking crimes.According to reports there are more than 35 million people enslaved in human trafficking there. And the worst part is that it includes a fair number of child trafficking, sex trafficking and modern day slavery instances.
“I took it up the moment it was offered to me. Having always aspired to work on projects which entertain alongside educate the masses, I thought this would be the best choice to fight injustice in society. I strongly feel that social subjects like these need stronger action and a lot more awareness needs to go into it,” says Elisha.
The fairytale story of Elisha
Born to parents who were judges, Elisha grew up mostly in Vadodara. It was her mother who inspired her the most, given that she started by working on a farmland.
Not only did she work hard and educate herself, she ensured that both me and my elder sister attended English medium schools. That one decision certainly has helped me in a great way to reach where I am today.
Elisha’s interest in the performing arts was highly appreciated and she grew up believing that she could become anything if she worked hard at it. Education and honesty in character were stressed upon right through her childhood and Elisha got her basics right.
A film buff, Elisha liked reading books too from a young age. Books by Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, Deepak Chopra were her favourites, from where she drew a lot of inspiration.
A BBA degree holder from Maharaja Sayajirao University of Vadodara, she started winning a host of
beauty competitions at the college, city and state level. That was the time she also started to host corporate shows to develop confidence in public speaking.
“It was my mother who had promised to let me pursue a career in films if I completed my graduation with a distinction. And it happened,” she says remembering the day she announced to her parents about her plan to shift base to Mumbai to pursue a career in films and television.
Though they were not too convinced, Elisha’s parents allowed her to chase her dreams. Once in Mumbai, she enrolled in a diploma course in Acting and filmmaking. Four months down the line, she got her first break – to host a show for India’s first international travel channel, Travelxp.
She started travelling and filming around the world for the shows, enjoying every bit of it. She did this for almost three years and filmed in many countries across Europe, South East Asia and some parts of the Middle East. She would utilize her free time to give auditions for films. In 2013 Elisha appeared in Hindi films such as Wake up India, Zanjeer along with an adventure sports show on NDTV Good Times.
In 2013, having networked in Mumbai for some time, she took the plunge and moved to Los Angeles.
Here I had the freedom to not only work as an actress but also to be able to create projects that I believed in. By participating in film conferences I met legendary film makers and film producers who shared the same vision. Later that year I launched a film production company by the name Tigress Pictures to focus on making inspirational women-centric films,
says Elisha. As on date, they have a number of projects lined up to be shot over a period of three years.
It was while doing her travel shows that Elisha was inclined towards working on an international platform.
Learning lessons in Mumbai
Elisha’s encounter with poverty, slums and underprivileged kids trying to get an education changed her life.
It changed my perspective altogether. I knew I wanted to do inspirational films which would revolve around social subjects. One of my all time favourite movies is ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’, which I have watched several times. Books and movies have clearly changed my life. I understand that these are powerful mediums – which leave a strong imprint on young minds. I understood that I wanted to be a responsible entertainer on a global platform,
Elisha’s future projects
Elisha is currently working on quite a few projects. One is titled ‘Skate God’ which is an unconventional film set in the future where skateboarding is shown as an act of survival. It is written by Alexander Garcia, a former skateboarder inducted into the freestyle skateboarding Hall of Fame in 2008.
Another film on which she is working is written and directed by Chuck Walker and is tentatively titled, ‘Treasure Within’. It is a film based on the adventurous search of the Jesse James Treasure.
Then there is something closer to Elisha’s heart – a colourful love story set in the Indian backdrop showcasing the passion for soccer.
“I truly am in the middle of an extremely exciting time in my career right now, hope things fall in place and I am able to do my part in raising awareness about social subjects,” she signs off.