Gambian Actress Pursues Her Dreams in Bollywood

Kaddy Trawally, a talented Gambian actress

By: Alieu Ceesay

Kaddy Trawally, a talented Gambian actress, has finally achieved her lifelong dream of breaking into the Bollywood movie industry. She was inspired by renowned Nigerian actress Mercy Johnson and worked tirelessly to hone her craft.

“I have a passion for acting, so growing up, I also saw myself watching Nollywood movies. I dreamed of someday going to Nigeria to join the Nollywood movie industry. I used to try to imitate my favorite Nollywood actress, Mercy Johnson, and act out her characters in the movies I watched. Acting has been everything since I was a child, and I used to participate in school dramas. So when I came to India, I realized I could still pursue my chance in acting, so I just went for it without thinking twice,” said Trawally.

Her journey into the Bollywood movie industry began in 2015 when a friend introduced her to it. At first, she was a background artist, but she had the opportunity to learn from established actors.

One of her biggest challenges is cultural diversity, as movie directors sometimes prefer someone knowledgeable about Indian culture for specific roles. Being Gambian with little adaptation to Indian culture has disrupted her movie career. Still, she keeps pushing harder and hopes to bring an African flair to Bollywood if given the chance.

Bollywood, the second-largest film industry globally after Hollywood, was the setting for Trawally’s joyful experiences.

“One of my best memories was 2018 when I traveled to Rajasthan, the northwestern part of India, with actors from countries like Africa, Russia, and America. We were shooting in a desert, and it was very cool. We shot during the night, and the environment was very nice. At night, we enjoyed some Indian cultural performances in the hotel. It was the best memory for me,” she reminisced.

She advised aspiring actresses to act for passion, not for money. In the long term, she aims to open an academy to nurture young stars in acting and dancing.

“I will use the knowledge and experience I have gained in Bollywood to start a dance or acting school, to provide a platform for young Gambians who want to follow in my footsteps and help improve the Gambian movie industry,” she told TAT.

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