'A Story That Has Roots In South Asia': Pallavi Sharda Gets Behind The Mic For New Sleep Story Podcast

The actor deviates from the screen to host Audible's new 'Sleep Sound with Pallavi Sharda' podcast.

Pallavi Sharda hosts Audible's Sleep Sound with Pallavi Sharda podcast

Image Source: Supplied/Audible

With over a decade of experience in acting, Pallavi Sharda is known to her legion of fans for an impressive showreel of film and TV projects. But the Indian Australian actor has deviated from the screen for her latest performance, relying on just her voice to take audiences on an inspiring and soothing journey in a new podcast

Teaming up with Audible, Sharda is the voice behind Sleep Sound with Pallavi Sharda, where she narrates a magical ‘Sleeping Beauty’ story, the Tale of Princess Aubergine. It’s meant to be a relaxing, meditative, and immersive experience to essentially help you fall asleep. 

Sharda admits that she loves sleep, but doesn’t always get enough of it. “But I know how important it is for us to live our waking lives with laughter and positivity,” she tells Draw Your Box, explaining that this podcast aligns with her values and rituals around relaxation.  

“I am a big fan of Yoga Nidra which comes from the Vedic Yoga tradition (anything that relaxes your nervous system is magic) which I guess you could simplify as being a similar concept to a sleep story... and so I thought there was a way to channel a practice I enjoy through the more western paradigm of a ’sleep story’,” she explains. 

Pallavi Sharda hosts Audible's Sleep Sound with Pallavi Sharda podcast

Pallavi Sharda. Image Source: Supplied/Audible

Listeners are transported to India as they hear this Indian folktale that originates from the Punjab region. The cultural connection is not lost on the actor, who says “it was of course so special to be reading a story that has roots in South Asia”.

“Often we think of Indian stories in terms of Hindu mythology and it was refreshing to move from that into a world of magical realism (like a conventional western fairytale) and for it to be rooted in a Punjabi folk story,” she reflects.

“Punjab is the region of South Asia that my paternal ancestors come from, and so it felt extra special to nod to that part of my heritage. Based on my research on the story, it is a folktale which had already travelled over centuries in the region from Egypt and Persia – and now it is all the way in Australia!” 

Whether it’s her early days in Bollywood, her Netflix debut in Wedding Season, or her TV roles in Beecham House or The Twelve, Sharda’s success has been symbolic of the rise of more South Asian Australian women in entertainment. Representation is arguably a recent buzzword in tinsel town, but Sharda’s been advocating for more cultural diversity in front and behind the cameras for years – and frankly, she’s only just getting started. While her job naturally takes her around the world, she now sees herself being based in Australia, which she predicts is on the verge of great change. 

“I have spent my early adult life advocating for cultural representation on screen and I feel we are at an inflexion point where this is meaningfully possible,” she says.

“I plan to be here for it! I am passionately Aussie-Indian and it’s incredibly grounding to see a generation and community finally get a voice in the arts. I would love to make as useful a contribution as I can. Needless to say, my company Bodhini Studios is gearing up to get our slate to screen in this regard.” 

Pallavi Sharda

Pallavi Sharda. Image Source: Supplied

Whether it’s audio or visual, Sharda believes various platforms provide an opportunity for diverse storytelling, and that the next generation of entertainers have a chance to utilise these mediums for good. While she had felt the need to leave Australia and move to India years ago in order to successfully launch her acting career, Sharda believes up and coming talent may not need to go to such lengths.

“The advice I have now is simply that the ceilings really have come crashing down,” she says. “In the past, working hard and having endurance wasn’t enough, because the system was designed to discriminate. Now we have systems where there is positive action being put in place to ensure opportunities are equitable.”

As a trained Bharatanatyam dancer herself, Sharda also highlights the significance of young artists embracing their cultural heritage that is steeped in traditions of dance, music and creative storytelling. 

“As a community, we also come from a rich tradition of performing arts. Sometimes it is easy to see that as archaic or perfunctory or unfashionable – but the preservation of these traditions, sounds, languages and modes of communication are what will enrich our future storytelling legacy,” she says. “So basically: don’t forget where you come from and don’t be afraid to express your inspiration.” 

The Audible Original podcast, Sleep Sound with Pallavi Sharda, is available from 12 March and can be found at audible.com.au.

Pallavi Sharda hosts Audible's Sleep Sound with Pallavi Sharda podcast

Image Source: Audible

For more of the must-read news stories about South Asians, subscribe to Draw Your Box's newsletter here