US born and bred Monica Dogra, who makes her debut with Aamir's upcoming film DHOBI GHAT, is well updated about Bollywood. She says she is a big fan of Aamir Khan and his movies.
'Of course I aware about Bollywood happenings. I am a big fan of Aamir. And I have watched many of his films, if not all, starting from QSQT to TAARE ZAMEEN PAR.'
Monica may be new face in Bollywood. But she is a well-known name in singing world. She is lead singer of popular band called Shaa'ir + Func.
'I am part of a band called Shaa'ir + Func. I grew up in US and then came to Mumbai 5 years ago. Since then I have released three albums with my band. I studied music, dance, drama, acting at NYU. I also write my songs, my poetry,' says the pretty lady.
Monica is among those few lucky newcomers, who get a chance to share the screen space with superstar Aamir Khan in the first film itself.
Monica shares her excitement and first reaction saying, 'I was floored and barely believed it to be real. At the same time, I also felt the need to prepare myself to deal with whatever was to come. I got the opportunity to work with him in a phase of my life where I was finally feeling very confident about my ability and good about my career and music and wanting to expand and reach out to more people.'
CHECK OUT: I have surprised myself with DHOBI GHAT
Everyone's aware about perfectionist Aamir Khan's style of working, yet Monica never carried any preconceived notions about the star, 'No I didn't have any preconceived notions about Aamir Khan. I just expected him to be much more of a star but he is not. He is really down to earth and treats everybody equal. He is a smart actor who knows when something is good and when something is bad. The same way you would trust an Ustaad in music, Aamir is like an Ustaad of films.'
Being with a powerhouse of talent like Aamir Khan you are bound to get inspired. And Monica Dogra is no exception.
'I learnt never to compromise, never to stop learning. Even now you go and observe him, he's still reading books, he's studying Marathi language. I really admire this quality of his and I'd like to have the same within me to always be learning and growing,' Monica admits.
Though acting and drama was part of her curriculum, becoming an actress was never on the mind of this leggy lass. 'I never thought I would foray into Bollywood. But then again a film like DHOBI GHAT is not your typical bollywood film. So for me it made sense that I would do a film like this one. It fits into my idea of work, my goals and work that I want to be doing. DHOBI GHAT 100% is part of that movement for me,' Monica reveals.
Monica, who plays the character of confident, young, dreamy, ambitious girl Shai in DHOBI GHAT, is very much like her. She opens up, 'I am very curious and adventurous person. I enjoy being in difficult situations. Like my character in the film, even I am fond of photography. The big thing I share with Shai is that I don't stick to a systematic way of being or kind of social conduct. I make my own rules and Shai is also someone who follows her heart.'
CHECK OUT: Despite Aamir's presence, I was treated no lesser
There's huge buzz about Monica & Aamir's intimate scenes in DHOBI GHAT. Didn't she get cold feet shooting such scenes given the fact that Aamir's wife Kiran was handling the entire thing? To which Monica replies, 'Yes, initially I was obviously nervous being directed by Aamir's wife, having to shoot these scenes with Aamir,' She smiles, 'But as soon as I stepped in the room both Aamir and Kiran made me comfortable. They are so secure in their own relationship with one another and share a solid bond of love. We really had good time and lot of fun getting to know one another. So it was fine.'
Further she also praises debutante director Kiran Rao and her style of working. 'Kiran is very sharp and intelligent woman. She knows exactly what she wants, which makes her neither strict nor easy going. She treated me very well. She was warm and welcoming. She was even open to every suggestions and opinions of mine,' Monica adds.
Besides Aamir Khan, Monica also shares screen space with JAANE TU fame Prateik Babbar. And Monica is quite upbeat about Prateik's future in Bollywood.
'Prateik is a fantastic actor. I think he will long way and make a mark in the industry. Working with him was lot of fun as he and I are very good friends,' signs off Monica.