‘ I don’t want to be called a Bollywood actress’
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No family support
Initially when I said I want to become an actress the reaction of my family was like ‘heroine banegi…kya karegi’. They didn’t encourage me. But I was determined and came to Mumbai to pursue my dreams. We people come from Middle class family with no godfather; no backing from family so we have to work on our own merit.
I have even travelled in local trains…gone to office, chased celebrities for interviews. Quite surprisingly I used to write for a magazine and was asked to interview actor Abhay Deol for his film AHISTA AHISTA. I remember calling him up some 17-18 times for one shoot but somehow things didn’t work out. Interestingly, after 1 and half years I was acting alongside him in the film OYE LUCKY LUCKY OYE…So now when I look back it feels an interesting journey.
Changing times and access to the industry
My break in the industry was very easy. I didn’t even have to struggle. Times have changes and the industry is easily accessible. Star kids may get films easily but now newcomers/ outsiders like us are no more parayas. If you have talent you can definitely stand out. You don’t have to sleep with people or have a Godfather. With mentors like Anurag and Dibakar you get true guidance. These are the people who believe in newcomers and believe in talent. Anurag and Dibakar understand newcomers plight as they have had a long struggle and even they were once outsiders. So, these people understand the pain of being an outsider very well. And they only encourage you.
Barely two films old and Cannes calling
Cannes was a beautiful experience. We are still getting it. For a newcomer to get ready and walk the red/green carpet with biggies around obviously it is unbelievable. I am very lucky that my first film as main lead went to Cannes and got appreciated.
Bollywood an imaginary landscape
What is Bollywood? When we go to LA and see a board ‘Hollywood’ and that is a place basically. We are taking off from there and calling it Bollywood. But Bollywood is an imaginary landscape. We are working in the Hindi film industry. I don’t mean to challenge Bollywood I love it but I don’t think that we should derive a name just because there is a Hollywood.
Objection on being termed Bollywood actress
I don’t like to be called as Bollywood actress but I would like to be called as Indian film actress or Hindi film actress. Tomorrow when I do Bengali, Marathi, Tamil,… cinema I think Indian film actress is enough than being termed as Bollywood actress.
Bollywood v/s Hollywood
We are the only industry in the world which has guts to stand up to Hollywood. Europe Cinema is suffering. Japan and other places everywhere Cinema has taken a huge hit because of Hollywood. And Hollywood is America’s largest export to the world. So I feel very proud to belong to the industry which has guts to stand against an expensive or big-budgeted Hollywood film…Like if our ROWDY RATHORE and their AVENGERS come together, then also there is no comparison. ROWDY RATHORE will still do well. We are in a very good place.
The long gap (near about 4 years) between OYE LUCKY LUCKY OYE and GANGS OF WASSEYPUR
I kept getting same kind of roles – on the lines of what I did in my first film. So I had to reject them. In fact, I rejected some cream projects, big banners just because the role was not satisfactory or had nothing new to offer. But I had the guts to say no that I don’t want to do the same thing again. I didn’t want to be the second lead all my life or get stereotyped. Further I wanted to know what all my range and potential was.
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n the middle, it also happened because of recession some of my films were shelved. So, I kept doing plays. I did a play for Thespo where I got the best actress nomination. I did a play called Kennedy bridge and carried the entire play on my shoulders. I also met many actors like Kalki, Gulshan Deviah, I became friends with Ranveer Singh, who later got a big break in YRF film during that period. So it was a very good time for me because I was learning every day, meeting interesting people, doing lots of work. One may feel I had a long gap since my next film came after 4 years but the truth is I have been working on WASSEYPUR since August 2010 as it is made on huge scale.
Reservations and Limitations as an actor
My limitation is not as an actor but as a person. The thing is I am very straight forward kind of a person. If I don’t get along with somebody then I have trouble working with them. So, when Manoj pulled a prank on the sets, I literally moved to tears. I didn’t know Manoj, Nawaz, Rimmi were all playing a prank on me. I really felt bad and that day I gave my worst. Even they realized ki iska mood kharab hota hai toh kaam kharab hota hai. So I think that’s my biggest limitation. I think actors should have confidence about their performance irrespective of the fact if someone is friends with you or not.
I believe an actor should be like water which can accommodate anyhow. An actor should concentrate on acting and not think about the kissing or steamy scenes. Moreover, times have changed so they are part and parcel of films now. As long as they are aesthetically done I have no problem. The minute I feel they are done only for titillation, I will just say no.
Bagging two International projects at Cannes
These are cross-over films, Cannes gift to me. One is the film based out of Berlin and the other one based out of France. Talks are still on as it involves nudity and I have issues with it. I want to read the script properly and then decide.
Projects in hometown
I have film called TAMANCHEY with Nikhil Dwivedi wherein I play a bad girl. After playing de-glam roles in two films I will be seen in a glamourous avatar in this film. Besides, talks are on about a big budgeted & big banner film.
Dont want to be props in films
I am looking for a film with which I can make a difference because I don’t think I can be a prop in films just do dance and singing or stand in one corner doing nothing. I look for performance and meaty roles. I want to be remembered.