Archie Punjabi does not eye Bollywood

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Britain-based Indian actor Archie Punjabi has not set her eyes on Bollywood, but says that she would not miss the opportunity if she gets a chance to act with someone like megastar Amitabh Bachchan.

Archie said she was fascinated by Bollywood but was at present concentrating on her career in the United Kingdom and Hollywood.

In an interview Archie told that non-resident filmmakers prefer to make films dwelling around problems of cultural integration with the country one is living in because getting finance for these films was easy and they made money, at least with the migrant population.

However, she felt the time had come to move on to other subjects instead of lingering on subjects that worked on what she called the ?cultural schizophrenia?.
Archie, who was here for the screening of her first major Hollywood film A MIGHTY HEART by Michael Winterbottom, said there was need for more family-oriented films for the migrant populations.

Archie, who had worked with Winterbottom in CODE 46, readily accepted the offer to take up the role. She was touched by the honesty of the real-life story. She and the character she portrays - Asra Nomani - had a lot in common as both kept swinging between the East and the West. Both were born in Mumbai.

Asra Nomani worked as a journalist with 'The Wall Street Journal' with Daniel Pearl, its South Asian bureau chief, and was a friend of Daniel and his wife Marianne. Daniel was kidnapped in January 2002 while he was in Pakistan to do an investigative story on shoe bomber Richard Reid. His mutilated body was found nearly six weeks later. The film is based on a book by Marianne about the investigation and the trauma she went through.

Archie says her background helped her identify with the character as each of the players stop their lives and focus on the situation in the aftermath of Pearl?s disappearance.

The actress had commenced her acting career in 1999 in EAST IS EAST starring Om Purii, and had shot into limelight with Gurinder Chaddha's BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM, and later featured THE CONSTANT GARDNER as a diplomat.

Archie, who graduated from Brunel University, West London, with a degree in management studies in 1996. A MIGHTY HEART received a standing ovation at the Cannes film festival, and Archie was awarded The Chopard Trophy for a Breakout Performance.

The Angelina Jolie-starrer, produced by Brad Pitt, has Dan Futterman as Daniel and was nominated for an Oscar. The film also stars Aly Khan, Irfaan Khan, and Pakistan?s television star Adnan Siddiqui. The film was partly shot in Pune.

Answering a question, she said she never wanted to be an actor and the chance just came her way as she was into theatre and was invited to act in EAST IS EAST.

Archie is presently acting in both film and television, which include the recent BBC television series Life On Mars. She won the Shooting Star award for her role in Yasmin in BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM at the Berlin Film Festival in 2005. She also won the Best Actress award in the same year at the Reims Film Festival.

On whether she had been affected by her own role in the film, Archie said she was in fact shocked at what Marianne and Asra must have gone through during that traumatic period, and it was therefore a very heroic story. But she admitted that each of the characters who acted were ?hugely? affected and were often in tears.

It was also interesting how people of different backgrounds came together during a crisis to tackle an issue, she added.

Asked if changes had been made in the original story, she said the only difference was that six weeks had been condensed to just two hours. She added that Marianne had approved of the film. The film has a strong message and is the story of an incredible woman, she added.