Avani Modi: CALENDAR GIRLS is not just about glamour and beautiful long bikini legs

Avani Modi: CALENDAR GIRLS is not just about glamour and beautiful long bikini legs news
Shaheen Irani By Shaheen Irani | 26 Sep 2015 13:14:18.3570000 IST

Like we promised you yesterday, you get to witness the second part of our exclusive interview with CALENDAR GIRLS debutante Avani Modi. In this part of the interview, Avani tells us about the atmosphere on sets, preparing for her role, how she felt working with Madhur Bhandarkar and the other girls, her dreams and much more.

Here are the excerpts:


Since you had to work with a lot of girls, what was the atmosphere like? Was there friendship/rivalry/catfights?

No not catfights or anything. But ek hota hai na ki jab paanch ladkiyan ikkathi hoti hai tab poori panchayat aa jaati hai. So the entire set was full of gossip, masti and our producer is also a lady. So it was a complete package-like of girls. So yeah, from food to shopping, nail paint to national activities, all of that we would discuss. We loved to do all this and bit*hing about others. Everyday when we met we pull each other’s legs. So we had bonding and all five of us are very good friends. There was no rivalry or any catfights on sets, but we five used to say ki Madhur Bhandarkar ke hum paanch (female) pandav hai. Aur Mahabharat ke liye taiyyar hai hum.

How many bikinis did you wear for the movie?

There is one song where all the girls are wearing a bikini. So there are 3-4 changes of bikini in this film. Actually, CALENDAR GIRLS is more about emotions than the content. It’s not just about glamour and beautiful long bikini legs. There is a sequence where I have worn a bikini.

Did you have a tough time preparing for your role?

Yes we were given workshop for 15 days. So we had enough time to prepare for our role, scene, dance and everything. And CALENDAR GIRLS was not shot in one schedule. We had shot for 54 days, and it was planned. We shot for almost 8-10 months for this film.

How confident are you about the movie?

'Bollywood is always a priority for me, but I won’t stop working down south.'

I’m very confident as an actor. I’m not saying that my film will be a 100-crore blockbuster, because that’s destiny and I can’t predict it. But when you see the film, there is a social message, because of which the audiences might come. They can’t reject the film as nonsense or bullshit. Whether you like it or not is your choice, but you can’t ignore this film. And I’m confident because I’ve worked hard. I’m sure the industry will accept me as a good actress after the release.

Since you have made your debut with newcomers, do you think it will further be difficult for you to work with experienced actors?

Everybody’s a newcomer in the first film. So that should not be the criteria. I don’t know what will happen in my next film. But if I work with any bigger star in the future, I won’t be star struck because I’m not that kind of person. The second thing is I’ve worked in CALENDAR GIRLS and I’ve already done two films down south so I’m not shy and my confidence as an actress has gained. So you put me in front of any senior or finest actors of our industry, I can act as confidently as I am today.

So don’t you feel any pressure because Madhur Bhandarkar has already cast known names like Priyanka Chopra in FASHION, Kareena Kapoor Khan in HEROINE and Konkana Sen Sharma in PAGE 3?

There was pressure before I signed CALENDAR GIRLS. That’s because there was one month gap between me signing the film and starting the shoot. I felt the pressure of whether I would be able to reach his expectations or not at that time, because he has already launched big stars by then. And he is already a National Award Winner, not once, but he has won it four times. So I was in that pressure, but when I started shooting with Madhur ji, then he said that he is more comfortable working with newcomers. He himself says that working with newcomers is the best thing to do, because when you work with stars, then they come with their baggage. And newcomers are like a blank slate – you can portray whatever you want. His confidence made me more strong and confident. I met him two days before the shoot and told him, “Sir, bahut darr lag raha hai (I am very scared),” and he said, “Tension mat le. Main tujhpe tere se zyaada confident hoon (I am more confident about you than you are about yourself). Main tere se kaam nikalwa loonga ( I will make you work). So after hearing his views on me, I was very confident and all my nervousness was gone”.

Which actors and directors would you want to work with?

Every director. I’m a pakka Bollywood filmy maniac. So I want to work with every possible director. Late. Mr. Raj Kapoor was my idol. I want to explore myself as much as I can as an actress so I want to work with all kind of filmmakers who are best in their genre - from romance to suspense to thriller to costume drama and everything.


Who is your role model?

I don’t see any actor or actress as a role model, but in another term you can say Mr. Narendra Modi is my role model, not because he is the Prime Minister and we share the same surname, but because the way he has taken challenges in his life – from nowhere to everywhere. I just admire the way he has built his image, the hard work he has done for years, is not just five years. It’s more than 30 to 40 years of hard work behind the success. So I like his dedication, hard work, intelligence. I admire his overall personality, that if you have guts and vision then nothing is impossible for you to achieve in this world. This is his motto of life which I admire the most and inspires me a lot. If a boy working in a tea shop can become PM, then anybody can achieve what they want to achieve in life.


Any future plans to work in Bollywood? Have you been approached for any role?

Yes there are films, and I have been approached and I’m trying, but I’m not allowed to reveal anything as of now. So you just wait for some time, we’ll talk on it again soon!

Would you prefer working in movies down south than Bollywood or would you juggle between both?

Bollywood is always a priority for me, but I won’t stop working down south, because it’s an equally important industry and if I’m getting really good work, then why should I stop working there?

'I have my own father who is bigger than God for me.'

And if you get Hollywood then will you juggle between the three?

Why not? You ask any actor if they are open for Hollywood, nobody will say no.

Salman Khan is known to be the godfather in Bollywood. Did you approach him? Since he has already launched so many debutants.

Do you think that Salman Khan will ever approach me as a godfather? No I haven’t approached him to be my godfather. I have not met him personally yet. Yeah of course it’s very important to have a godfather in the industry, but it’s not the only thing. There are many other actors who didn’t have a godfather and yet they have made it big. I have my own father who is bigger than God for me. So yeah, I’m happy with him.

Do you think CALENDAR GIRLS is a very performance-oriented film?

Yes, it’s a performance-oriented role. So I’m lucky enough to get this in my debut film. And of course, which actress doesn’t want to be a part of female-centric cinema? Because that proves you as a successful actress and a mature person. Of course I want to be in that space sooner or later, but that’s not in my hands. But to do a commercial film with a leading actor is also equally important. If you are a part of that cinema, then only you get hard-hitting roles and female-centric cinema accepts you in the league of solo heroine or with big actors. Otherwise that category comes in typical art films.

Do you plan to do such art films?

Of course. I want to work with such directors - be it Deepa Mehta or Mira Nair, who have started a trend of parallel cinema in the society. I want to give it a try.