The first turning point in life came when I started working as a banker at the age of 23. After getting a Master’s degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics, I began to work in Mumbai with Citigroup. Having actors in the family, joining films was an option but I decided to try something different first. This job taught me a lot.
Most would think that having parents who were super achievers in their fields — my father in cricket and mother in films — there would be a lot of pressure on me. But my parents instilled confidence in me for whatever I did. There was never any pressure on me to do more than what I was doing already. When I look back now, I think this has been a major turning point.
Today, I can’t even imagine doing anything other than being in front of the camera. It’s been seven years since my first Bollywood film, Dil Maange More (2004), released and it’s been a great journey. However, if I ever get tired of films I could always migrate to social work in the development sector about which I feel very strongly.
Though I don’t like playing favourites with my films, I have to say that I have a soft spot for Sudhir Mishra’s Khoya Khoya Chand (2007). The film was big turning point in my career. While shooting for it I learnt a lot of technicalities about filmmaking.
I tried something different this year with the TV show What Not To Wear-India. However, I plan to jump back right into films after this.
I’m looking forward to the upcoming release of the Canadian-American film adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s novel, Midnight’s Children. In the film, directed by Mira Nair that recently premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, I play the role of Jamila. I have also just wrapped up shooting for my next film, Airport.
(As told to Varuni Khosla)