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Giselli aaj, Harleen kal

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By Love Aaj Kal's beautiful Punjabi kudi Harleen Kaur is, in fact, not Indian at all. Meet the Brazilian bombshell PRATIM D. GUPTA
  • Published 12.08.09
Giselli Monteiro

Who’s that girl? That’s all people have been asking after coming out of a screening of Love Aaj Kal. No, they know how Deepika Padukone looks. It’s Saif Ali Khan’s other heroine in the film; Saif the Sardar’s Harleen Kaur, who comes out of the balcony in Lake Market very much like Juliet.

And there’s a reason why the makers of the film including director Imtiaz Ali kept mum about the actress playing Harleen. Well, she’s a Brazilian model named Giselli Monteiro! “Yes, we didn’t want to freak out people by saying that a Brazilian girl is playing a Punjabi kudi in the film,” smiles Imtiaz.

Now that the film is a huge hit, Imtiaz and company have no qualms in admitting that the bewitching face is that of Giselli, who had come to the audition for the role of Joe, the Swiss girl Saif falls for after Deepika goes to Delhi.

“I was quite surprised when they offered me the role of the Indian girl,” Giselli tells t2. “Not only because it was the role of an Indian girl. That’s okay, because a lot of people have told me that I look Indian. Even my daddy used to call me Indian. But what was more surprising was that I got such a big role in my first film. It was a big responsibility.”

The 20-year-old hottie comes from a place called Espirito Santo near Rio De Janeiro. Giselli had come to India at the beginning of last year strictly for modelling. “I met (stylist) Anaita Shroff Adajania who spoke to Imtiaz about me. So they wanted me to audition for the foreigner’s role. But then they changed their mind.”

Giselli as Harleen Kaur in Love Aaj Kal

It was Imtiaz’s wife who imagined Giselli as the docile Harleen Kaur, Veer Singh’s love interest of the 1960s. “Because she didn’t have a lot of dialogues in the film, we thought it could just work out,” says Imtiaz.

But even those few dialogues weren’t easy to handle. While someone else dubbed for Giselli, she had to lipsync those Hindi lines. “It was quite difficult,” she says. “I tried to memorise everything. I recorded the dialogues in a recorder and listened to them a thousand times because my lips had to move properly.”

Giselli had a lot of help from her co-actor and producer Saif Ali Khan. “He was very nice. Just looking at his expressions, I was able to react. Since I couldn’t speak much, I just went by his expressions. He was very helpful.”

Love Aaj Kal brought Giselli to Calcutta, because Veer follows Harleen to this city. “It was raining a lot in Calcutta when we went to shoot there. We shot for four-five days there and I found it to be a very warm city.”

A mix of modelling and movies is what Giselli is looking forward to in Mumbai. “I am very surprised with the way the Indian people have welcomed me in their country. I am getting such good vibes from everybody. I want to stay here.”

We don’t mind at all!