She's a bird

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By TT Bureau
  • Published 6.09.08

First film opposite Farhan Akhtar. How many rounds did you make for that?

Oh, I wouldn’t call it my first film! It is more like a special appearance. I actually didn’t make any rounds or calls for the film, Abhishek (Kapoor, the director) called me up and said they had me in mind for a role in Rock On!!. Apparently he saw me in one of my commercials and liked me in it. I went to meet him, did some lines with him and that was it! I was signed up to play Tanya, Farhan Akhtar’s girlfriend. The first time I did the lines I was stuttering! It took me a while to get a hang of it, especially since I am not from a filmi background and all…

You had a decent role. Why would you say it’s a special appearance?

Yes, it turned out to be a decent role and people are actually leaving the theatre with an opinion about Tanya even though it’s quite a small part. Everyone is raving about the film. All the people I have met have promised me that they will watch the movie again. The film is doing so well, so that’s good for me.

As for my role, it started out as a special appearance and usually these appearances are quite blink-and-miss so even I was surprised to see so much of myself in the film! They have used a lot of close-ups so I am quite happy. So, this was the special appearance. The real launch will happen soon. This film was like a trial for me. I will watch myself on screen and figure out what and where I have gone wrong.

So when is your ‘real’ debut?

Well, I can’t discuss it now. All I can say is that I will be shooting for it in Calcutta later this month. The director is Bengali and he is from Calcutta but he has now moved to Mumbai. (The girl from Park Circus just laughed when quizzed about the who, why, what.)

Why did you want to become an actress?

Because I thought I would be able to chill. Work when I want to, chill when I want to.

An actress who chills!

I can see that chilling is not going to happen! I am so busy till next April I have no time for anything but work. Just looking at my schedule is tiring me.

Do you get mobbed these days?

No! No one recognises me since in real life I am quite a dehaat! I am a different person with make-up. Honestly, I am quite happy about this because my privacy can be maintained.

How was it working with Farhan?

He is such a funny person. His sense of humour kills! He made me feel very comfortable during the shots. My first few lines were with him and I had never been more nervous in my life. It was the first time I was doing dialogues. Farhan made me feel very comfortable during the filming. He used to take me to the side and rehearse my lines with me… Even he has really worked hard for the film.

Does Farhan the director come in the way of Farhan the actor?

Not at all. He is not interfering at all. He respects all the people on set and is very helpful to his co-stars. He always gives advice and inputs but never pushes anyone.

Your look in film is quite you — sporty chic…

Yes, since I play a photographer and a rockstar’s girl, I have a cool look. Niharika Khan, the costume designer of the film, had a very defined look for Tanya. Plus, Jason, my director of photography has really captured me well, so I look even better.

What did your parents say about the film?

My parents haven’t seen it because my mother is not in town and my dad is waiting for her so that they can watch it together. My younger sister Edwina has seen it and loves it! She is very busy promoting my film amongst her friends these days! My mother is my biggest critic so I am really waiting for her feedback. She always tells me what I need to work on and what is good.

Do you miss your modelling days?

Actually in a way I am still modelling. I am doing endorsements and commercials. I have just renewed my Garnier contract for five years.

Nicolette (extreme right) after winning the title of Sananda Tilottama, second runner-up. A Telegraph picture

And will you do more music videos?

If I get a good music video, then I will do it. The song has to be catchy and the video has to do good things for me. I am open to do anything that makes me happy and dancing makes me very happy. I will be very careful though because the Nisha... video went wrong. It looked raunchy. And raunchy is not me at all. I am far from raunchy.

Finally, how has Mumbai changed the Calcutta girl?

On one level, I have not changed at all in the last four years. But on another level, I have to say I have grown up. In Mumbai, you have to be smart.


Favourite scene from Rock On!!
There are two. As an actor, it was the emotional scene when I break down after Farhan leaves me. From the fun point of view, it was the lake scene. We had such a blast! Even we were thrown into the lake but that part was edited.

Scene that had room for improvement
The party scene towards the end could be better.

Favourite Calcutta memory
Oh no! There are so many. It’s my home.

Food you miss in Mumbai
Chicken biryani from Zeeshan, rosogolla, phuchkas. In Mumbai you get pani puri and that is shit!

Who would you like to work with?
Everyone! Right now Bollywood is brimming with super talent.

Shradha Agarwal

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