'This film will make my life'
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- Published 19.08.10
She is super hot down south, but played a demure Pakistani girl in her Bollywood debut — Lahore. And now Shraddha Das has got the big break in Madhur Bhandarkar’s latest Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji where she plays a Bengali girl... A chat with this probashi Bangali beauty...
A Madhur Bhandarkar film! Have you started shooting for it?
I just finished shooting for a Kannada film in Bangalore. I am doing films in every language possible (laughs). Yes, I had shot for two days with Madhur Sir. And now my second schedule has just started.
So how was your journey from the sets of Lahore to Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji?
I did it all on my own and I feel really proud. I have no godfather... I am not a Miss India. I would say that the only person I’ll give credit to is my own self. I have struggled really, really hard to get to this place, to get a break like this! This is a dream break. You know almost 100 girls auditioned for the role. It is a completely performance-oriented role and I suit the character perfectly. I feel really proud that I am part of this film. It’s all thanks to Madhur Sir.
How did you bag the role?
I had met him one month before the shooting of this film when I heard that auditions were on. He didn’t say anything then. But after a month I suddenly got a call — a few days before the shoot — from Bhandarkar Entertainment saying that I have been selected. This was the biggest news I could ever get.
So you just jumped at it?
Yes, I didn’t even bother to ask about my role. Come on, he’s the biggest director right now in Bollywood. Your life is made if you get a chance in his film. My role is one to die for. A day before I started shooting, I got the narration.
Is it again a non-glam role after Lahore?
There are two shades to the character. I play a radio jockey with this very funky, very hippy kind of look. She also wants to become an actress, a south Indian actress, which calls for a glamorous look. So luckily I get to show both sides.
What is your character called?
I play a Bengali girl called Gungun Sarkar. I have this typically Bengali look with kohl-lined eyes and a nose ring. Bangali Bangali touch achhe. I get to speak some Bengali in the film too.
You are cast opposite the very talented Omi ‘Chatur’ Vaidya of 3 Idiots fame...
Oh my God, he’s like too good. He has an identity of his own. Madhur Sir said that we make an excellent pairing on screen. I am sure people will love us. We have some really funny scenes together. I am extremely lucky to be cast with him. There are three parallel love stories in the film... ours is one. I’ll not reveal anything about his role vis a vis mine. All I can say is that he’s exactly the same both on-screen and off. Very cute! With him I would start laughing even before the shot and sometimes in the shot itself!
How did Madhur ‘Sir’ treat you?
Since Madhur Sir makes serious cinema people might think he’s like that. But he’s totally opposite. Every second on the sets with him is fun. His one-liners are constantly on. He’s always cracking jokes. And he cracks jokes on everybody from the spotboy to the cameraman to the actors.
He has a different method of working. You come to know why he’s such a great director only when you get to work with him. He keeps changing things till the last moment. He also enacts the scenes and shows you what to do. You just have to catch him.
What’s next after DTBHJ?
As of now just this. I am definitely looking forward to doing more in Bollywood. Since I do not have a film background I have to be extra careful while selecting films. I can’t make a mistake.
Did Lahore help your Bollywood career?
Obviously Lahore helped. Madhur Sir saw some rushes of Lahore. So, yes, it helped me a lot. But I would definitely like to give the biggest thanks to Mr Madhur Bhandarkar. This film, I know, will make my life.
Background:‘I am a Bengali, born and brought up in Mumbai. My father is in business and he hails from Purulia. My mother is a housewife. Nobody in my family is remotely related to films’
Education: She is a BMM (Bachelor of Mass Media) with a specialisation in journalism.
Film career: She has done nine Telugu films and is known as a ‘sequel queen’ in the South for acting in Arya 2, Mantra 2 and Chandramukhi 2 as the heroine. She debuted in Bollywood with Sanjay Puransingh Chauhan’s Lahore where she played a Pakistani girl named Ida.