Bollywood dreams

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By PRATYUSH PATRA
  • Published 8.05.14
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Pallavi Sharda with Ranbir Kapoor in a song sequence from Besharam.

Brought up in Australia, Pallavi Sharda surprisingly speaks unaccented Hindi and English and would love to learn Odissi. The ‘Besharam’ girl was in Bhubaneswar to attend a promotional event organised by Veggie Kart, an initiative by eKutir Rural Management Services Pvt. Ltd and MGM Agri-ventures. t2 caught up with the gorgeous actress, who shared how she’s living her childhood dream in Bollywood.

You had a long chat with the kids. What important discussion did take place?

Well, they were curious to know about my co-actors. They did not care about me. (Makes a sad face). The little boy remembered about my red Mercedes in Besharam and he wanted to know what car I drive in real life. When I told him that I have an Ambassador, he got really disappointed because it is not fast and furious. I like vintage cars.

We reckon this is your first visit to the temple city.

Yes, but unfortunately I did not get any time to see all the beautiful places. But I am happy to be part of the eKutir family. I am glad that I am associated with something that aims to eradicate poverty through agriculture. I grew up in privileged environment in Australia where poverty is nowhere to be seen. One of the reasons why I always wanted to start my career in India is because I strongly felt that I could contribute something to the society.

Are you a vegetarian?

I am not a strict vegetarian, but I love vegetables. I prefer vegetarian food to non-vegetarian food any day. In Australia, we have some finest cuisines, but I always wanted my sabzi.

Pallavi signs autographs for her young fans in Bhubaneswar. Pictures by Ashwinee Pati

How was life back in Australia?

Amazing! I was lucky that my parents worked hard and were the first from the family based in Delhi to move to Down Under in the 1980s. My elder brother and I had an idyllic urban upbringing. I studied law, media and communication at the University of Melbourne. I also learnt French. I had all the opportunities where if I had worked hard, I could have achieved good things. I didn’t do very well (sticks her tongue out). I always wanted to be an actress. It was a childhood dream that never faded away with time.

What kind of films you grew up watching, then?

All the Yash Chopra films such as Chandni and Lamhe. Then there were DDLJ, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. My parents were film buffs too. I also got to see Abhimaan, Silsila, Chupke Chupke, Bawarchi. I used to remember which film released when and my memory would amaze people. When you grow up in the overseas, you tend to cling to your culture.

So many actors in Hollywood come from Australia. Don’t you think pursuing acting there would have taken you to greater heights?

I have already done an Australian film Save Your Legs and about to start another one. I am constantly working there as well, but I have worked really hard to reach this far in Bollywood. It won’t be wise to pack my bags and return. I still have few years of acting left in me in Bollywood.

From a cameo in My Name is Khan to lead role in Besharam, you seem to have come a long way.

It was a tough journey, but I am grateful for everything. Many people see this dream, but everyone’s wish does not get fulfilled. I still have a long way to go and many hearts to win in terms of acting and audience. I just hope I get the right opportunities to prove myself.

Were you disheartened when Besharam didn’t do as well as a Ranbir Kapoor film should have?

Not really, because for me who is an outsider, I was overwhelmed that I was given that role. I looked at the film as a process and not a product.

You have worked with actors like Manoj Bajpayee and Ranbir Kapoor, who come from two very different genres of movies.

Manoj was my first lead actor in the film Dus Tola and I adore him as an actor. I have seen all his films. He is fabulous. Ranbir is more reserved, but very hardworking and supportive. At present, I am working with Ayushmann (Khurrana), who is also very compassionate.

What is this new project you are working on with Ayushmann?

It is tentatively titled Bambai Fairytale. It is biopic based on lesser-known Indian scientist Shivkar Talpade. Vibhu Puri is directing it. It is period drama.

You are a Bharatnatyam dancer visiting the land of Odissi dance.

I hope I could see some Odissi moves here. My teacher also taught me a little bit of Odissi. Through t2, I want to say that anybody who can teach me the classical dance can have a student in me. I would love to come again to Bhubaneswar to do some social work and simultaneously, selfishly learn Odissi dance.

She turns to the kids and asks how would you define me. They say in unison ‘pretty’. t2 can’t agree more.