When most of the world fears Mathematics like a dreadful disease, she is a proud owner of a graduation degree in the same. A super-active kid at studies, she has many awards and rewards galore to her credit. An ardent public speaker, she entered the Miss India, only to win it, which eventually paved her way to TV and Bollywood!
She did her TV serial ‘Kashmir’, which not just won the hearts of everyone alike, but also much critical acclaim. In Bollywood, she debuted with Dhoop, follwed by an array of films like the soul stirring Dor and Manorama Six Feet Under. She is back with Summer 2007, and on an exclusive interview with Bollywood Hungama pours her heart out.
So what does Summer 2007 talk about?
Summer 2007 is a story of what happened to a gang of five college going friends one summer in 2007. They passed out of medical college in the year 2007 hence the title. It’s about what transpired in those few weeks when they were doing something (I cannot reveal that now).
What is your character in the film?
I play the character of a girl called Vishaka who is filthy rich, and comes from a very fabulously wealthy family. But unfortunately, she is embarrassed of her family’s wealth and feels that we don’t do enough for under privileged. In the group of five, she is the voice of reason, morality, and she is the voice of anything to do with right and wrong. She always stands up for the right. If there is ragging and bulling she’ll tell her friends how wrong it is. And if someone is cheating during the exams she gets angry with them. Basically, she is against any form of unfair practice or malpractice anyone does, which is why all her friends nick name her as ‘Mother T’ in short for Mother Teresa.
Sikander as a co- star and a new comer was he a refreshing change from your previous co-stars.
It is the first time I am actually working with newcomers usually I have always done films with people who’ve been around for sometime. In the entire group of five, I was the only person who has done couple of films all the others were just starting out. But all 4 of them, have tremendous amount of dedication and immense seriousness when it comes to work. Now, I know Sikander from very long time. The entire film is about five friends and our director was extremely clear that you guys have to look like friends only then will you’ll be able to pull it off. Hence, before the shoot actually began we spent a lot of time together and there was immense comfort level between us, which looked like we were really close to each other.
How was your chemistry with Sikander and as an actor?
Since I knew Sikander for seven years, it was easier jelling with him. You would always refer your friends as good actor because when you are friends with someone, you always say good things about then and not bad. But in Sikander’s case, I have to say that I was taken aback, he was way beyond my expectations. I thought he is going to be good but he went much beyond. He is extremely competent and extremely hard working and he is going to go very very far.
Suhail Sutari is also a debutant how would you rate him as a director.
He is not a debutant for me. I made my acting debut in a mini- series, which Suhail directed called ‘Kashmir’. Suhail and I go back a number of years. Infact, when I start out with him, I was completely a newcomer, I had never acted on screen before, with only a theatre experience I walked onto the sets of ‘Kashmir’. And to adapt from theater to screen is not an easy task, because it is a completely different medium. But Suhail helped in each and every step and was a great guiding force. In fact, when I was cast for mini series, it was not as per what Suhail wanted; I was cast because the channel wanted me. And he was bit unhappy to trust a new comer to such extend. But then, but we developed a great rapport. And in my first acting debut project, he got me my first best actor nomination. So what I’m trying to say is that, whatever I know about acting I learnt from Suhail even though I have received great appreciation for Dor, Doop, Manorama Six Feet Under, I’d say I was applying what I have learnt from Suhail. He was making his debut film and he offered me a part, which is a huge honor in itself. This is the man, who taught me acting. I knew he would offer me only a role that I could carry off and I could do justice to. And he is simply superb, directing for screen and TV is ultimately the same, just a different medium. And Suhail has been in television all his life so he’s quite at home in cinema. His technical expertise in the medium shows during direction. Everybody who knows him will know that he’s one of the finest directors of the generation. And he’s clearly one of the best directors we have clearly.
How different was Suhail compared to other directors?
Ya, I worked with the celebrity directors like Nagesh Kukunoor, debutant Navdeep, and many more but I would have to say that Suhail ranks as one of the best people I have worked with… I’m also biased because I have known Suhail and for me this film story was very important and being a part of Summer 2007 as well since its his first film. Infact, to be very honest, until the day we started filming, I had no script but I had blind faith in what Suhail makes me do. And it was more important for me to be part of Suhail’s film than being the main lead. He said there are two female parts. And I should go for Vishaka’s role and I said ok. But Suhail is very demanding director as well, you couldn’t escape that fact. It brought back good and bad memory. Good because I realize what a brilliant director he is and bad because the number of hours he would make us work for ‘Kashmir’ and he made us work for crazy hours in Summer 2007 as well. We had limited resources and a strict budget and sticking within that was very important. On an average, we have worked for 15 hours a day and sometimes 20. But Suhail did not compromise on quality even if time was less. That’s the best thing about him. Suhail and producer Atul Pandey have done a marvelous job; being a producer of the film, he put his life into it. And I think he is one of the finest producers I have worked with.
What are your expectations with the film?
I’m somebody, who wont be expecting anything and I’m a kind of person who believes in doing things to the best of my abilities and believing in destiny. As a human being, there is less as to what we can control. So there is not point in expecting, planning, and so on. I don’t want to go philosophical here but something which always keeps coming in my mind is what Lord Krishna said to Arjun, just do what you are doing and forget about the results. That is what I do in every film of mine. I put my life into it, beyond that I can’t do anything. Even in Manorama Six Feet Under, I put it a lot of hardwork and I am glad it was appreciated well. It may have not done so well in the BO but its alright. Some people said that I have gone beyond Dor, so thats wonderful for me.
Are you personally into racing and Xboxes since Summer 2007 highlights a bit on it.
Its just a backdrop, the film doesn’t deal with anything. The film is about a cause much bigger than racing. It just deals with the generation that uses it that’s all. But personally, last year I was in France and I was the only Indian who was invited to drive a Formula 1 car. And as far Boxes are concerned, I do not have a Xbox but given the opportunity I would like to play that as well.
Tell us something about the songs and the sequences in the film.
There is only one song which is a love track between Sikander and Yuvika in the film. Apart from that the rest are all background scores. Its like college rock kinda’ music. Extremely new and innovative something that’s never done in Hindi cinema before. It will be path breaking; normally this kind of music is seen in American colleges and high school, very modern rock. My favorite would be all expect for one song, I wouldn’t tell which one that is though. My favorite is ‘I Just Wanna Fly’. Its got my kind of music, bands like Gold flame and Maroon play this type of music. The best part is Gourov Dasgupta is a young debut music director, he’s just 19. I wish I was part of a band however, I play the drums, and my friends often join me for a jam session.
What are your forthcoming films?
This year I have three or four films releasing. In terms of what I’m doing now, I’m looking at a lot of scripts and by the time I get back to Mumbai I will finalize which all I’ll be doing. One film I am doing is a Mohan Mudra film, I have no idea when it going to go on floors but sometime mid 2008. Then I’m looking at two more films, one is with Rajat Kapoor, he’s a very accomplished director, I’m looking forward to work with him. I hope things work out, I always wanted to work with him. And then a comedy film, which I’m still looking at Jag Mohan’s film is a thriller and comedy.
Any memories to share from Summer 2007
We were, waiting for the shot and I was resting under a Peepal tree, I felt a hot breath on my neck, I felt that Sikander was up to his antics again but when I turned around and saw I was face to face with the nose of a cow. It was ‘Boo -Booing’ right on my face. I think, Sikander was almost chased by a bull, I haven’t seen it happening myself, but I heard the gossip on the set. So not sure.