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Jiah learns to rap

By Upala KBR, Mid-Day
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Jiah Khan, Ram Gopal Varma's 18-year old discovery, seems to be loaded with oomph, talent and an attitude to match. Though she's been approached by four big banners, she has not signed any film yet as she is under contract until the release of Nishabd. But few people know that Jiah is a trained opera singer and recorded six pop tracks when she was 16. Jiah now wants to record an album.

Are you planning to launch a music album soon?
I have written and composed the music of a few tracks with the help of friends. I recorded six tracks in pop arandi when I was 16, but ran out of finance to launch the album. Now I would like to do something experimental, a mix between Madonna, lounge music and Britney Spears.

I put my thoughts and ideas and structure them into songs. Maybe today someone can help me with the album or if someone wants me to sing in his film I will do that. But I love acting and I am in this industry to be an actress. That is my first love. I am not really a singer. It's my love for music and dance that's draws me into singing.

Have you had any formal training in music?
Yes. I have learnt classical opera since a very young age. I have learnt the piano and in dancing I've trained in reggae, belly dancing, lambada, salsa, kathak, jazz and samba. I have been learning dance for nine years.

In Ramu's Nishabd you play a teenage seductress...
It's a rebellious character with lots of insecurities, and that comes across in the way she talks and dresses. It was quite a challenge for me as I am a simple person, but my character was very complex. Mr Bachchan was there to guide me through the emotional scenes. Also, the fact that I come from a school where they teach method acting helped.

Many feel that you have stepped into the glamour slot left behind by another of Ramu's protÉgÉs, Urmila Matondkar.
Urmila is amazing! Rangeela inspired me to enter Bollywood. I watched that film when I was six and was in love. It's a huge compliment when I am compared to her.

What's the best compliment that Ramu's given you?
That's a secret I can't reveal it, as it's very special to me. I can't reveal even Mr Bachchan's compliments to anybody. They are things I want to keep to myself.

Are you disappointed that Ramu didn't take you in Sholay?
No. I was in London so I didn't even know what was happening. I am still so wrapped up in Nishabd that nothing else is on my mind. Jiah, my character, is like me in so many ways - my age, fun loving with no responsibilities, nothing holds her down, saying shocking things.

What's your idea of a dream man?
I don't have a boyfriend. Right now, I am too young to get into a relationship. But yes, I find myself extremely attracted to powerful men. They are very cool to hang out. I think it's the Mr Bachchan phase that has put me in this mode. I don't go for good-looking guys, as they are always the meanest. I should know, I am a really mean girl!

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