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Minnisha Lamba on her entry into Bollywood

Courtesy: IndiaFM

Friday, May 12, 2006

She played a Kashmiri girl unaware about the outside world in her debut film Yahaan! And in her second film she plays an exactly opposite character of a modern day corporate girl who is waiting to see the entire world.

And the young entrant seems to be the next best thing in Bollywood with having as many as four movies lined up for release this year! That's certainly an achievement for a new entrant like Minnisha.

IndiaFM spoke to the enthusiastic girl who wanted to be an award-winning journalist but now feels that she can be a fabulous actress.

What is the film Corporate about?

It's all about paisa, power and politics. The poster gives an adequate idea about the film. From the title itself, one can make out that it's a human drama set in the corporate space. It's about the urban MNC culture in India.

And what does the word corporate mean to you?
It represents big swanky huge boardrooms, top industrialists, power packed people. They play the power game and also make economies run. It's a big power place and everything huge is at stake.

How did you bag this movie?
I knew about Corporate from the beginning as I had read about it from the time Madhur was finalizing the cast. My film Yahaan had just released and suddenly I got a call from Madhur Bhandarkar. He said that he loved my film and has a special appearance which he wants me to play in his film. Since I have been a fan of Madhur Bhandarkar, working with a director like him at this stage is good for me. And that's why I am here as a part of the project.

What does Minisha Lamba play in the movie?
My role is that of a girl who has just joined a big MNC. She is idealistic and hopeful for the future. She wants to make it big. One of her idols is Bipasha Basu's character. Bipasha personally oversees her work. As an entrant, one has to take a stand and try to make a difference. This film also explores Samir (Dattani) and my character. It talks about how the next generation plays a part in current scenario.

So it's all about career and ambitions. Is there is no love angle in the story?
Well, the love angle in the story is not emphasized that much. There is so much in the story that if Madhur actually wanted to go so much in depth, it would be a four hour film, which is not possible. So you have to concentrate on the important parts of the film. It doesn't go on dragging but leaves a strong impact. It's quite a fast paced film. There are a lot of things that couldn't be included in the film due to time constraints. Though Samir does play my love interest, romance is not one of the central points of the film.

Do you relate to this character in your real life?
As an artist, there will always be a part of Minissha Lamba's personality in her roles. Minissha Lamba's character will always be there in every character that I play because ultimately the person is me. I try my best to get my personality out and try to re-invent myself. I am not like Megha Apte. I think she is very idealistic and walks with colored glasses on her eyes. I wouldn't do that in my life. Yeah, I am somewhat like her in some ways but not completely. The challenge was trying to be somebody that's not you. It's like you can feel the psyche in your being, but can truly never be that.

Did you have to learn or prepare anything in specific for your role?
Not much, actually. My father is from such a background. He is an executive on a senior level, so I have been around in such an environment, all my life. I have grown up seeing my father, his colleagues, his work manner and his commitment to the job. So the corporate world hasn't been alien to me. I have seen a lot of Hollywood films, which deal with subjects like this.

How is Madhur Bhandarkar as a person?
He is a complete entertainer. There was a bad patch of controversies going on in his life and yet he was chirpy. He used to keep joking. You will never see him with a long face, even when he is in a really bad situation. That is something which I learnt from him. I admire that quality in him. In the industry, there is tremendous pressure and people are always watching you, ready to pounce. I think his attitude is very refreshing.

And now tell us about Madhur Bhandarkar, the director?
As a new comer, I feel I really look up to my directors and actors for guidance. I am learning everyday. Madhur has faith in all his actors. He just lets them go. He allowed me to do what I wanted, even though I would always look up to him for guidance. He was very happy with everything that was taken. As an actor, you are continuously dissatisfied and always want to reach your potential. As a director, he knows when to stop you and say, don't kill yourself. He is very sensitive to his actors and their performances. He gets into an actor's head. He is always in a jovial mood. Whenever I used to come with a long face, he used to cheer me up.

This is your second film and you got to work with such talented actors.
I feel blessed. I just hope that some of their talent will rub off on me. I should end up as a fabulous actor. I have scenes with all the actors. Their respect for others as human beings is appreciable. There are no egos or ulterior motives. I have seen humanity in them. Their onscreen image is different from what they are in real life. They are so normal and just waiting to reach out to others. There is no motive. They want to work better, want to have a good environment and also want to be nice to others. And not because they have to, but because of their good hearts.

How was it working with Bipasha, since she is the leading lady of Corporate? Do you think your character has enough scope in the movie?
She is like a dream. You have seen her in the most glamorous roles, sizzling on screen. Trust me, even in corporate suits, she looks equally hot. She is a very chilled out person. She sits on the sets with everyone and jokes and laughs. She knows everyone by their first name. She knows people's backgrounds and takes interest in people with whom she is working. She also takes interest in conversations and gets to know that person. While sharing screen space with her, I think the winner at the end will be the narrative. I know I am a new comer. I want to work with big actors in my films. So it's obvious that if I work with them, then I am not going to have the biggest role. You have to have the reality check also. I can't be floating on cloud nine and say no. One's expectations have to be realistic. You can't measure the role through dialogues or scenes. It's not a question of length, but how much you want to be a part of the project. When I see it on the big screen, I know I would like to be associated with this.

What interested you to take on this role?
It was a combination of things. It is a completely different character, from my movie Yahaan. There I played a girl, who hasn't seen the world. But here I play a girl who is waiting to see the entire world. She has grown up in a big city. The girl in Yahaan has never even worn jeans in her entire life.

I want to be a versatile actor. I want my producers to think that I can do everything. I want to be here for a long time and you can't survive here if you restrict yourself to particular kinds of roles.

On the sets escapades...
As I said, Madhur is a big prankster and a joker. I used to take liberties and pull Kay Kay's leg. Kay Kay and I used to get together to pull Samir's leg. We used to joke with him and threaten to throw him into the pool during our shots. But he is so sweet and has got a great heart. Even if you are bad to him, he will still wish you the best.

Does Corporate have music?
Music is not an integral part of the movie. It is mainly used as background score in a particular situation and not to enhance the story.

You were appreciated for your debut role in Yahaan. What kinds of roles are you looking forward to?
I am looking for anything that excites me. I have to have faith in the character and belief that I'll be able to do justice. I am not looking for anything particular, because you never know what comes your way. I didn't expect to do Corporate. I am doing it because I am not restricting myself. I am open to everything that interests me.

Tell us something about your background.
I have just finished my graduation in English literature. Before that, we used move around to places like Chennai, Sri Nagar and Delhi. My father is a hotelier and my mother is an interior designing. My younger brother is studying hotel management. I am the only in the entertainment industry. I got into this by complete fluke. I used to do modeling in Delhi along with college. One of the ads I did was Sujit Sarkar's Cadbury commercial. He directed that and asked me about his film. So that's how the movie Yahaan happened. I didn't know whether I wanted to get into films. I was confused about it.

So what did you want to become?
I wanted to be an award winning journalist. (Laughs) My parents were extremely happy when films happened. They said "Ok! At least she won't blow herself to bits in some east European country!" I am still their little baby and gets calls everyday from my parents.

What are the other projects you are working on?
I am doing a film called Rocky with Zayed Khan, directed by Suresh Krishna and produced by Shyam Bajaj. In that, I play a NRI girl who lives in London. She falls in love with a character called Rocky. It's an action love story. And it's got nothing to do with boxing.

Then, I have just finished Raj Kaushal's Anthony Kaun Hai starring Sanjay Dutt and Arshad Warsi. I am thrilled about this film. I had so much fun shooting this film. Raj's crew is a lot of fun. It's a thriller cum comedy. I play the main lead in that.

Then I have just finished Farhan Akhtar's Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd. It was fun since I have never shot with such a big cast. We had a great time, bonding with each other on the sets. Abhay Deol is my co star in the film. It was great fun. I have four releases this year. 

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