Actress Sheetal Menon is fresh from featuring lustily in Kingfisher calendar and now see will soon be seen on the silver screen in 'Bhram'. Recently, we met her for a chit-chat to know about her film, current engagements, future plans as well as to know her version regarding the rumours linking her with John Abraham. Here are the excerpts.
Q: First of all, tell us about your forthcoming film 'Bhram'-
A: 'Bhram' is a story about four people and Dino Morea is opposite me in this film. My other co-stars in the movie are Milind Somam and Simone Singh. Here I am doing the character of supermodel Antara Tyagi whose success has made many envious. Antara, however, does not take these issues to heart and ultimately fall into bad company and becomes an addict. The film is mostly in flashback and explores to find the reasons that force Antara to enter a dark world. It was very difficult for me to perform the role as I am not like Antara in real life.
Q: Has this role brought any changes in your life?
A: No, not really. Though it is true that while performing a character you need to live that role for some time, but this character had no affect whatsoever on me. One reason for this could be that what my character had experienced in her life; I have not done personally – like taking drugs. As far as preparing for the role is concerned, I have tried to recollect the difficult times in my life and taken some cue from them. However, it was essential to understand the character and I have done that for the sake of the film and my performance. For this, I read a lot of researches like reading fiction and reports, practice walking, holding drinks, talking in a special manner etc.
Q: Both the male co-actors in this film – Milind Sonam and Dino Morea – both are from the modeling world. How was it working with them?
A: When Milind and Dino were doing modeling, I was busy studying and hence it was no easier working with them than anyone else. Although our profession has been the same, I had never met them earlier. We met on the sets and talked about our characters. If you want to work properly in Bollywood, you need to develop comfort levels with some people whether they are models, actors or unknown people. Here the director-producers have more say than me and their preferences are over mine.
Q: What would you like to say about your co-star Dino Morea?
A: Dino is a cool headed and funny person. He does not like the atmosphere to be serious on the sets and even if it is, he would make it light with jokes and child-like masti. I personally feel that he is one of those in the industry who has maintained himself well.
Q: Would you like to mention any memorable incident that occurred during the shooting?
A: Since this is my first film, every moment of the shootings has been memorable for me. I was so excited that there were times that I used to be sitting in the sets even though I did not have any scene. However, an incident that occurred during shooting at Manali remains the most memorable till date. We were shooting near the Rohtang Pass and it was very cold there, but we were not prepared to tackle the clime. It was so cold that we couldn't even deliver our dialogues properly. Another one is shooting at a dilapidated 13 storied building in Mumbai that dates back to the Rajesh-Dimple wedding era. The building is so old that no one even visits it. The set of my house was constructed on the terrace of this building. Pathetically, there was no lift or toilets in this building and I had to go up and come down the 13 stories at least four times a day and this made life miserable.
Q: These days, lip-lock kissing scenes are a routine issue in Bollywood and in this film Dino and you had some such scenes. How easy or free were you doing these scenes?
A: Honestly speaking, I was never free doing such scenes, particularly with someone who was completely unknown to you till some time back. Moreover, doing such scenes in the presence of so many people was also irritating. Besides, there were many occasions when the scenes would not be up to the liking of the director and so there had to be several re-takes. And the worst thing is to watch those scenes with others on the screen. It felt so awkward like what have I done. It really gives a peculiar feeling.
Q: Few days back there were reports that John Abraham-Bipasha Basu were splitting because of you. How did you feel those days?
A: Look, I had done only one ad commercial with John Abraham and so I had to suffer so much. Today, if people link my name to Dino Morea I would definitely feel bad. All that was said and written were fictitious and I had nothing to do with it. I really don't know John well, but if people like to spread rumors, what can I do?
Q: We have heard that John has given you a piece of advice on career saying that you should never do an item number in the beginning of your career. For, if you did one, people would never take you seriously...
A: Actually, while shooting for a commercial for Pepsi, we were all sitting with the director and discussing films. And John too was there. At that point someone asked me if I was joining films and I said yes and also told him that I am a dancer. It was at this point, John advised me not to begin my career with an item dance and this gave the people or so to say rumor mongers an opportunity to spread words. It was highlighted unnecessary.
Q: Well, what do you personally think about doing item dances in films?
A: I love dancing and have learnt Bharatnatyam for seven years. As far as item numbers are concerned, first I would want to leave an impression on the audience with my performance and later if I am offered an item number in a good film, I have no objection doing it. I would like to do dance scenes like Madhuri Dixit as I am very much impressed and influenced by her.
Q: You began modeling in 2003. So what is it that it took so long for you to move into films?
A: Actually, I had got to engaged with modeling and I also could not make up my mind whether I should continue in the fashion industry or move on to films. I was also thinking of doing ramp shows abroad and one of the reasons for this was that I was not getting any good offers for films. In fact, I was much undecided at that stage and once even thought of taking lessons in acting. Accordingly, I joined Anupam Kher's acting course and sincerely completed the course there. And after training in acting, I received the offer for this film which is now due for release. I personally am of the opinion that only that what is destined will happen to a person.
Q: Normally, King Fisher does not repeat the models for its calendar, but it happened with you. What is the reason for it?
A: I too felt very nice when I was called to work for the calendar for the second time. It was an honor for me as it is such a campaign that everyone concerned looks forward to what will be the next change or who would be the next model. The King Fisher calendar is not only distributed in India, but 50 other countries. So, through this campaign we not only reach very far, but also become familiar to many people.
Q: Is it not a coincidence that both the calendar and the film are coming at the same time?
A: In a way, yes this is true. But again this is not true as this film was to be released much ago. In fact, the date of the film's release has not yet been finalized.
Q: Apart from this film, which are the other movies that you have signed?
A: No I haven't signed any other film yet and am waiting for the release of 'Bhram'. At the same time, I am taking a break. Who knows, if I get too busy, I will get another break or not!