Twenty-six years after Hema Malini got on a camel in the Rajasthan deserts to sing the haunting 'Ae Dil-E-Nadaan' in Kamal Amrohi's Razia Sultan, Esha rode the camel like a pro in Jaisalmer.
Protests Esha, "In Razia Sultan, mom was singing on the camel. I was wincing in pain. For ten days I rode the camel like a professional for a camel race along with Arjan Bajwa, Chandan Roy Sanyal and Sudhandhu Pande. I was the only girl in the team. But people seemed to forget that. But if I may say so, I had the best calves on display in the typical Rajasthani camel-rider's costume, the kurta lungi and all."
For the first few days Esha was in a daze. "The seat on top of the camel is so rough and so unfriendly to comfortable riding, my knees and inner thighs were constantly bruised. When my mother saw I was hurt she was livid. But I told her to chill. And we continued shooting on the camels for a good week after that. Now I can call myself an expert camel rider."
Esha's training in kick-boxing held her in good stead. "For the last two years I've subconsciously been training for this film. I needed to get physically fit, which I've done. And I needed to mature emotionally. That too, I think, I've achieved."
Esha says shooting Tell Me Oh Khuda has been like shooting three different films. "We shoot in three different continents with three different cinematographers. So it's like doing three different films. In Turkey, I shot with Rishi Kapoorji and in Jaisalmer I'm shooting with Vinod Khannaji."
Now Esha wants to bring her father Dharmendra and mom Hema together for the last segment of the film. "It's a dream for me to have them in the same film as me, so that one day I can tell my grandchildren, 'I made this happen.' And I will make it happen."
Esha Deol, in her own words, is bruised black and blue. This month after participating in a camel race in Jaisalmer and doing road stunts in Goa for her mother's production Tell Me Oh Khuda, Esha can barely move a limb. "The director Mayur Puri and the fight master Parvez bhai forgot I was all said and done, a girl and therefore delicate in my own way. This has been the most physically demanding experience of my life," says Esha wincing in pain.