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By: Shweta Vepa, IndiaFM

Thursday, July 20, 2006

She's the newest entrant on the Bollywood block. Aditya Datt's latest discovery, Geeta Basra who actually hails from London has her fingers crossed for her big Bollywood debut, Dil Diya Hai. Produced by Balabhai Patel, directed by Aditya Datt, music by Himesh Reshammiya and starring Emraan Hashmi - rings a bell? Of course, it's the same team that gave us Aashiq Banaya Aapne, last year! Naturally, this time too, the expectations are sky-high. The new entrants in this team are Mithun Chakraborthy, Ashmit Patel and debutante Geeta Basra. The spot light is on Geeta Basra, as everyone is waiting to see if she can live up to the great expectations.

You're probably wondering how this young girl from London finds herself in the lead role of a mainstream, masala potboiler. It has been quite an eventful journey so far. Like countless others, she too, harbored dreams of becoming an actress. So she began working towards it while she was still a child! By taking part in all the plays and stage performances in school. Gushes the actress, "I always wanted to be an actress! So I decided to come to India, to fulfill my dream!"

So it must have been quite a big decision to pack her bags and come to India. "It sure was. Luckily I had the support of an uncle, back home." And what was the reaction of her parents? "They didn't take me seriously in the beginning! But then my mom realized that I was dead serious. And she helped me with my plans!" The first thing that she did was something all newcomers do. i.e. enroll themselves in an acting school. She started training under Kishore Namit Kapoor, the man under whose guidance actors like Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Chopra and Esha Deol have trained. Other preparations included learning Hindi and perfecting the local lingo. Having stayed in London all her life, she didn't know a word of Hindi before she came here!

Talking about how she finally bagged the role, she tells us. "I was actually in London. I had a manager who called me while I was there. He said that I needed to get on the next flight and come back! At first, I didn't take it seriously. Because one keeps getting such calls! But I went for two auditions and bagged the part!

You would think that she's playing an NRI in the film. However, the character is quite different to her real life persona. She will be seen playing a middle class girl who goes to London for the first time, with her family. The character is young, bubbly and naÏve. There was some degree of nervousness whilst the shooting was on. She had many intense scenes with Mithun Charaborthy. "Firstly, it took me a while to realize that I was even doing a film! I mean this has been my dream! It all felt so surreal. And the scenes that I had with Mithun Chakraborthy were taxing. But gradually, the nervousness wore off!" Having Aditya Datt on board did help in making the atmosphere comfortable. Geeta is all praises for the young director. "He is such a cool guy! The best thing is that he is my age. He does not follow film making patterns as they existed 20 years ago! He made us all feel so comfortable. He never screamed or shouted on set. He knows exactly what he wants and gets it."

Considering that it's an Emraan Hashmi film, the next question is obvious. Are we going to see a lip-lock, on screen? Pat comes the reply, "No! Sorry to disappoint all his fans! But a kissing scene wasn't required."

There is some amount of nervousness, more so for Geeta, as she waits for the audience's reaction. But nervousness is natural, prior to the release. The best effort has been put in. Now all's there left to do is wait and watch.

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