Remember Gracy Singh? Who can forget the graceful and pretty Radha prancing around her man, Bhuvan, in Lagaan? Or, the prim and proper lady doctor won over by the no-holds-barred and irrepressible Munnabhai in Munnabhai MBBS? She was equally at ease with her retrained performance in Prakash Jha's Gangajal or pitted against superstars Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor and Preity Zinta in Armaan. She has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons.
Reason number one she slapped the assistant director on the sets of the under-production film Desh Drohi because he insisted on smoking on the sets ceaselessly though, allergic to tobacco smoke, she had asked him not to. Reason number two she flew back from a Dubai shoot of the same film without having informed her director.
"I do not know who is at the bottom of these rumours. Why would I do it? What right do I have to slap someone who refuses to listen to me on the sets? Can I afford to behave this way in the cutthroat ambience we work in? The profession and the industry do not offer space for unprofessional and rude behaviour. I did not fly back from Dubai in the middle of a shoot. These incidents are the figments of someone's rich imagination. I want to make it clear once and for all that these incidents just did not happen. Period," says Gracy veiling her anger with her charming smile.
Gracy has just finished two films, Aseema, in which she portrays the title role, and Desh Drohi, where she is playing the female lead. Aseema is based on a novel penned by Orissa author Shailaja Kumari Aparajita Mohanty and is directed by Shishir Mishra, a senior director from Orissa. "My character grows from a sprightly teenager to a middle-aged woman, a large span. It is a dream role that offered me scope to innovate and create. It is a character the women in the audience will find easy identification with. She is a young girl born and brought up in the lap of luxury in a zamindar's family. But after she gets married, she slowly transforms herself when she discovers that she must have an identity of her own. I enjoyed doing the film," informs Gracy. Aseema is ready for release in April or May. Desh Drohi on the other hand, is an action film directed by Jagdeesh, which is also complete.
What kind of actress is Gracy Singh? "I am completely a director's actress. At the same time, let me add that I like to be spontaneous and do not like to prepare. Television does not give you time to rehearse, so one gets used to spontaneity. Sometimes, I feel the urge to make suggestions but mainly, I stick to what the director says," she says.
Gracy has done a lot of regional films too. "Yes, I have. I did Meghaway Meghaway in Kannada directed by Mr. Prasad. I am also into Punjabi films. I have done Chudiyan and my Lakh Pardesi Hoiye directed by Swaran Singh is ready for release next month. I play a modern Punjabi girl who is Indian at heart. I would love to do a film in every regional language. My dream role would be a dancing role like the ones Vyjayantimala did in many films. It would give me scope to present my dancing on screen."
Considering that she has always worked with big heroes under big banners, her career has not really taken off the way it ought to have. Why? "I am so happy that you have asked me this. It means that there are expectations from me as an actress. The gaps in my career between films just happened. I took a short break and that must have led to this problem. It was not as if I was waiting for the right role." What does she look for while accepting an assignment? "The story is the most important thing for me, not my role. My profession as an actress itself is a social cause because my work is to entertain the masses."