She appeared in 'O Sikandar' [Corporate] around a year back and ever since then she has hardly been seen in Bollywood scheme of things. Where is Payal Rohatgi? Joginder Tuteja catches up with the actor who is overhauling her character in a quest to be associated only with quality cinema. Would Priyadarshan's Dhol be her calling card?
Payal, it has been quite a while since you have been seen on the big screen. What's happening?
Yes, after 36 China Town and Corporate, I made a decision to associate myself with only good cinema. After 8 months of waiting I signed Priyadarshan sir's film Dhol. I play the role of a cabaret singer. All I can say is that it is a good role with experienced setup of technicians and co stars. I hope my work gets appreciated.
Has this break been a conscious move?
Well my earlier answer does explain this. Yes, every actor wants to be appreciated for their work. It definitely is a conscious decision.
It is understandable that breaking away from an image in an attempt to redefine one's career isn't quite easy. What kind of challenges have you been facing in doing so?
Well, lets say good things in life don't come easy; one has to have patience. It has become my virtue. I don't come with a famous surname and I am trying to make mine one. In that process one has to experience failures and success. As I have realized what kind of cinema NOT to do, it has definitely sorted my professional decisions. But I do realize I need to prove myself first as an actor. I am working on myself, been training for Kathak under Dileep Sen ji now and learning Jaipur Gharana Kathak. Apart from dance training I am very conscious about my makeup and clothes. In fact even overall look since for a particular project I realized I was going wrong in that department too.
Come June and you should have a release up your name with DHOL. Wanna talk about it?
Let's say Dhol seems another effort in the same direction. I am very grateful that I got to work with Priyanji. He is very particular about everything and an actor can blindly trust him, but I would wait for the film to speak for itself.
Whom are you paired opposite in the film?
I am paired opposite Arbaaz Khan.
From your earlier set of films to Priyadarshan, how do you look at the transition?
I feel great as my family feels great. They are quite eager for this film's release. I am crossing my fingers and praying.
It must have hurt to be relegated to a photo frame in Apna Sapna Money Money. Considering the fact that it was a good hit, you may have longed for your moments of glory in the film.
Well, I was shooting for 36 China Town and Rajuji had asked me for this special appearance opposite Suniel Shetty sir. But the final edit was made keeping the length of the film in mind. They gave me my first break with 36 China Town and I do realize that sometimes decisions need to be made for the betterment of the film.
What are the kind of film makers approaching you now?
Well my phone number has changed so it's only those film makers I want to work with. I have made it clear to my Manager about my work decisions now so I presume they are approaching the same brief. On my front I do message directors that I am keen to work with.
As a follow-up to the question above, what's the kind of response you are seeing from the film makers who have been approaching you or vice versa?
The approach has been positive but I presume all are waiting for release of Dhol too. I am glad good filmmakers are appreciating my effort. Frankly, I think it's a matter of time.
It has been quite a while since any announcement with you in the film came in. Do you want to divulge about the films you have in hands?
Let the films get on paper and then announcements. There is no hurry but yes, definitely there is good cinema and good set ups happening!
So what has been keeping you busy in the year gone by considering that you became choosy about your stint in front of camera?
Working on myself keeps me busy. Trust me its time consuming as ultimately when I am in front of the camera I need to perform so I value this time of mine. Also I have been traveling for shows as Corporate film song 'O Sikandar' gave me a good branding. In fact, I just got back from Abu Dhabi as I had been there for a charity cricket match played for diabetes cause and organized by Mr. Wasim Akram. It was a good stuff overall.