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Peeya Rai's Bong Connection

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After playing a bubbly teenager in the cult television serial Hip Hip Hurray! and ruling the television as a VJ for quite a long time, Peeya Rai Chowdhary has managed to make space for her herself in the increasingly competitive Bollywood as she is remembered for her performances in Bride&Prejudice and Vaastu Shastra. Peeya talks with us about her forthcoming film The Bong Connection and other projects.

Please enlighten us about The Bong Connection and your role in it.
The Bong Connection is the story of two Bengali men- Apu (Parambrata Chatterjee) and Andy (Shayan Munshi) trying to find themselves and achieve their dreams in a foreign land. It is a very sensitive film directed by Anjan Dutt who is a very talented director.

I play Rita in this film. She is a 2nd generation Indo-American girl. It was very difficult for me to enact this role because I have never come across such girls in my life. So, I had to go to the U.S and hang around with such girls to understand and adopt their mannerisms. So it was an intricate affair actually.

How was it working with Anjan Dutt, Raima Sen and Victor Banerjee?
In the first place, it was absolute pleasure working with the director Anjan Dutt. He is an extremely talented artist- great actor, writer and awesome director.

I have no scene along with Victor Banerjee but we were together in America and I came to know him then. Even along with Raima, I don't share screen space but we came to know each other during the making of the film. I must say she is a good person and a fabulous actor.

You have done a Marathi film called The Truck of Dreams. How did you manage Marathi?
The Truck of Dreams is an extremely sensitive and well made film by UK based director Arun Kumar. Since, I am from Mumbai I could speak decent Marathi. But for the actual accent of my character in the film, I had to inherit that accent in my speech which I practiced.

Were you and Shayan supposed to be a part of the film Just Married?
Yes, we were very much a part of it. But at the last moment we had to back out from the project because my mother got seriously ill and we had to stay back with her.

How different is the experience of working on television and in films?
It is extremely different. On television, I did the young teenage serial Hip Hip Hurray! and I did VJing. So in Hip Hip Hurray! , we were a group of friends working together. So it was a blast more than monotonous work. As far as VJing was concerned, I just had to connect to the audience and communicate with them. So, it was not as tough as it is today. Today, the entire scenario has changed. It is extremely hectic.

Have you quit television?
Not at all! Yes, it has been a long two and a half years since I am out of action on television. But I am looking out for something spectacular. I don't want to do the routine, mediocre thing so I am looking for something really different, exciting and brilliant to work on. I am having a couple of talks around. Let us see if something good works out.

What are your forthcoming projects?
I am doing a film called Sabko Intezar Hai with Shayan Munshi which is directed by Ranjit Bahadur. I also have another UK-based project about which I cannot talk about.

Are you happy with the way your career has shaped up?
Honestly I am happy with the way people like Aishwarya Rai, Kajol are married and yet manage their professional and personal lives. I am glad that even I am in this league of people who manage both work and home. It is not impossible so I am happy that I manage everything and not allow the fact that I am somebody's wife become a hurdle in my work.

Do you prefer critical acclaim or commercial success?
Both are definitely important. But as far as commercial success goes, the audience notices you and appreciates your work. You are recognized by people. So in today's times commercial success is as important as critical acclaim.

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