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Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Soha Ali Khan has no qualms in admitting that her role in Sudhir Mishra's Khoya Khoya Chand is, by far, the most challenging role in her career till date, ever since she debuted in 'Dil Maange More'. Sitting in Prakash Jha's modest office, Soha confesses that it is the first time she has been able to get her hands on a role of a glamorous woman. "As an actor, I had so much to do in the film, especially because I play an actor in the film. The movie is based on a yesteryear actor," she adds. Shyam Benegal's 'Bhumika' had Smita Patil playing a yesteryear actor, too, and Soha watched the movie very closely, to understand her character.
Soha plays Nikhat, an actor, who is in a relationship with a writer, played by Shiney Ahuja. To get into the skin of her character, Soha took up Kathak lessons from Nandita Puri. She also learnt horse-riding and sword-fighting, to prepare for the action sequences. "Nikhat is a complex character, who is far more mature than I am. I come from a very protective family. Sudhir told me to adopt a bit of method acting to suit the character, since it was the in thing those days," recalls Soha.
She also listened to a lot of music from the period. Jyoti Dev went out of the way to teach her the Urdu songs from films like 'Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam', and others which starred Vyjayanthimala, Waheeda Rehman and Meena Kumari. These are the actors that have influenced the way Soha portrays her character, although she stresses that she is not portraying any one particular star of the time.
Working with Sudhir Mishra at such an early stage in her career is an experience by itself. "Sudhir Mishra etches his women characters very well. I was not only happy, but also surprised because he had a lot of trust and confidence in me, and my capacity as an actor. It was a fantastic experience working with a director like him," she gushes.
Her role as Sonia, in 'Rang De Basanti', got her many accolades. The film was a turning point in her career. "'Rang De Basanti' was an important film to be a part of. It was truly an ensemble cast, and I liked the character of Sonia," she says. She is now looking forward to yet another offbeat film, 'Chauraheen'. The movie deals with three different stories, each dealing with a different city. Soha plays a lively, energetic, and intellectual person, who lives for the moment, and is not philosophical. "She is almost like me in many ways, though I am practical. As an actor, I am not in favour of exploitation, whether emotionally or physically. I have done progressive roes in films like 'Ahista Ahista', 'Antar Mahal' and Khoya Khoya Chand and aspire to carve my own niche. I am glad I have had great opportunities working with directors like Rituparno Ghosh and Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra in their films like 'Antar Mahal' and 'Rang De Basanti' respectively," she asserts.
There is another film, with Sudhir Mishra, in the pipeline, much to her delight. There is yet another one with UTV, directed by Nishikant Kamat, who directed 'Dombivali Fast'. "When it comes to making decisions, I do it on my own steam, though I concede that I do listen to advice from both my mother and brother since they know the industry in and out. I am very much the same because I am grounded. I do not let fame affect me in any way because I do not take myself seriously. Life is short and hence I want to have fun. However, at the same time I also want to be remembered as a good actor like my mother and brother. I know that the camera records you for life," Soha concludes.