Do you think there is a real side to her character?
I think that's something that most actress experience when they are someone famous in the industry to someone who's not given the same importance as they were at the peak of their career. It's always something difficult, you age and you have to age gracefully. And that's the whole challenge to be able to do it gracefully; a lot of people find it difficult to do so. They always want to remain at the top.
What interested you to go for this?
Firstly I wanted to work with Sudhir Mishra. Secondly the character was different from the one that I had played. Mumtaz was from the royal family and it was a very historical role. This is also a period film, it's about the 1950s and it's about the Bollywood industry but its closer to our time. The main reason was because my grandmother Noor Jehan used to be part of the industry before partition. I have lived with her as a child and I always dreamt that I would be able to be like her. So for me it was exploring what life was for her and how the industry was in those days. That's what interested me.
Taj Mahal was a historical, and Khoya Khoya also has a period setting. Do you think you were offered this character because of your first film?
No, I don't think so because I was also offered films based on modern times. I don't think there's a stereotype for me but I was really keen on doing this. More so to experience what the industry was all about during the 1940s.
How was it working with Sudhir Mishra?
Brilliant! He spent a lot of time with the actors. He is so enthusiastic and passionate about the script and each and every character. He really explains and takes you through the whole scene. He also lets you try out different things and is very open to discussing scenes and having discussions. That was very nice.
Who are you paired opposite in the film?
The lead is Soha Ali Khan and Shiney Ahuja. It's the Bollywood industry so everyone is interrelated but it's a love story between Soha and Shiney and it's the struggle that I am going through to be recognized in the industry. So I am trying to take Soha's place. She is playing this young starlet. It's an insight to what the industry is all about. There's a movie being shot within the movie, so there are some scenes in black and white. There's a lot of treatment. It's very different to what people have seen in Indian cinema.
The film is set in 1940s, is your character based on a real personality?
When I had to do some research on this, I had to see the work of Nargis and Madhubala. Those are the main characters which Sudhir wanted me to look into and study. The characters are inspired by certain actors but they are all fictional. Like my character Ratan Bala is inspired by different actors of that time.
So your character is not based on a real actor of the 1940s?
No I don't think so. I am just playing a diva of that time so it could be anybody from Madhubala or Nargis, anyone.
What kind of roles would you like to play in future?
I like strong characters, Mumtaz was a strong character, Ratan Bala is a strong character. Ratan Bala is a very job oriented woman. I tend to go for women who have strong personalities. In the future I wouldn't mind going may be for a horror or an action packed film, just to get a feel of something which I am not.
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