She is the young woman who makes her debut opposite country's biggest brand today - Aamir Khan - when it comes to quality cinema. Still, her presence in the actor's next film, Dhobi Ghat, has been kept absolutely low key. She is Monica Dogra, Aamir Khan's newest girl, who has been a part of the music band called 'Shaa'ir + Func' for four years now.
In fact when Dhobi Ghat was announced, there was no mention of even Aamir being the leading man as this Kiran Rao directorial debut was mainly being sold as Prateik Babbar's launch as a leading star. Slowly, as the film's shoot came close to an end, it was disclosed that Aamir was a major protagonist in the film as well, if not the central protagonist.
Meanwhile, Monica - till about six months back - was just a name in the credits. However, the beans were spilled when Dhobi Ghat was screened in the Toronto International Film Festival.
Says a Bollywood insider who had a dekko at the film at Toronto, "This is where it was revealed (to everyone's pleasant surprise) that Monica was not only playing a leading lady in the film opposite Aamir Khan but also had an integral role to play in the overall development of the plot that included Prateik Babbar. In fact Monica's character in the film is a common factor that ties Aamir and Prateik Babbar."
However, Monica refuses to be made to stand in the same line as dozens of other debutants who arrive in the world of films every year.
"See, it would be very wrong on my part to deny the fact that Dhobi Ghat is a great project to be a part of. But then well, the buck stops there. Beyond that there isn't anything that makes me do something extraordinary to make my presence felt per se", she says.
She knows that her performance would be looked at with hawk's eye. After all if one goes through Aamir's filmography, one realises that it has been a decade since one saw an absolute raw talent being launched by Aamir. The last lucky girl was Gracy Singh and the film was Lagaan (2001). Ever since then, Aamir has worked with Preity Zinta (Dil Chahta Hai), Rani Mukherjee (Mangal Pandey - The Rising), Kajol (Fanaa) and Kareena Kapoor (3 Idiots).
His Ghajini did see a new face - Asin - coming in Hindi cinema but then she was already an established actress down South. On the other hand, his leading lady in Rang De Basanti - Alice Patten - was neither an Indian face nor was she a heroine of the film in the true sense. This is the reason why it comes as nothing short of a surprise when a new name Monica Dogra emerges on the scene.
"I am sure that for many people out there, the core thought is that, would I be leaving a mark in the film. But if I have to tell you something honestly, I am not worried about it at all. I don't consider myself as a debutant who is trying to make it in Bollywood which would ultimately be my entire existence. Sorry, but I don't have the slightest of such intentions", says Monica in a mature, confident and self assuring tone.
Well, with such traits to match, she is no wonder an Aamir Khan girl.