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January 4, 1999


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Rinke takes the plunge

Rinke Khanna. Click for bigger pic!
Lata Khubchandani

It took a long time for her to wet her feet, but Rinke Khanna's finally taken the filmi plunge.

And when she finally did it, it was under her own steam, in a small-budget film being made by a 28-year-old newbie filmmaker Raj Kaushal, a former assistant to Mukul Anand. And there are no Abhishek Bachchan or Hritik Roshan to make her debut look extra-special, no Rajesh Khanna or Dimple Kapadia to chivvy her ahead.

When we walked onto the sets, the scene in progress had the debutante making cow eyes at the college mate, while he's returning the favour in full. That must sound familiar these days. Raj Kaushal grins.

Click for bigger pic!
"The subject came from Shailendra Singh of Percept advertising. I liked the whole feel of the story -- the youthful yuppie thing and thought that now was good a time as any to get into film direction. I'd already worked with Mukul Anand in Trimurti and Dus, besides having done over a hundred ads. I'd even started my own production company."

The actors are Siddhant and Sanjay Suri, Akash Saigal, Manoj Datwani, Shweta Salve, Melody D'Cunha and Akash Karnataki playing Ks. Rinke, of course, gets more prominence than the rest, playing Khurshid, the leading lady opposite Dine (Siddhant).

Every last one in the crew is a first-timer. The choreographer is Geeta Kapoor, an assistant to Farah Khan, and the story is by Raj Kaushal and Patrick Biswas. The cinematographer, Rajiv Jain, highly acclaimed in the ad world, is an assistant to Binod Pradhan and now trying out new options.

Click for bigger pic!
Even the music does not rely on the tried and tested. So you have people like Shekhar Ravjiabi, Vishal Samart and Siraj Bhattacharya from the rock group Pentagram, beside Salim and Sulosman Merchant. The singers are Mahalaxmi, the male singers are Shaan, Krishna Kumar and Shekhar Ravjiani. The producers are Tyger Productions, a subsidiary of Percept Advertising.

Well, the story did you ask? It's placed in an arts college where a number of young ones meet up. Each character is a strongly etched individual and Kaushal has worked out details of the characterisation minutely.

"Actually, I got the characters ready first -- once every nuance was complete, I sat down to decide who'd play the various roles. For the main role, we wanted someone who looks innocent, but intense and cute at the same time. I was looking at some pictures in Cine Blitz when I saw the photograph of Rinke Khanna and decided she was to be Khurshid. It wasn't difficult to persuade her once she saw the script. She liked it very much and decided that this was something she'd like to do."

Click for bigger pic!
Rinke herself is quite bucked at the thought that she's made this film on her own steam.

"For me, there's a great sense of achievement each day when I return home from shooting. I'm enjoying myself and it was something I wanted to do. I wanted to start like any other newcomer. and that has happened. Acting is not just something I'm doing because my parents are in films. It took me a long time to understand and decide what I wanted to do. I felt that there was something special I could do in films... It wasn't just a career option.. I did my Mass Communication in the US but I realised that I would rather act..."

Her eyes glint in her mobile face. It's a deceptively simple visage that lights up beautifully when she smiles. Her earnestness was obvious and her intensity speaks of hidden depths -- a sure sign that she'll make a good actress.

But wasn't Rinke a juicy peg for a film that is otherwise a small venture? Raj Kaushal agrees:

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"We weren't thinking of her as the USP to sell the film but there's look about her -- a person who'd give her 100 per cent to all the she does -- it goes well with the character she's playing too. I know that people expected that she'd debut in a big banner film, but, really, big banners are no guarantee of success..."

Rinke leaves these imponderables alone, even brushing aside the possibility of comparisons to her sister Twinkle. She's just thrilled to be acting at all.

"I'm playing my age -- not a mother or anything ridiculous, so it's fun being out there facing the camera. I have studied theatre with Satyadev Dubey and so don't feel shy or nervous. It's a great feeling!"

Ah, it's great to be young, isn't it?

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