'I want to play the heroine.'
'I can dance, I can act and hopefully through Begum Jaan, people will notice me and say, "Chalo isko yeh bhi karathay hai".'
After making her acting debut in Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year, eight years ago, in 2009, alongside Ranbir Kapoor, Gauahar Khan went on to make cameo appearances in films like Game, Ishaqzaade, Badrinath Ki Dulhania.
She will be seen in Srijit Mukherji's Bejum Jaan, an adaptation of his Bengali film Rajkahani.
Set during Partition, Bejum Jaan features Vidya Balan as the madam of a brothel. Gauahar plays her aide, Rubina.
"Rubina is someone for whom Begum Jaan (Vidya Balan) is everything. She is devoted, loyal and fierce," Gauahar says of her character.
"If Begum Jaan says she wants her life, Rubina will probably take a knife and slit her own throat; that's how loyal she is,' Gauahar tells Rediff.com Senior Contributing Correspondent Rajul Hegde.
Was there any workshop conducted before the shooting of Begum Jaan?
Yes. Srijit sir was very particular about not referring to the Bengali version of the film.
He gave us new characters, written differently for the Hindi version. So we did not need to look at any reference point to become that person.
My character Rubina is a Punjabi Muslim, so she has a Punjabi dialect with Urdu, which is very interesting.
Srijit sir gave us the freedom of coming up with our own back story for the character.
So each one of us came up with our own story and relationship with everyone in the house.
It was a lot of hard work.
On set, we were never referred to as Gauahar, Pallavi (actress Pallavi Sharda) or Vidya; we were called by our character names.
What was it like shooting with 10 other women?
I wouldn't say it was a party.
The conditions we shot in were very difficult. The weather was completely against us.
It would be erratic -- 45 degrees in the day. By evening, it would rain and there would be a storm.
We became a unit and would fight against all odds.
We become a family, we became Begum ki jaan.
It was also fun because we would laugh together, feel tired together, complain together, thanks to body aches, bruises, sweat...
Once we were on set, we were not allowed to go back to our trailers because they were at a distance, and it was quite hot.
Interestingly, I was always feeding everyone.
My staff always carried dry fruits because I am always hungry.
If anyone was hungry, they would look at me!
How was it working with Vidya?
The best thing ever!
I can pull her cheeks and tell her how much I love her, and it will never be enough.
I love her beyond the film.
You will never see Vidya like you will in Begum Jaan.
For me to be a part of this film is a dream come true.
Of course, we were working with a genius director. Srijit Mukherji, a National Award winner.
I am just praying that we reap the benefits of the hard work we have put in.
Apart from Vidya, I was closest to Pallavi Sharda.
We are at loggerheads in the film, but off camera, we bonded well.
You are considered one of the most glamorous actresses around. Yet, in films, you often portray de-glam roles. Aren't you looking forward to glamorous roles?
Yes, I am.
Any filmmaker reading this, 'Hello!!!!' (Smiles.)
I want to play the quintessential heroine roles. Why not?
I can dance, I can act and hopefully through this film, people will notice me and say, 'Chalo isko yeh bhi karathay hai (let's make her do this as well).'
I have done a short film called Peanut Butter, which has been getting rave reviews.
You play the mother of an 18 year old in Peanut Butter Any apprehensions then?
As an actor, no apprehensions.
I just don't want to let my family down in any way, that's it.
As an actor, I want to do it all.
Everyone was wondering that at 28, how I can play a mother to a 18 year old?
That was a catch, but I am glad people are finally watching it and have accepted my potential as an actor.
Many actors shy away from doing item numbers. What is your take on it?
It depends on the project.
But I don't agree with the term 'item'. I don't think anyone should be given that term for anything that they do.
I don't think the songs deserve it either. People have put a lot of effort into them.
Which recent film has really inspired you?
PINK. I loved Amitabh Bachchan sir's performance. He gives me goose bumps.
Just one simple expression says so much.
We haven't seen you on television for a while.
I am open to doing fiction shows, but want to do something that I haven't done before.
I would love to work in television, it's just that it has to have potential and content.
Are you single?
Yes, and it's getting boring right now.
But I am never ready to mingle.