She was the heroine of the Oscar-nominated Lagaan. You wouldn't have known it considering Gracy Singh all but disappeared after Lagaan released.
Just when you think of relegating her to the one-movie wonder category, Gracy springs the surprise. She will have three films releasing soon after the World Cup. She is now working on her fourth -- Prakash Jha's Gangaajal. "An actor's job is to act. The release of a film is not an actor's problem," she tells Associate Editor/Chief Correspondent Syed Firdaus Ashraf:
You haven't had a release for two years after Lagaan. Why?
I did three films. It takes time to make films.
What is your role in Gangaajal?
I play Ajay Devgan's wife. He is an IPS officer in a small town in Bihar. The film is about society at large; everybody has an important role in the film. Just like in Lagaan -- everybone was important.
I force Ajay to face up to issues in society.
What made you sign the film?
I just could not find any reason to refuse. I liked everything about the script as well as the director, the cast and the setup.
Have you interacted with a real police officer's wife to prepare for your role?
No. But I know police officers tread a dangerous path. They face a lot of trauma.
As for me, I try to act like the character in the film. It is very difficult because I am very different from that character. But that is the whole fun of acting.
What would be your ideal role?
There is no perfect role for an actor. I don't believe s/he can be completely happy.
What about television serials? Will you give them a second chance after your popular serial Amaanat?
Right now I am involved with films. I don't think I can handle both. I have no time for television now.
How different is the setup between television and films?
It is a completely different canvas. Films cater to very different class of people compared to serials where you concentrate on housewives and families. Films also get you international exposure. That is not possible with serials.
When are your next films scheduled for release?
Releases are not an actor's priority. Our job is to act. But I guess they will be released after the World Cup.
Do you watch cricket?
I don't watch cricket at all. I am not a cricket buff. But I do feel sad when India loses. Kapil Dev is my all-time favourite. He is a real hero.
How did you manage to act in Lagaan without following cricket?
If you notice, in Lagaan, the characters and story were more important than cricket.
Do you feel that Lagaan put you into the stereotypical village lass slot?
No, I have never felt that. I was part of the film which was nominated for an Oscar. That image of a villager has given me international fame. I am very proud of that village girl's role.
Do you think people will accept you in other glamorous roles?
Yes they will. People accepted the character of Gauri in Lagaan and not me, Gracy Singh.
When I could play Gauri, with whom I could not identify with, why not other glamorous roles? I managed to look like Gauri. I don't feel other roles will be difficult for me to play.
Are you satisfied with the way your career is going?
Yes, very much.