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Meet the hottie in Let's Dance

June 18, 2009 14:49 IST

Meet the hottie in Let's Dance

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This Friday, US-based actress Gayatri Patel will dance her way to Indian screens. Her debut is Arif Sheikh's Let's Dance. Patcy N caught up with the dancing sensation for more.

Tell us about yourself.

I was born in Nashville, Tennessee. I came to Mumbai four years ago but kept returning to the US, as I did not know anyone here. I stayed at various places like the ISKON temple in Juhu (in northwest Mumbai), a paying guest accommodation and a rented place. Finally, I bought a house here. My father is a doctor. He was very supportive of my decision to come to India.


Image: Gayatri Patel in Let's Dance

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'I thought of becoming an actress like Madhuri Dixit'

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When did you know you wanted to be an actor?

When I was eight, I took part in a local Indian dance cultural show. I won and kept winning the title three years in a row. I knew I was good at it. That's when I thought of becoming an actress like Madhuri Dixit, who was a good dancer as well as an actress. I've watched many of her films as a child.

What did you do when you came to Mumbai?

I had learned Kathak in the US and in Bangalore. When I came to Mumbai, I learnt it again from Vijayshree Choudhary -- a disciple of Pandit Birju Maharaj. As I didn't know Hindi, the first thing I did was join Hindi classes. Leena Mehta, who trained the actors in Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na, helped me with my diction.

I also enrolled in Kishore Namit Kapoor's acting classes and took private tuitions from theatre personality Satyadev Dubey for six months. I also observed Makhrand Deshpande during rehearsals. I have done Neeraj Kabir's Hamlet.


Image: Gayatri Patel in Let's Dance

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'My dad bought me a house after seeing how much rent I was paying'

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When did you go about meeting producers and directors?

I got my portfolio done and auditioned for ads and films. They were more like meetings with the producers rather than auditions. But those films never happened, which was when I realised that these were not the people I wanted to work with. Gradually, I made a few friends and got this offer.

So for the four years that you were here, you didn't hold a job?

I did two ads and a music video with Jugal Hansraj. My dad took care of most of the finances. He bought me a house after seeing how much rent I was paying.

How did you get the offer for Let's Dance?

Arif Sheikh wanted a girl who could dance. I acted a scene from the film and gave him my home video. He saw it and I was selected.


Image: Gayatri Patel in Let's Dance

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'The toughest scene was dancing on top of a moving bus'

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What is Let's Dance about?

It is about a simple girl who loves dancing and wants to be a star. She runs a dance school and is on her way to stardom when she meets some street kids who she thinks deserve to showcase their talent.

Weren't you nervous? After all, this is your first time in front of the camera...

Yes. I had faced the camera before but I was still nervous. But the fact that I could relate to the character, and Arif's patience helped me a lot.

Any tough scenes?

My first shoot was in Bangkok for a song and dance sequence. The shot was to take place on an aeroplane, a water raft, a bus and an industrial crane. Except for plane, everything else was moving while I was dancing. I had to look as though I wasn't scared when in fact, I was terrified as I was wearing heels.

My favourite scene in the film is the climax sequence.


Image: Gayatri Patel in Let's Dance

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'People did make passes at me'

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Did you have to go through the casting couch?

I was very scared. If someone even shook my hand the wrong way, I would never go to that person's office again. Being a woman in any industry, I knew that there would be problems. In fact, we face it more in the glamour business though personally, I have not come across any. There were a few people who would call up at 11:30 pm for meetings. I always avoided such meetings. But, yes, people did make passes at me.

Is it easy to get in Bollywood?

No, it is not. A producer spends a lot of money and he would rather go for someone bankable rather than a newcomer. There's a chance if you are a star kid.


Image: Gayatr Patel in Let's Dance

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