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'I'm non-controversial, so I don't get any offers'

Last updated on: August 24, 2011 15:37 IST

'I'm non-controversial, so I don't get any offers'

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Rajul Hegde in Mumbai

Actress Meghna Naidu began her career with the sizzling music video Kaliyon Ka Chaman. She went on to act in B-grade films like Hawas and Rain, and later moved on to act in southern films.

This week, she returns to Bollywood with Rivaaz. She does not wear her regular sexy look here, and in fact, is seen in a rather unglamorous role.
The film deals with prostitution within the family.

Meghna talks to Rajul Hegde about her experience of working in the film and why she chose an unglamorous role.

How did Rivaaz happen?

When the director Ashokji (Ashok Nanda) offered me this role, I asked him why me? He had seen me in a coffee shop without make-up, so he probably felt that I could pull off the character.

What was your reaction when you heard the script?

The story came as a shock to me. I knew about family prostitution but I didn't know it still exists in several states of India.

My director did a lot of research which he showed me and I was convinced that it was true. So I agreed to act in the film, which will help the cause.


Image: Meghna Naidu

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'I thought people will not accept me in this role as they have always seen me in glamorous roles'

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What is your character like in the film?

Rivaaz is set in a village where there is a rivaaz where the men push their daughters into prostitution, and make a living out of it.

I play one of the three sisters who are forced into prostitution by the family. However, my character, Chanda, doesn't do well because she is neither good looking nor interested in dressing up.

She doesn't attract customers and hence cannot earn money to feed her family. Her brother beats her and abuses her in front of everyone.

Did you have any apprehension about playing such a role?

It was a big decision for me because I thought people will not accept me in this role as they have always seen me in glamorous roles.

But you can't do the same thing all the time; you have to take a risk at some point in your career. I really liked the story and I am glad that I did the film.


Image: Meghna Naidu

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'They had to put on make-up to make me look ugly'

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How was it playing this unglamorous woman?

It was much easier than playing a glamorous role! I had no make-up in the film. The preparation took a month because I was told by the director not to visit a beauty parlour for my eyebrows.

I had to just wash my face and stand in the sun, wait till I sweat, and then go for the shot! I loved it because I would be the first one to get ready. Plus, I got a couple of hours more sleep.

Any interesting incidents while shooting for the film?

On the first day of the shoot, when I walked in for the shot, Ashokji asked me to go and wash off my make-up, when I hadn't worn any. For some scenes, they had to put on make-up to make me look ugly!

Deepti Naval and Vijay Raaz didn't notice me when I went on the set on the first day. I had to go and introduce myself. Deepti told my director it's not fair that he has made me look so ugly, and instead I should be the hot sex bomb in the film.


Image: Meghna Naidu

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'These customs should be stopped'

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What was it like working with a senior actress like Deepti Naval?

She was very helpful to everyone. Sometimes, while giving the shots, I would be out of focus. She would tell me to ask for another shot and give some tips to improvise.

What do you personally feel about the issue of prostitution in the family?

I didn't know that it's happening on such a big scale in our country. In the south they are called Devdasis and the practice is on the same lines. I don't know whether I can personally do anything, but this film will definitely help the cause. These customs should be stopped.

This film was chosen for the New York Film Festival in 2007.

Yes. We got a standing ovation for the film. I was so thrilled to be part of the film festival because I had never ever been to any of the awards functions earlier. I am happy that the film is finally releasing in India. It got delayed due to some issue.


Image: Meghna Naidu

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'I'm ready to take part in reality shows now'

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Off late, you have not been seen in any Bollywood film. Is that because you are not getting any offers?

I was busy with the south films and was comfortable in my own zone. I didn't make any effort to get work in Bollywood.

Actually, I didn't get any offers because people thought I have settled down south. Since I have come here now, I am meeting people and saying I am interested in work. Let's see what happens.

What kind of films did you do in the south?

I have done both glam and traditional roles in Tamil films. I have done four or five items songs in Telugu films. I get good money for item songs (grins). I have done one Bengali film and am currently shooting for a Kannada film.
 
You are not seen much on reality shows after Khatron Ke Khiladi?

I did Dancing Queen and Khatron Ke Khiladi.  I am non-controversial so I don't get any offers (smiles). I was offered the first three seasons of Bigg Boss but I didn't have the guts to take part in the show then. Now I am ready for it, but haven't got any offers. Could be because I am boring!


Image: Meghna Naidu

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