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'I want to become the next Madhuri Dixit'

Last updated on: December 18, 2012 12:43 IST

'I want to become the next Madhuri Dixit'

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Nishi Tiwari in Mumbai

Actress Sandeepa Dhar, who made her Bollywood debut with the forgettable 2010 film Isi Life Mein, will be seen next in Salman Khan's Dabangg 2 in a significant role.

A trained dancer -- she's learnt Bharatnatyam for eight years, jazz from Shiamak Daver and jazz and contemporary from choreographer Terrence Lewis -- Dhar is understandably excited about her first big project.

The actress talks to Nishi Tiwari about her new film, her struggle to gain a foothold in an industry that can be hard on outsiders, and her ultimate inspiration.

How did you land the role in Dabangg 2?

I was shooting for a Viacom 18 film in New Delhi when I got a call from Arbaaz (Khan, director of Dabangg 2).

He told me that he was directing the sequel to Dabangg and asked me if I'd be interested in doing the film.

Since Arbaaz made the call himself, I knew it had to be a significant role.


Image: Sandeepa Dhar


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'Salman is a very funny person'

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Tell us about your character in the film.

I play Anjali, a small town girl who lives in Kanpur with her grandfather. Her parents are dead.

She tries to avoid all kinds of conflict since she doesn't want any trouble for her old grandfather.

I can't reveal anything else about my character because it'll be giving the film's plot away.

What was it like working with Salman Khan and Sonakshi Sinha?

All my scenes are with Salman. I don't have any scenes with Sonakshi.

Salman is a very funny person. This is my first film with him, although he did have a cameo in my debut film Isi Life Mein.

I was a little scared in the beginning of the shoot as I thought Salman was this serious person. But he made me very comfortable before we started shooting which was very important for our scenes together.

We worked in a very chilled out atmosphere, there was no stress.

I got to learn so much from him. He's always having fun on the sets, cracking jokes but he's also thinking about what he's going to do next in terms of his scenes and acting.


Image: Sandeepa Dhar


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'If people liked Dabangg, they'll love Dabangg 2'

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What did you do on the sets of the film when the shooting wasn't on?

We played a lot of games. During our shoot in Satara (a town in Maharashtra), Salman, Arbaaz and I would hit the gym after pack up every day. There would be a competition to see who stayed on the treadmill for the maximum time.

Salman -- the fitness freak that he is -- invariably won. Since Arbaaz is also big on workouts, I usually finished the last.

Have you seen Dabangg? Which of the two films do you think is better?

Dabangg 2 is obviously better since I'm a part of it!

Jokes apart, Dabangg 2 is much bigger in scale -- the fight scenes are crazy. If people liked Dabangg, they'll love Dabangg 2.


Image: Sandeepa Dhar


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'Even though my debut film didn't do well, my performance was appreciated'

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Another one of your upcoming films, Pappu And Golu, is nearly complete. What's that film about?

Pappu And Golu is the Viacom 18 film I was shooting for when I got the call from Arbaaz.

It's an exciting, madcap comedy. I'm very excited about my character in the film because it's very different from the real me and the work I've done before this.

My character in the film is an abusive, brash, crazy, wild girl. She is from Kashmir and has ambitious plans for her future.

It also stars the Delhi Belly boys Kunal Roy Kapur and Vir Das and is set to release in May 2013.

How has your debut film, Isi Life Mein, helped your film career?

That film gave me an entry in the industry.

Every film is an experience in itself. Even though my debut film didn't do well, my performance was appreciated and I got nominated for every debut award there was.

When your work is appreciated, people see your potential, it gives you confidence in your abilities, and you know you're doing something right.


Image: Sandeepa Dhar


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'Star kids are scrutinised more than outsiders'

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You were nominated for many awards for your debut film but your career hasn't taken off so well. Why is that?

I don't have a 'filmi' background so whatever I've got so far makes a huge difference.

I do wish that my career graph was better and I got big films to do. I'm confident that big films will happen to me eventually and I'll get where I want to be.

What's important is that I do the best with what I have right now. I hope all the films I turned down don't do well and I'm making all the right decisions!

How tough is the struggle to make it in Bollywood if you don't know the key people?

It's always good to have someone in the industry to guide you but that has its own disadvantages because star kids are scrutinised more than outsiders.

It works both ways.

After my debut film failed at the box office, I didn't have to struggle much because the people who'd seen the film knew that I could act.

I don't harp on failures. I take instant decisions, weigh my options and choose the best one.


Image: Sandeepa Dhar

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'I have seen Hum Aapke Hain Koun at least 20-25 times'

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What inspired you to become an actor?

Madhuri Dixit!

I have seen Hum Aapke Hain Koun...! at least 20-25 times. I think she's the only actress who's balanced everything in her acting career -- she's got the looks, she dances like a dream and is a great actress.

She's the complete package. I want to become the next Madhuri Dixit.

What's the one bit of advice you would give young actors trying to make a career in films?

It's very important to have patience and be grounded. You could have all the talent in the world but patience goes a long way while you're struggling to break in.


Image: Sandeepa Dhar

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