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'I don't have a crush on Shah Rukh'

Last updated on: October 20, 2011 16:20 IST

'I don't have a crush on Shah Rukh'

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Sonil Dedhia in Mumbai

Shahana Goswami is quite the unconventional actress, who has won acclaim in contrasting films like Rock On!! and Firaaq.

The young actress will now be seen in Shah Rukh Khan's Ra.One, where she plays his work colleague.

She talks to Sonil Dedhia about sharing space with the superstar in a superhero movie.

Did the fact that Shah Rukh was starring in Ra.One attract you to the film?

Yes. I have always admired Shah Rukh.

On or off-screen, he can easily charm you. I was excited to share screen space with him and watch him in action. The film is going to be a milestone in many ways.


Image: Shahana Goswami

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'Ra.One is Anubhav Sinha's best project'

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You have designed G.One's look in the film.

I play Jenny Nair, a gaming technician who is a colleague of Shekhar Subramaniam (Shah Rukh Khan). Our team of three, including Akashi (Tom Wu), head the gaming department in a company. While SRK's character handles the software department, the graphic designing is done by me. So that's why
my character is responsible for creating the look for G.One for the video game.

In the film, my character is shown to be close to Shah Rukh's family, especially his son.

Tell us a bit about Anubhav Sinha, the director.

I think Ra.One has to be his best project. His earlier films had different action sequences that no one had seen before. With Ra.One, he is going to prove that once again. He is a person who wears his heart on his sleeve. This film has given him the canvas to play and experiment with a lot of things.


Image: Shahana Goswami
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
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'People will see me in a new avatar in this film'

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How much do you generally surrender yourself to the director?

Two hundred per cent. I don't like taking decisions on my own. If a director tells me to do it my way, I will do it. But I need proper feedback about what I have done. It's a director's film and there are certain qualities and nuances that he wants in a particular character.

As an actor, I can play a character in 10 different ways, so I need to know what the director wants.

Your look in the film is very different from your previous films.

The kind of characters that I have played so far required me to look in a certain way. The look was mature and a little older. In this film, my character is more or less the same age as I am in real life.

Jenny, my character in the film, lives in London and is very sophisticated and modern. It's good for me that people who have always seen me in one mould will be seeing me in a new avatar.


Image: Shahana Goswami
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
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'I love being around SRK'

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Tell us about the other side of SRK.

Everyone has a crush on him, be it a man or woman. He is everything that one expects him not to be. He might be in the middle of an important conversation and if someone walks in and is standing, he will grab a chair and make the person feel comfortable.

The kind of stories he has to tell and the kind of life he has led is so inspiring. His energy is something else and no one can match up to it. He is always focused and very dedicated. He has great timing and is a very spontaneous actor. He will really catch you by surprise by doing things in a certain way. It was very easy to act with him. I love being around him (Smiles).

Do you have a crush on him?

Strangely, while growing up, I didn't have a crush on him. I liked him and watched his movies, and felt like doing a film with him. I was actually blown away by Aamir Khan! (Laughs). I am a huge Aamir Khan fan.


Image: Shahana Goswami
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
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'No one can make a woman believe in love like SRK'

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What did you learn from Shah Rukh?

He is so fresh in his approach. He is constantly doing something or the other. He said this lovely thing that an actor's productive work before the camera is just for two hours in a 10 or 12 hour shift, so, you have to give your hundred per cent and be completely focused during those two hours. You need to conserve your energy to give your best shot.

You are also seen shaking a leg with SRK and Kareena Kapoor in the film.

(Laughs) I love dancing but I was caught off guard during the shoot because I didn't know I had to dance. It was very impulsive; I had to learn the steps in 15 minutes. The other problem was that my outfit was not helping, so I had to slit my gown. I was also wearing high heels, which made it more difficult. But when you have SRK and Kareena Kapoor dancing alongside, you just have to go with the flow.

Who do you prefer, the romantic SRK or the action-packed SRK?

(Thinks) I would go with the romantic Shah Rukh Khan. I can't think of anyone who so convincingly can make a woman believe about love as he does. The way he looks into the eyes of the woman, he just makes you feel how deeply or madly a person can love someone.

On the other hand, he is very good playing a negative character as well.


Image: Shahana Goswami

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'I'd love to do an action film like Tomb Raider'

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Which are your favourite SRK films?

I loved him in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Dil Se and Chake De India.

What was it like working with Kareena Kapoor?

As an actor, she is very natural. She knows exactly how she is going to play her scene and is very focused. 

You seem to be the sort who would be particular about the finer details.

I have been very instinctive when it comes to selecting a film. I have always been spontaneous. I am not a person who would rehearse at home and prepare my lines and go on the sets and give the shot. I like to be on the sets with all the people around and get a complete feel of the environment.

I am at my creative best when I am with my co-actors and directors.

Did your interest in alternative cinema happen by chance or by choice?

I don't think it was a conscious decision. The kind of films that came my way were slightly offbeat and my characters were mature. It's been a little difficult to change the perception people have about me. An actor requires different skills and when you are not trained, it is easier to do things instinctively and that is what I did.

Over time I have tried to break the mould and have done different things. I would love to do a good situational comedy or an action film like Tomb Raider. That would really challenge me as an actor.


Image: Shahana Goswami

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'Rock On has been my only commercial success'

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Do you agree that because of the kind of films you have made, filmmakers perceive you in a certain way and so probably you are not getting offers for the kind of films you would like to do?

Yes, there is a high possibility of that, but as I said, that was not my intention. This is an industry where things happen so fast that people do not have the time to go into details. Whatever is seen is what is perceived and I don't blame anyone for it. I don't have any such reservations and I always say however big or small a character is, it will all depend on the kind of performance one gives.

You seem to be experimenting with roles that earn critical acclaim but the box office collections have been a big question. Is getting a commercial success important for you?

It feels bad when films don't work at the box office. It is the producer or the director who has a tough time dealing with that situation. As an actor, it is relatively easier to come out of such a situation. Rock On has been my only commercial success. Firaaq and Honeymoon Travels were more critically acclaimed films. The success of a film always adds to the experience of working in the film but at the same time a failure does not take away anything; in fact, it makes you learn more.


Image: Shahana Goswami

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'I'm a part of Heroine and Deepa Mehta's Midnight's Children'

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You are very active on Twitter, what kind of response have you been getting for Ra.One?

Everyone is eagerly waiting for the film. A lot of my fans are happy that I am a part of the film and a lot of people have come to know that I am a part of Ra.One. There is a lot of buzz and sometimes I get to know things about the film that I have not heard before!

What do you think of the film?

I have no doubt that the film is going to have a humungous opening. It is wonderful to be a part of this project and it is something very new to me as I have never experienced something that is so big and so huge and I am part of this excitement.

You think you are a saleable star today?

I don't know what a saleable star is. I don't think anybody besides the Khans and the established actors are really saleable stars. Today there is so much money riding on films.

The only people who make money out of a mediocre script are the established actors. Whether you are a newcomer or a Ranbir Kapoor what is important is that the film needs to work and for that you need to have a complete change.

Are you a part of Madhur Bhandarkar's Heroine?

Yes. 

I am also doing an international film called Vara, directed by Khyentse Norbu Rinpoche, where I play a dancer. I am learning Bharatnatyam for it and I am really excited and looking forward to it.

I am also in Deepa Mehta's Midnight's Children, which will release next year.


Image: Shahana Goswami

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