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Meet Dev Patel's sexy new heroine

Last updated on: February 22, 2011 17:45 IST

Meet Dev Patel's sexy new heroine

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Sonil Dedhia in Mumbai

After Freida Pinto, Dev Patel has found a new heroine in Mumbai.

Living in the western suburb of Lokhandwala, Tena Desai is all set to find her place in the sun with her Hollywood film, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

The film also stars Judy Dench and Bill Nighy.

Tena, who came to Mumbai four years ago from Bangalore, talks to Sonil Dedhia about the film, and her Bollywood aspirations.

So how did this Hollywood film happen? 

The casting director knew me as I had done some television commercials. After some auditions, things started falling into place. One day, I got a call saying that I was on board.

What was your reaction then?

I was very excited. Who wouldn't be? When I came to know that I was doing the film, I started running around the house like a mad woman! (laughs)

Getting a Hollywood film is a dream for any actor, especially with so many big names involved. It's an honour to share screen space with Dev Patel and Judi Dench and working with director John Madden (Shakespeare In Love).


Image: Tena Desae

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'Dev Patel is very different from his character in Slumdog Millionaire'

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Have you seen John Madden's previous works?

Yes. I've seen Shakespeare In Love and was completely blown by his work. 

When I went on the sets, people would talk about his other films too, especially Her Majesty, Mrs Brown. I managed to watch that. His work is just amazing.

How was your experience of working with Dev Patel?

I had an image of him in my mind. When I met him, there was a huge difference from what I expected him to be, and what he really was. He is very chirpy, young, energetic and fun to be with -- very different from his character in Slumdog Millionaire.


Image: Tena Desae

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'The director did not want to meet me because he thought I was a model and couldn't act'

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Tell us about yourself.

I was born and brought up in Bangalore. After my Bachelor's degree in Business Management, I participated in Channel V's Get Gorgeous. I signed a contract with the agency that runs the show, and have been doing a lot of television commercials in the last three or four years.

You're doing a Hindi film as well, called Yeh Faasley, with Anupam Kher.

The film's director Yogesh Mittal had seen my photographs. He did not want to meet me because he thought I was a model and couldn't act. My agency pushed him to have a meeting with me, so he did. He gave me one of the most difficult scenes to enact. I guess I did it halfway decently because he asked for another audition. That convinced him to sign me up.

Tell us about your character in the film.

The story is about a father and daughter relationship. My character stays in a boarding school, and has a great relationship with her dad. After she comes back, she gets to know things about her father, which are completely different from what she knows of her father. So she sets out to pursue the truth.


Image: Tena Desai and Anupam Kher in Yeh Faasley

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'I am a spoilt girl'

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What kind of relationship do you share with your father?

I am a spoilt girl. I get what I want. We have constant arguments but they're all baseless. He is quite strict, and has his set of dos and don'ts. That's just to make sure I don't get carried away. He pampers me a lot.

What was the biggest lesson you got from Anupam Kher?

He told me that the difference between a good and a bad actor is conviction.

Shooting with him was brilliant. He helped me a lot, as he has worked with newcomers before. He knows how to explain things and would take personal interest in my costumes, make-up and my scenes. I couldn't have asked for a better start to my career.


Image: Tena Desae

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'Madhuri Dixit has been my inspiration'

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What kind of roles interest you?

I have done three films so far (including Sharafat Gayi Tel Lene, starring Zayed Khan and Ranvijay Singh). They will release this year. All my roles have been different. I didn't want to get stereotyped.

I don't have any formal training but at some point of time, I will join an acting school.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

Madhuri Dixit. I love watching her. Madhuri can even make a mediocre character look so important. She always gives a powerful performance. She looks so gorgeous even today.

Image: Tena Desae

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