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'The industry isn't welcoming for a newcomer'

By Rajul Hegde
Last updated on: September 16, 2015 18:52 IST
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'Madhur Bhandarkar found five girls, who are poles apart but make a lovely cocktail when mixed together.'

Say hello to Calendar girl Kyra Dutt.

Kyra Dutt

Bengali girl Kyra Dutt is all set to taste showbiz with her debut role in Madhur Bhandarkar’s Calendar Girls.

Dutt has modelled for several brands before she started acting, and calls herself a real-life calendar girl.

She tells contributor Rajul Hegde who she really is. 

Tell us about yourself.

I started modelling at 15, while I was still in school. I modelled for a jewellery brand, and got noticed.

I had to stop modelling as my school was very strict. The moment I finished school, I enrolled in Mumbai’s St Xavier’s College. I did a lot of ads then.

I joined theatre as well, and that’s when I realised where my true calling was.

I dropped out after my first year in college because I knew this is the profession I wanted to be in.

How did your family react to your decision of moving to Mumbai?

My mother has always been very supportive. She used to be a theatre actress when I was young, so she’s been an inspiration to me. Now, she is a homemaker.

I come from a broken family. Both my parents have remarried and I am close to both. 

Kyra Dutt

Madhur Bhandarkar said you were the last girl to be signed on for the film.

Yes. I was picked up by (photographer) Atul Kasbekar for the Kingfisher calendar in 2013.

When I was modelling, I knew I wanted to be an actress. When I got to know that Madhur Bandarkar was making a film on calendar girls, I thought it was an opportunity as I was one myself.

When I met with Madhur sir, he asked me to audition.

I did, and everyone told me I had nailed it.

But soon I heard that four girls have already signed the film while I wasn’t. So I gave up hope and went back to Kolkata. Then, I got a call saying I was selected.

How was it shooting for your first feature film?

I was very surprised when I saw how chilled out Madhur Bhandarkar’s sets are!

He is the coolest director to work with. He makes you very comfortable. He is fond of spontaneous actors, who surrender themselves to the director’s vision.

When I would give my shots, I always felt that I could do better and I was never happy. But I would be amazed when he would show me the monitor and say he had got the best shot.

One of the Calendar Girls plays a Bengali. Would you have preferred to play one since you are one?

That role was already taken and I wouldn’t exchange my role with anyone. My character Sharon Pinto is from Goa. She’s a fun loving, adventurous girl, who opts for a bikini shoot for a calendar.

I can relate to my character, as I also had no clue what this industry was all about. I saw the real side of it while I was working as a model. Sharon too sees the good and dark side of the industry.

How much of dark side have you gone through?

I would say 50-50.

It’s your choice, and it depends on you how you treat yourself.

The industry isn’t welcoming for a newcomer, so I had to struggle. But people like Madhur sir helped me to bag my first film.

How is it shooting with the gang of girls?

The five girls are the heroes of this film. It’s great that we got to do performance-oriented roles with good content.

Madhur sir found five girls, who are poles apart but make a lovely cocktail when mixed together!

What kind of reactions have you been getting for the promos?

I am getting a great response for the songs, especially Awesome Mora Mahiya. 

You are already working on your second film, Ken Ghosh’s XXX, produced by Ekta Kapoor.

I am very lucky that I have been able to portray two different roles so early in my career.

Coming from a certain background, I wasn't sure of certain things when XXX came my way. Initially, I had refused (because of the bold content) but Ken called me and explained the role to me.

When I read the script, I was blown.

Yes, there are some intimate scenes but they have been shot beautifully with a female DOP (Director of Photography) in a closed set with limited people.

What kind of films would you wish to do in future?

I would like to work with actors like Ranbir Kapoor, Ranveer Singh and Varun Dhawan. Today, there are great bunch of actors. My dream came true when I did a film with Madhur.

If there is any other director, who is an actor’s director, it is Sanjay Leela Bhansali. I want to work with him. Look at Aishwarya Rai and Deepika Padukone in his films. But I think that happens once you become a star.

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Rajul Hegde / in Mumbai