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'As long as I am working, I am happy'

Last updated on: August 04, 2016 16:58 IST

'I don’t think people could connect with me in Bigg Boss, since I had a short stint in the house. With Jhalak, I want to have a connection with the audience because I feel I have a connection with Indians. That is why I have left my country, my family and friends, and am here.'

Nora Fatehi enjoys her time on Jhalak Dhikhhla Jaa 9.

IMAGE: Nora Fatehi/ Instagram

Former Bigg Boss contestant Nora Fatehi is all set to sizzle in the ninth season of Jhalak Dhikhhla Jaa.

Of Moroccan origins, Nora made her acting debut with the wildlife thriller Roar - Tigers of the Sundarbans, which sank without a trace. She was recently seen in an item song in Rocky Handsome.

Nora tells contributor Rajul Hegde how good she is at dancing.

So, how good are you at dancing?

I am a good, free-spirited dancer, not a trained one.

During my school days, I wanted to train in dance. I had many opportunities to go to big dance schools but my parents did not support me. They wanted me to concentrate on my studies.

But I discovered that I am a good observer and could learn dance through watching videos.

When I was young, I liked belly dancing, so I would watch a lot of professional belly dancers. It took quite some time to learn the dance technique but I did.

Quite a few contestants, including you, reportedly felt that it was unfair to include a choreographer (Salman Yusuf Khan) as a contestant on the show.

There are reasons for that.

He is above Jhalak. He has already won a reality show in the past. He is one of India’s best dancers. So I feel India’s best dancers should be on an international level, which Salman is capable of.

At the same time, I feel his performance will push everyone to perform better. That's good for the viewers as well as the show.

IMAGE: Nora Fatehi with her partner Cornel Rodrigues in Jhalak Dhikhhla Jaa. Photograph: Nora Fatehi/ Instagram.

Has Bigg Boss helped you to get better work in the industry?

Definitely. People know who I am and that's a step forward.

I don’t think people could connect with me in Bigg Boss, since I had a short stint in the house. With Jhalak, I want to have a connection with the audience because I feel I have a connection with Indians. That is why I have left my country, my family and friends, and am here.

Are you in touch with Bigg Boss host Salman Khan?

No. But when we bump into each other at events, we wish each other. 

You did a party song in John Abraham's Rocky Handsome but unfortunately, the film didn’t do well. Did that disappoint you? 

The song did well, people were talking about it.

My job is done after the song released. Also, I needed something after Bigg Boss, and was really happy that the song was a hit.

I really wanted the film to do well because I liked it. John looked fit and awesome. His action was mind-blowing.

Now I am doing Jhalak. Things are moving slowly but as long as I am not stuck, I am happy.

IMAGE: Nora Fatehi in the Rock Tha Party song in Rocky Handsome.

Are you dating actor Angad Bedi?

No. We are trying to know each other and figure things out. Right now, I am focusing on work. He is well-mannered and patient, and understands this industry as well. When I get stressed, he's a great person to go to for advice. 

How is the industry treating you?

Acting and dance is my passion. As a newcomer, we need different opportunities to prove ourselves.

As long as I am working, I am happy. People will notice my talent. But you need to have patience, as it is a slow process. 

You are quite comfortable in Hindi.

I am from Morocco. The Muslim Arab culture reminds me of India.

I grew up around Indian people, all my friends are Indians. When I was 15, I moved to Saudi Arabia for three years. All my teachers were Indian. Most of the students were Indians and Pakistanis. But I did not learn Hindi there. 

Five months after I came to Mumbai, I got myself a Hindi teacher. He would train me with film dialogues. I would also watch a lot of Hindi films and television shows. I would write down the phrases I didn’t understand and ask him about them later.

I was anti-social for a year. I just stayed home and worked (on myself). 

IMAGE: Nora Fatehi.

Are you open to daily telly soaps?

I was offered a daily soap after Bigg Boss. The concept was similar to Fitoor. 

Giving an audition for a daily show was a big thing for someone who didn’t know Hindi till a few years ago. 

Your voice gets dubbed in films if your accent is not right but in daily soaps, you have to get it right. So I really worked hard on it, with the help of my teacher.

They called for a look test and I nailed it. But when they wanted to start, I had to think it over because I was waiting for Jhalak. So I said no. 

Any films in the pipeline?

I have only one -- a psychological thriller called My Birthday Song, opposite Sanjay Suri.

Rajul Hegde / in Mumbai