'You don't have to spend money to impress or wear certain clothes for attention. That's not my job. My job is to act.'
'If people like my work, they will like me.'
Disha Patani describes herself as 'independent and hardworking,' and is all set to use her skills in the Dhoni biopic, called MS Dhoni: The Untold Story.
We've already seen her before in the Befikra song with rumoured boyfriend Tiger Shroff, and we know she can dance! Of course, she says loyally that no one can match Tiger in this skill.
But the man who really lights up her face is Jackie Chan.
The pretty actress will be seen with the action hero in Kung Fu Yoga, readying for release in February.
In this exclusive interview, Disha Patani talks to Jahnavi Patel/ Rediff.com about her big fat debut film, link-up rumours with Tiger and much more.
Is acting a natural follow-up to modelling?
I wouldn't say that. Modelling is completely different from acting. They are two skills that you can't compare.
I was more of a commercial model, I wasn't into ramp walks or photo shoots.
I love the camera, and always wanted to be in front of it. So I thought let me be greedier and try for films.
Commercials are 20 seconds long, so you don't get to experiment with your characters. But in films, you get to try out your acting skills.
Why did you opt for a biopic as your debut film?
I never thought of becoming an actor, so the last thing on my mind was about the kind of story I'd debut in.
Stories matter to me. I look for a good script, story and a strong part.
It doesn't matter how long it is or if I am looking glamorous or not, the character matters to me.
You play Dhoni's former girlfriend, whom he apparently loses in an accident.
But who says I die? You have to watch the film to know what happens!
How crucial is your part in the film?
It's very crucial and a very emotional part of the film.
I guess Dhoni became Dhoni somewhere because of her. Whatever Dhoni has become is because of this girl.
People always have expectations from a Neeraj Pandey production. Did you feel any pressure when you were approached for this film?
I was so scared. I didn't feel the pressure but I wondered how I would impress him and be on his level of acting.
But when I met him, he was so simple and clear about what he wanted. He makes you feel comfortable.
Once you know what he wants from you, everything is simple.
Your debut film will release this week. How nervous are you?
I am so blank!
I am supposed to be anxious and nervous but I don't feel anything now.
By the time the release date comes closer, I will start feeling the butterflies (in my stomach).
Right now, I think I have done my part with full honesty. We have made the film with a lot of effort and hard work. We are not nervous about the fact that people are going to judge us.
The trailer has got a good reaction, so that makes you feel lighter. People have really liked me in it.
Do you like sports?
Yes. I was a state level basketball player.
I used to play all games, except cricket and football.
I was a tomboy in school.
You're a fabulous dancer.
I am still learning. I would love to do a dance film if somebody gives me this opportunity. I love dancing.
How important is an actor's debut film?
It's very important.
Of course you're judged on every single step that you take once you come to Bollywood. People want you to be perfect for some reason. But nobody can be perfect; imperfection is a part of life.
The first step is the most important, people say. It will help get you another film.
You have a great figure. How tough is it to maintain it?
You have to make compromises where food is concerned.
Luckily, I like gymnastics and dancing. I don't have to do much hard work because I enjoy it.
Also, it's not about the body, it's about your health. When you eat junk food, you don't realise how you damage your body and your skin from inside.
Once you change your diet, you'll see the difference.
How tough and expensive is an aspiring actress' life?
I don't care about what brands I wear. The only brand I wear all the time is Forever 21, not because it's cheap but because I love it.
You don't have to spend money to impress or wear certain clothes for attention. That's not my job. My job is to act.
If people like my work, they will like me. You can go for a thousand events but at the end of the day, when your film comes out, that's your result. They will either like you or not.
There was a report stating you are dating Tiger Shroff.
Who said yes? Did I say yes? Did he say yes? How can that be confirmed?
People confirm on their own and that's the best part. Nobody asks us.
They like to make their own stories.
It doesn't bother me.
You are doing a film with Jackie Chan called Kung Fu Yoga. What was it like working with him?
It's my dream come true.
He is someone I admire. I've been watching him since I was a kid. He inspires me.
I have learnt so much from him that everyday I would pinch myself and ask, 'Am I dreaming? Am I actually with him?'
While we were shooting, I would always have a smile on my face and he used to wonder why. He used to think I was crack!
How was the first meeting with him like?
There would be dinner (outings) every night in China, they love gatherings. Friends come over and have a big dinner. They have this huge table, which revolves, so there are a lot of dishes going around.
So I had gone with the cast for a dinner hosted by Jackie. He hosts them often, maybe thrice a week. He calls everyone from the team, including the light men.
I was so nervous that I had butterflies in my stomach.
He came up and said 'hi' to me, and I was like, 'Oh my god! He said hi to me!'
I asked him for an autograph and he replied, 'Disha, we are going to do a film together. Why do you need an autograph?'
I still have the autograph he gave me.
When will King Fu Yoga release?
It will release in February I guess, around the Chinese New Year.