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'Bipasha Basu is my conscience'

By Nithya Ramani
Last updated on: May 08, 2008 15:43 IST
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This year will see quite a few new faces, and one of them is 22-year old Maradona Rebello. The Mumbai-based actor will make his debut in Sanjay Gupta's Pankh, which is being produced by White Feather Films.

The film also stars Bipasha Basu and is being directed by National Award winning director Sudipto Chattopadhyay. Read on to know more about the newbie. Excerpts:

Were you named after Argentine football legend Diego Maradona?

Yes. My father is a huge football fan. I was born in 1986, in the Football World Cup season. I think my father was all excited about the match and decided to name me after Maradona.

Tell us about yourself.

I am a Mumbai boy. I wanted to become a doctor when I was young. Later, I enrolled myself in St Xaviers' BMM (Bachelors in Mass Media) course.

How did get into the glamour world?

I knew many models, who told me to start modelling too. So I did. I did shows for L'Oreal. I also did theatre workshops and a lot of commercials.

Why didn't you try television?

Television serials are over the top. I am not interested in them. Not that they are not good, but it's not the kind of work that I would want to do. 

How did you get Pankh?

I heard about the auditions, and tried my luck. There were 250 others, who also auditioned for the role. Sudipto sir [Chattopadhyay, director] liked me. I dropped out from college for a year for this film.

Sudipto sir asked me to watch some 50 films to understand what he wanted out of me. I watched all kinds of cinema --Spanish, French, Chinese, Italian and Indian. He taught me a lot, and that's how I improved my knowledge on different types of cinema. Pankh has been a very good platform for me as an actor, to explore my talent.

How was experience working with seasoned actors like Lillete Dubey and Bipasha Basu?

It was an enriching experience. They supported me a lot.

Sudipto sir took me to Bipasha's house to introduce us, so that we could break the ice and get comfortable. Bipasha is a sweet lady, very approachable. I think she is the only actress who has her head on her shoulders and does not throw her attitude.

Lillete maam was very supportive too. She plays my mother; Bipasha plays my conscience.

Tell us more about Bipasha's role.

She is an imaginary person. She is my conscience, who taunts me about whatever I do. She is who I want her to be -- good or bad, depending upon my state of mind.

 What is the film about?

The story is about a boy, who is promoted as a girl in films for the sake of money. His mother makes him act like a girl in films, as she needs money. The whole film takes place in one day.

Tell us about your first shot with Bipasha.

My first scene with Bipasha was a six minute long scene, shot in Subhash Ghai's Whistling Woods. We did the shot in just two takes. The whole film was shot in 24 days, split over three months. Every scene is memorable.

 Does the film have any songs or dance numbers?

There are two songs but no dance numbers, as this is a dark film. It is not a commercial film.

When is the film releasing?

Sudipto sir will know better. He wants to take the film to a few film festivals abroad and then release it in India. It should release in June or July.

How good are you at dancing?

Well, I have a football player's legs (laughs). Jokes apart, I can dance pretty well. I have been a state level Judo player so I have strong legs.

What kind of films would you want to do?

I like to do sensible and serious roles rather than commercial films. I don't mind acting in Bollywood but I would prefer sensible scripts like Taare Zameen Par.

My favourite films are Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaenge, Ek Haseena Thi and Iqbal. Some of my Hollywood favourites are The Eye, Go Paris, Children of Heaven and French film Nuovo Cinema Paradiso. This film talks about a student teacher relationship and it reminds me of my relationship with my sir.

How are your parents reacting to your decisions?

They are my back-bone. They have always supported me. They know that I have my head on my shoulders and I know what I am doing. Whatever I have done, I have done it with their consent. When I told them about Pankh, they immediately asked me to go ahead. They have always been by my side.

To what extent has the director pushed the envelope?

To the extent that nobody has done so before. If this film does not clear the censor board then may be it will not release at all. It has crossed all limits. The script demands such scenes to bring out the real essence of the story, so it is very important that it releases the way it has been shot.

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Nithya Ramani