'Whenever we were low in energy and wanted support, we turned to him.'
'He has done a lot for me.'
'He did not leave any stone unturned to launch me.'
Model-turned-actress Warina Hussain makes her debut in Salman Khan's LoveYatri along with Aayush Sharma, Salman's brother-in-law.
Directed by debutant Abhiraj Minawala, the film has Aayush playing a garba teacher from Baroda who falls in love with Warina's NRI character.
"I still can't believe that my debut film is being backed by such a big banner," Warina tells Rediff.com contributor Ramesh S.
How nervous or excited are you?
I am super nervous and excited!
It feels like the final exam has been given and now, I'm waiting for the result.
How did you get this role?
I got a message from a coordinator to send my introduction video to get any movie role.
After a month, I got a call from (casting director) Mukesh Chhabra to give an audition.
I did that and got finalised for this role.
I did not know it was a Salman Khan film and that Aayush Sharma would be my co-star.
Later, I had a screen-test with Aayush and we got to know each other.
He messaged me to meet at Galaxy Theatre, where the whole team was present, including Salman Khan and Sonakshi Sinha.
The day before that, I was a normal person, and then suddenly, everything changed -- Salman sir was standing in front of me and Sonakshi was giving my signing amount!
I still can't believe that my debut film is being backed by such a big banner.
It's the perfect debut one can ever wish for.
How tough is it for a girl who has no mentor in the industry?
It's always tough.
Modeling has been my bread-and-butter.
Living alone in Mumbai is not easy. For instance, being a girl, you don't get an apartment to stay in.
Then, there's the trust, like whom should we trust, which auditions should one go to, which meetings must one avoid, whom should one meet...
In addition, at the end of every month, you have to figure out your budget and see how much money will be saved for rent, how much to save for future auditions...
I am not complaining.
I am a self-made person and am proud of what I have achieved today.
I have met a number of beautiful and talented girls during my auditions. From all those lakhs of people, I am grateful to get LoveYatri.
I have been told many times that just looking good is not enough. That's why I have worked a lot on myself. I have worked a lot on my Hindi.
After facing rejections while auditioning for roles, what motivated you to move on?
There were times where I wanted to give up.
But if you live alone, your profession becomes your bread and butter.
If you are in love with your profession there's only one direction to go, and that kept me going.
That's why I never accepted those failures and rejections.
What made you choose modeling as a career?
I started modeling because I wanted to become independent, and something in life.
It was just a random decision. Before that, I wanted to become a fashion designer.
Considering my present situation, I have landed in a good place now.
Did your family support you when you picked modeling as a career?
At first, my mother was totally against it because of the negative stories that we keep hearing.
Still, she shifted with me to Mumbai.
Later, she saw my progress and today, she is proud of my achievements.
Did you ever face the casting couch?
I will not deny that such things don't happen.
When I was in Delhi, I would get random and unknown calls from people who were always ready to prey on girls.
The best way to face such situations is to avoid or block such people.
The only thing I would like to advise girls out there that be smart and take suggestions from your close people in the industry before taking any step.
I am lucky to have my mother beside me, and so would always ask her.
Also, I have friends who are fashion photographers and casting directors; they would guide me all the time.
One should always crosscheck with genuine friends from the industry.
You are from Afghanistan. Tell us about your love for Hindi films.
In Afghanistan, everybody is inspired by Bollywood.
My grandfather would rent a VCR during his time and watch movies with the family.
We also follow Bollywood fashion, so that madness and love has always been there.
My mother is a big Hindi serial fan and so I have grown up watching television shows like Son Pari and Shararat.
Which are your favourite films and actors from Indian cinema?
Margarita, With A Straw and Gangs of Wasseypur are among my favourites.
I also love Sanjay Leela Bhansali's films because they are being made with such perfection on a grand scale.
I also love Zoya Akhtar's films; she's my favourite.
You learn a lot from Indian films.
My favourites are Madhuri Dixit, Rekha and Sridevi. I watch their videos and try to learn from their expressions.
In fact, I try to learn everything from them -- how an Indian actress needs to perform on screen.
I know I can never become even a bit of them, but at least, I try to take inspiration.
Which is your favourite Salman Khan film?
My mom is a bigger fan of Salman Khan than me.
Whenever we would watch Tere Naam, we would cry.
My favourite film of his is Andaz Apna Apna.
Is Aayush Sharma a better actor or a better person?
He is very hard working.
We started off as strangers, and since both are introverts, it took us some time to open up.
Our garba rehearsals and reading sessions helped a lot to get that bonding.
Abhiraj (Minawala) sir provided us that friendly environment, where we would do an hour of reading sessions, followed by two hours of chit-chatting.
We became good friends, and I would take his caps and jacket without permission!
What is Salman Khan like?
As a producer, he is very positive, and would give us creative freedom.
He was never on the sets; he had faith in us, and gave us that platform to showcase our talent.
Whenever we were low in energy and wanted support, we turned to him.
As a producer, he has done a lot for me -- right from my training process to everything.
He is a man with a big heart and did not leave any stone unturned to launch me.
What's next after LoveYatri?
I have given a lot of auditions where I got rejected.
LoveYatri is the final audition.
Now, it all depends on the audience.
If they accept me, it's good. If not, nobody can help with that.
I am not an Indian girl, but I have given my best here.
Let’s see what happens next.