Veejay-turned-actress Gaelyn Mendonca will turn on the heat, Madhuri-style, in this week's release, Nautanki Saala, as she grooves to the famous song from Beta, Dhak Dhak. The song will feature two other gorgeous ladies, Pooja Salvi and Evelyn Sharma.
Gaelyn speaks to Sonil Dedhia about her big screen debut, and her tribute to Madhuri Dixit.
What's the best compliment you have received for your Dhak Dhak song so far?
I have got lots of positive compliments for my performance in the song Dhak Dhak. People are really enjoying the song.
I feel the best compliment I have got was from (director) Rohan Sippy's father (director) Ramesh Sippy.
We had a screening a while back where we saw the first cut of the film. After the screening, he called me and told me that he was highly convinced with my performance and I had done a fantastic job. It was one of the biggest moments of my life.
'There can only be one Madhuri Dixit'
Would you call the new Dhak Dhak version an item number?
We have revamped the song and made it contemporary; it is a lot more peppy and fun.
I wouldn't call it an item number as the song is not just about being sexy. For me, the song is more like a tribute to Madhuri Dixit.
I am a huge Madhuri fan. I grew up watching Dhak Dhak. I must have seen it more than a thousand times. I know each and every step from the original song.
The song is iconic. I felt this was an opportunity to perform my take on such an epic song.
Did you try and copy any nuances of Madhuri Dixit in the song?
We have some dance steps that are similar to the original song. When it comes to dancing, I feel nobody can come close to Madhuri. She is fabulous and there can only be one Madhuri.
'I'm a girl, who just loves to talk'
Was being an actor always on the cards?
Not at all. Everything that has happened in my life has just happened by chance. I was just lucky to be at the right place and at the right time.
I'm a girl, who just loves to talk. So for me, anything that gives me an opportunity to perform and talk makes me very happy.
When I was approached for Nautanki Saala, I thought it was an interesting opportunity and grabbed it with both hands (laughs).
How did Nautanki Saala happen?
I got a call from the casting director of the film. I remember the day I got the call for the audition. It was around 3 pm and at 5 pm. I went for the audition and by 6.30 pm, I was finalised for the role. It was really quick.
There were a couple of offers before this film but they didn't interest me. When Nautanki Saala came my way, I was really excited.
When I heard my role, there were some things I could relate to and some that I couldn't. It was a healthy mix and I thought that challenge of not knowing something was really fun.
'I was known as a nautanki in school and college'
How big a nautanki are you in real life?
From the time I was a kid, I was always into performance. I was born to be on stage.
I had a huge inclination towards making people laugh and entertaining them.
You won't believe it but I was known as a nautanki in school and college (laughs). I was the biggest drama queen. I would bunk lectures to participate in inter-college festivals, so my name would always appear on the class blacklist.
I could never do anything in a simple way. There would always be some kind of drama in it. I liked doing things in a very filmi way.
What was the biggest challenge when you moved from veejaying to acting?
In television, you give a maximum of two takes and you are sorted.
Film making is a lot more intricate. A lot of importance is given to minor details. Everything has to be precise and proper.
With Nautanki Saala, we would do the same shot from different camera angles, which would require a lot of takes. I had to get used to that whole process.
'I think two actresses can be best friends'
Did you have any apprehensions as you had to share screen space with two other actresses?
Not at all. In fact, a lot of journalists asked whether we had any catfights or any issues but nothing of that happened on the sets.
Evelyn (Sharma) has done a couple of films and in Nautanki Saala we don't have a single scene together.
Pooja (Salvi) and I have a couple of scenes together but because we are both making our debut we bonded a lot and talked to each other. They were all like-minded people and we became friends on the sets.
Pooja and I talk almost every day. I think two actresses can be best friends.
As a VJ, you have done a lot of interviews with celebrities. How does it feel to be on the other side?
I enjoyed being a VJ as it came naturally to me. When it comes to interviewing celebrities, I enjoyed it as much as I loved getting interviewed. I am enjoying the fact there is someone who is asking me questions.
You don't have any industry contacts. Do you think star kids are much more privileged in getting better projects than an outsider such as you?
Star kids definitely have better access to the right people and the right opportunities in the industry. But, at the end of the day, it is talent that matters the most. If you are talented then the industry will take notice of you.
Ayushmaan Khurrana is the biggest example. He is one of the most sought after actors in the industry.
'I am open to item numbers'
Did you come with a set of do's and don'ts?
I don't come with any preconceived notions for myself and the industry. I have come with an open mind. I am open to doing fun stuff and doing something that is very challenging.
You are open to doing item numbers?
I am open to item numbers. I believe a performer should be open to everything.
'I haven't seen a guy who looks better than Ayushmaan in a tuxedo'
Photographs: Gaelyn Mendonca/ Twitter
Okay. Let's do a rapid-fire round:
What attracts you to a man?
A man should smell good so a good perfume is very essential.
If your partner isn't too fit, is that a problem?
Yes, it is. I like to see a man without a paunch (laughs)
Your idea of a perfect date?
A perfect date shouldn't be a cliche. There shouldn't be any flowers, chocolates or a candlelight dinner. It should be something different and interesting which would make me happy.
One romantic meal that you would cook for your partner...
Maggi. That is the only dish I know how to cook (laughs).
Do you like a midnight snack?
I get a lot of midnight cravings but one thing that I can eat at any point of time is dosa.
What do you think of live-in relationships?
I would not like to get into one. I would want to move in with my partner once I get married.
What is the cheesiest pick-up line used on you?
The most common one is that I have lost my phone number, can I have yours.
Who according to you is the ultimate style icon in Bollywood?
It has to be between Priyanka Chopra and Sonam Kapoor. They are very much aware of what they wear and they can carry themselves really well.
Priyanka does a great job in selecting her wardrobe. She can carry off even a rag and look perfect.
Hottest male actor in Bollywood?
Undoubtedly, Ranbir Kapoor. The other rising star is Aditya Roy Kapoor.
Also, I don't know if I can call Ayushmaan Khuranna the hottest male actor but he is another guy who can carry off anything with ease. I haven't seen a guy who looks better than Ayushmaan in a tuxedo.