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This article was first published 13 years ago

'Ekta Kapoor isn't what everyone thinks she is'

Last updated on: May 4, 2011 15:06 IST

Image: Kainaz Motivala
Sonil Dedhia in Mumbai

She made a quiet entry in Bollywood with cameos in Wake Up Sid and Paathshala.

A former journalist, Kainaz Motivala will now feature in her first full-fledged role in Ekta Kapoor's upcoming horror film Ragini MMS.

The actress talks to Sonil Dedhia about her journey from journalism to films and all things in between.

Why this switch from journalism to acting?

As a journalist, I worked in a number of publications. One of the assistant directors of Paathshala was present at a photo shoot that I was coordinating and asked me to audition for the movie. I went along thinking it would be fun to give it a shot. I got the part.

So acting happened by chance.

Yes, I did not plan it. I have never been a part of plays, never acted in school or college. I don't have any formal training in acting but my strength is that I've never been camera-shy. I have trained with Shaimak Davar for more than six years and have been a part of many stage performances.

Did your dancing skills help you emote better in your films?

Definitely. Having been with Shiamak for so long has helped a lot. I don't get intimidated by the camera or by the people on the sets.

'I'll try to maintain a good relationship with the media'

Image: Kainaz Motivala

You have written a short story in the book Urban Shots.

Yes, (publisher) Ahmed asked me to be on a cover. Later, he found out that I had a background in writing and asked me to give it a shot. I had never written anything in fiction. I got the idea for the story when I was driving one day and I thoroughly enjoyed writing it. I have got a lot of good response for it.

Tell us more about the story that you have written, titled Hope Comes in Small Packages.

It is a story of how a mother loses her child and finds solace in the company of a dog. I love animals, especially dogs. I have based the dog on a lot of naughty dogs that I have seen. Of course, I haven't experienced the loss that the mother in the story does but I know that dogs cheer me up when I am down. That's where the idea came from.

You have been on the opposite chair too, taking interviews. How does it feel to give interviews?

(Smiles) It feels nice. I know it is difficult to be a journalist. I have a lot of respect for journalists because I have been a part of that profession. I remember, as a journalist, we had to meet all the deadlines and getting people to give you time is so difficult. I try and give as much time as is possible and I'll try and maintain a good relationship with the media.

'I was in awe of Ranbir while shooting Wake Up Sid'

Image: Kainaz Motivala

Were you star struck at any point of time?

I am a complete star struck person. When I was shooting for Wake Up Sid, I was in awe of Ranbir Kapoor. Initially, I never told Ranbir about it but later on I went and confessed to him that I was a big fan of his.

How did Ragini MMS happen?

The auditions were on for over six months. I got a call and I went in for the auditions. Normally when you audition for any role, you are given a script. For Ragini MMS, I was given a couple of situations and had to improvise on them.

How did you prepare for the role?

We had done a lot of workshops and had almost psyched ourselves to get scared of every little thing. Unfortunately, there were some mishaps too. Before we started shooting, the caretaker of the house committed suicide in one of the rooms outside the bungalow. My co-actor Raj is an FTII (Film and Television Institute of India) alumnus, so he gave me a lot of tips.

After that, Raj (the lead actor) met with an accident.

Once, I passed out while shooting. I remember one day, my mother opened the door after I returned from the workshop. As soon as the door opened, I yelled. It was a normal situation for my mother to open the door but I was actually scared. So it was a crazy experience.

'The MMS part in the film is very critical'

Image: A still from Ragini MMS

Tell us something about your character in the film.

I play Ragini who's a very sweet, simple, south Mumbai girl, fresh out of college. She is dating a guy for almost a year and is madly in love with him. They plan a weekend getaway to a farmhouse and that's when things start unraveling in front of them.

The film is releasing on Friday the 13th. It is considered unlucky.

Yes, it was Ekta's decision. She purposely wanted to release the movie on this date which is supposed to be the devil's day.

Do you believe in ghosts? Have you encountered any paranormal activities?

I believe in spirits. There are good spirits and bad spirits. I don't know about ghosts.

Once a person dies, it's not the end of it. My grandparents have passed away but I was very close to them and can still feel them. 

I haven't encountered any paranormal activities but when I pray really hard and want an answer, I talk to my grandparents and get comfort and answers. 

Sex and horror have been intertwined for many years. Do you think that works?

I don't think so. Thinking about any horror films I have seen I don't recollect any of them. In Ragini MMS, the MMS part is very critical in the film. That is something I can't reveal right now.

'The intimate scenes in Ragini MMS are very realistic'

Image: A still from Ragini MMS

Were you comfortable shooting the intimate scenes?

I was very uncomfortable. When we first shot them, Raj and I hardly knew each other. After a certain point, I came to terms with the fact that it's just acting. 

Also, the whole process is so technical and you have so many cameras and lights and directors telling you to look in a particular camera at a particular time. It ceases to make you uncomfortable after a while.

Apparently, a lot of portions of the movie had to be reshot.

Yes, we did shoot some portions again. As I told you, when we started shooting for the film Raj and I hardly knew each other so the chemistry didn't come out naturally. As the shooting progressed, we became more comfortable and that's when it became clear that we needed to reshoot some of the scenes.

Would you be comfortable shooting intimate scenes in future?

An intimate scene was required in a movie like Ragini MMS and it has turned out to be very realistic. In future too, if the script demands, then I would do an intimate scene or a kissing scene. I am not a kind of person who believes in kissing-for-the-sake-of-kissing.

How has your parents reacted to the movie?

They haven't seen it but they know about it. At the end of the day, they understand it's work and I know they love me and will take it positively.

'I struggled a lot'

Image: Kainaz Motivala

Ekta Kapoor is known to be a tough taskmaster. How was your experience?

Honestly, she was very nice to me. She has been very encouraging and has always been there whenever we needed her. She is easygoing and you can share ideas and thoughts with her. She isn't the person that many believe her to be.

Star children have it easy in the film industry. How difficult was it for you to join the world of movies, since you are an outsider?

My first movie Paathshala was a cakewalk for me so breaking into the industry was not difficult.

After that, I struggled a lot because I have been to so many auditions. There were times when I had to face rejection and times when I felt like giving up. But I had faith in myself. That's why I am where I am today.

'Sex is overrated'

Image: Kainaz Motivala

You mentioned in an interview that the industry is male-dominated? Do you believe that?

Yes. But now we have seen a lot of filmmakers, who have experimented with women-oriented scripts. This year we saw movies like No One Killed Jessica and 7 Khoon Maaf, where the protagonists were women.  For so many years, actresses have been used as props despite having a lot of talent and potential.

Is sex overrated?

If you are talking from Indian cinema's point of view, I think it is extremely overrated. I think it gets hyped up for no rhyme or reason. The audience needs to grow up. I think even in Hollywood movies, they go overboard. I don't think it is necessary to show nudity. Indian audience have become mature but there's a long way to go.

'I'm single and not ready to mingle'

Image: Kainaz Motivala

What's your relationship status?

I am single and not ready to mingle (Laughs).

Who is the most eligible bachelor in the industry?

Undoubtedly, Ranbir Kapoor. He is cute and comes from a good family. I have worked with him and he is a complete gentleman.

How do you plan to take your career forward?

We had a 20-day intensive workshop before we started shooting. We shot in a fear zone, as we wanted to keep the look of the film as real as possible. If you notice, when you are scared, you don't scream. We try to stay calm and quiet. We made a lot of improvisations.