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Prachi Desai: The industry can be unfair sometimes

Last updated on: July 3, 2012 16:26 IST

Image: Prachi Desai in Bol Bachchan
Sonil Dedhia in Mumbai

Prachi Desai became a household name with the popular television serial Kasamh Se.

Her transition to the big screen happened quite successfully, with her delivering two hits in Rock On!! and Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai.

But after that, she disappeared for two years.

This Friday, the actress returns to the marquee with Rohit Shetty's Bol Bachchan.

She tells Sonil Dedhia why she was missing all this time, and how the industry is unfair to outsiders.

Your last film, Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai, released in 2010. Has the break been deliberate?

After doing films like Rock On!! and Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai, I realised that I had to do roles that suited my age. I wanted to do some fun stuff and so I decided to do Bol Bachchan.

I don't think anyone could have refused a film like this. When you get Rohit Shetty, Ajay Devgn, Abhishek to work with on the same team, why would you refuse?

'People don't take you seriously if you're an outsider'

Image: Prachi Desai in Bol Bachchan

Do you think you have been able to capitalise on your success to the fullest?

The industry can be unfair sometimes. When you are an outsider, people don't take you seriously. You need an extreme push to bring you to a certain level.

I had appeared in television serials before I did my first film. So people didn't take me that seriously.

After doing films like Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai, and now Bol Bachchan, I have come into that commercial zone.
People have started taking me seriously. This is when you get other opportunities. It's not been that long but it could have been a faster process.

Newcomers, who taste success in their first film, don't always get consecutive films. But you took rather too long to plan your next film.

I was not interested in the kind of roles offered to me. If I had taken those up, my shelf life would have just been two years.

I had to wait for apt roles to come to me which would suit my age. When you start off, you don't want to be doing roles twice your age.

I think this is a good year for me. After Bol Bachchan, I will work with John Abraham in I Me Aur Main. With this film I can change people's perceptions about me. It is such a vivacious and bohemian role. People haven't seen me like that.

'I'm not the person I've been made out to be'

Image: Prachi Desai

What do you think caused filmmakers to offer you older roles?

The reason is these are the kinds of roles I have done before in television. I got it from Rock On!!. It was a fabulous cult film, I played a young wife but nobody saw me as funky or the real me. The way I am. So I guess people wanted to stick to that, nobody wanted to experiment with me. They just wanted to capitalise on what they had seen me as.

So is the industry finally opening up to you?

Yes, I think the industry is opening up to me. And it is high time it does. I am truly not the person I have been made out to be. I guess I am just a person of my own. 

What do you think of Rohit Shetty as a filmmaker?

I have only watched Rohit Shetty on Comedy Circus. He was very calm on the show and hardly said anything. He used to just enjoy himself. But after shooting with him, I came to know that what I perceived was completely different.

On set, he is strict but is also fun to work with. What makes it easier is that he has worked with the same team for so long.

They don't have to say anything to each other. For me it was a very different set up, very alien.

I had done serious films and to come to this place was like being thrown into a mad house. It took me some time to settle down.

As far as work is concerned, I feel Rohit Shetty is a director with a magic wand. It is so fabulously entertaining and I feel so lucky to be working with him.

'I kept wondering what I would do in a comedy role'

Image: Prachi Desai and Abhishek Bachchan in Bol Bachchan

Which of his films do you like?

My favourite is his first film, Golmaal. I keep watching it again and again. I missed the second instalment Golmaal Returns but caught up with Gomaal 3.

I loved Kareena Kapoor in it. I have also seen All the Best which I really enjoyed.

Were you given any instructions before you started shooting for the film?

No, I wasn't given any instructions as such. I was so worried. I kept wondering what I would do in a comedy role. I thought I should watch a few Juhi Chawla films because I absolutely love her.

I play Ajay's younger sister. Abhishek had to do most of the funny stuff as I am playing the role of a normal girl who is a calming factor in the film.

'Ajay Devgn is what real stars are made of'

Image: Prachi Desai

Was it very alien to you when you reached the sets for the first time?

It was an alien world for me. I had long dialogues, the scene was three or four pages long on my first day. I was supposed to be very angry and walk off.

There were some 27 takes for this simple shot because in every shot Abhishek used to start laughing. Just a few days ago, Rohit told me that to make me nervous Abhishek would start laughing and not let me say my dialogues.

In the first week, I thought I was in the wrong place. The next time they tried to play a prank on me, I caught on.

You are shown to be scared of Ajay Devgn in this film. How is it working with him in real life?

The first time I met Ajay was on the sets of Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai. When Ajay walks in, there is silence on the sets. His aura and personality is so intimidating but at the same time, as a person, he is so calm.

It's wonderful to be around him. He is what real stars are made of. He is very shy. He loves what he does, he is professional about everything. He is also a producer now.

I am not scared of him, but there is this respect I have for him which makes one sober down in front of him.

Tags: Rohit , Devgn , Mumbaai

'I hope I do at least 25 films in the next five years'

Image: Prachi Desai

How was it working with Abhishek?

Ajay and Abhishek are complete contrasts. Abhishek is like a house on fire. He spreads his energy around. He loves to enjoy no matter what he is doing. When Abhishek is around, it's always a different environment.

Did you find comedy tougher than the serious roles you have done in the past?

Absolutely! It was much tougher. In comedy you cannot get your timing wrong. Also, people who are saying the lines don't think it's funny. They just have to say it like normal lines.

I learnt a lot from watching Abhishek and Ajay. When Abhishek had these hilarious lines, he just kept a straight face and said it.

Ajay had to talk wrong English and he did it convincingly. It is the toughest thing to do.

Where do you see yourself five years down the line?

I hope that I do at least 25 films in the next five years. I would love to work with Farhan Akhtar as a director. I have shared screen space with him. He is also one of my favorite directors because of Dil Chahta Hai.

I want to work with Rohit Shetty again for sure. I am hoping to do a film with Ajay because I haven't been paired with him.