Q. You have been a model for seven years, and now you will be seen for the first time on television, in the show, 'Jhalak Dikhla Jaa'. How does it feel?
A. Great, but I do feel a little weird sometimes. I am very excited about my television debut, with so many others. It will be fun. However, I am a little tense about what is going to take place on the stage. I am determined to do a good job.
Q. You are a trained dancer. Why would you be nervous?
A. Who told you I am a trained dancer? I have never learned how to dance, in my entire life. I would want to ask your source where she or he has seen me dance. And if anybody can prove that she or he has taught me the basics of dancing, I will send you a gift. All my friends know that I cannot dance at all. When they read my name in the papers, they thought somebody had made a mistake. I had to convince them that they had read the truth. When I was three years old, I had enrolled to learn some classical dance. I wonder if that will be of any help now.
Q. How did you decide to be a part of this show?
A. The show is all about 'dancing with the stars' – stars who have never danced before. I was called twice, for this show, but I declined both times. Then the organizers asked me to meet them once, so that they could explain the concept to me. They explained to me that they wanted a celebrity from each field, and mentioned that chef Sanjeev Kapoor and cricketer Ajay Jadeja were a part of the show the last time. This time, they had also roped in Mir Ranjan Negi. I became less apprehensive, and saw their point, and then I could not decline anymore.
A. I cannot answer that now, as we have not yet begun shooting. However, I learned a lot in three weeks, and that was a new experience for me. I have no idea what the future holds in store.
Q. Any memorable incident during your dance classes?
A. Nothing special, really, except that I suffered quite a few minor injuries during that time. I have a neck problem, and it hurts quite a bit. I hurt my knee while dancing, as well my heel. I thought I had fractured my heel, in fact, but thankfully, it was nothing as unfortunate as that. It still hurts, and I have been advised not to dance on my heels.
Q. Who, amongst these 12 contestants, is the biggest threat to you?
A. I do not really feel threatened by any particular person, but one thing that worries me is that all of them are performers. They are better-known faces, and have been seen on the big screen and the small screen, so the audience knows them better. There are fewer fans of the fashion world amongst the viewers.
Q. But aren't you glad that the people who have only heard of you so far, will now get to see you, week after week?
A. Touchwood. I hope to be here week after week, for 13 weeks. That will be an achievement. I am hopeful that the audience will like me, especially since I have worked very hard at this. I have no experience either as an actor, or on television.
Q. A lot of people get confused between your sister, Tupur, and you. Have you
A. So many times! Both of us have now found a solution to this. We do resemble each other closely, but people who hang around with us for more than a couple of days, learn how to differentiate between the two of us.
Q. Any memorable incident you would want to share about this confusion?
A. We were in two different colleges – Tupur in St Xavier's, and I in Jai Hind. We used to meet at Churchgate Station. I was waiting for her one day, when a young boy came and slapped me on my back. I looked at him angrily, and his expression changed. I saw his confusion at my reaction, and realised that he must be Tupur's friend. I then explained to him, and told him that I should return the slap on the back. He just smiled and shook his head.
Q. You are Hrishikesh Mukherjee's granddaughter. Yet you have not yet made an entry into the film industry. Is this intentional?
A. I follow my heart. If my heart commands me to do something, I will. If I do not believe in something, I will not even attempt it. I want to give what I do, my best shot. I believe I should be here, in this show, and that is why I am here. If, in the future, I feel the urge to get into acting, I will. The theme of this show, 'dil se naachenge, dil jeetenge' describes my attitude perfectly.
Q. Do you still receive film offers?
A. I do receive a lot of offers. In fact, I have been receiving offers since I began my career as a model. I have never received an offer that appealed to me. I am not ready to be an actor. When I entered the fashion industry, I knew nothing, but I learned one thing at a time. I know that there is a lot to be learnt in the film industry as well. I am also very conscious of the fact that I belong to Hrishida's family – I used to call him Baju Baju. I do not want to take any step that will spoil his reputation in the film industry.
Q. Did Hrishida ever make you an offer to act in any of his movies?
A. Buju Buju was very proud of us. He never forced us to do anything we did not want to. Whatever we are today, it is because of our efforts, not because we are his granddaughters. We know from his films that he was dead against any kind of preferential treatment. He was like that in real life, too. He used to praise us a lot, but he never referred us to anyone. He taught us how to stand on our own feet.
-Rajnee Gupta (SAMPURN)