Q. How would you describe your role in 'Strangers'?
A. I play the role of Preeti. The character has many shades. I like her honesty and sense of responsibility. It is a very realistic role, and not at all imaginary. She is looking for love. She is good looking and ugly at the same time. She is generous and she is cruel. She lives in London. That is where she meets Rahul (Jimmy Shergill). And the story then moves forward.
Q. Tell us something about your director, Anand Rai.
A. He is one of the most talented directors, who is spontaneous and brilliant at the same time. He improvised the characterization on set, and could make all actors, senior or junior, good or bad, feel equal.
Q. How similar, or dissimilar, are Preeti and Nandana?
A. Quite dissimilar. The only common factor between the two is that both have been born and brought up in London, but are Indian at heart.
Q. Tell us about your co-stars Jimmy Shergill and Kay Kay Menon.
A. I would rate them amongst the best of the best artistes. Incidentally, Jimmy is my favourite. He is outstanding in this film, and I believe the audience will actually hate him when they watch him portray the obnoxious character that he plays. I would like to request the audience to appreciate his acting, and despise the character, not him.
Q. Is it true that this film is a copy of the Hollywood 'Strangers'?
A. Absolutely not. It is a fresh, original story. Of course, Anand Rai may have been inspired by something he read or saw, but the treatment is entirely his, as is the story.
Q. This is your first thriller.
A. I don't count this movie in the thriller genre. The film has all the elements of a story, and does not belong to one particular genre. It is a film based on life. It is an ordinary, yet beautiful film. The movie 'Forest' can be a thriller. In this, a man eats ants. We used to spend the nights in the jungles of the Himalayas, for the shooting of 'Forest'.
A. (a little irritated) I am an actor. If a film demands that I perform some bold scenes, then I will. I am not embarrassed about it.
Q. What do you think of thrillers in general?
A. As an audience, I dislike thrillers. However, as an artiste, I love being a part of a thriller movie. It is great fun on the sets of a thriller.
Q. You have done some commendable films. How come you have not made a mark in the industry as yet?
A. I have acted in both Hindi and English films. The English films have not been released in India. I have acted in 11 films over the past eight years. It is a fact that the more one is visible, the more one will be remembered. Another reason that people don't consider me a top actor is that I am not very good at convincing people.
Q. Your first film was 'Seducing Maria', and now you have acted in a variety of movies.
A. When I entered the film industry, I never dwelled too much on the type of films I should accept. I have never played a similar character to one of my previous roles. All my roles have nothing in common. I dislike playing the same type over and over again, which is why you have seen me in a variety of roles. Look at my favourite actor, Meg Ryan – she has done a variety of roles in the romantic comedy genre itself.
Q. What kind of films would you want to do in the future?
A. It is a little difficult for me to specify that at present. I would want to do some challenging roles, though. Two of my forthcoming films are 'Forest', and 'Rang Rasiya'. I hope the audience likes my roles in these movies.
Q. How much have you changed from the days of 'Seducing Maria' to the days of 'Strangers'?
A. Honestly speaking, I don't like watching myself on the screen. I want the audience to notice the changes, and to tell me about them. Each film has been a learning experience.
In 'Forest', I play Radha, a very different role from the ones I
have played so far. Radha is a brave and strong girl. In 'Rang Rasiya',
I play a devdasi named Sugandha, who is in love with a painter. It is
an historical film, and I have incorporated the characteristics of
Shakuntala, Menaka, Sita, Draupadi, and Damayanti into the character of
Sugandha. This was also the first time I wore a navari saree.
- Rajnee Gupta (SAMPURN)