Smiles to go: Amisha Patel
She's grown up, has Amisha Patel. From the sweet young thing to a scheming, calculating temptress playing around with two men.
"The credit goes to Abbas-Mustan, my directors in Humrazz,"she says in that husky voice."They've potrayed me in a way that no one else has till now.My character is that of a strong and confident girl;sh belongs to today's times. For me, Humrazz will always be special because it's the first time I' ve played a character with shades of grey."
Is that the reason why Amisha went out of her way to complete the film? "Hey, that's not true," she retorts. "No one can blame me for being partial to any film or any producer. So far, all my films have released in the same order that I signed them. Humraaz was the only film I'd signed after Gadar and it was completed in six months."
Akshaye Khanna came and kissed me on my forehead. Does that mean that we're having an affair?
In fact, she says, signing a film, completing it and then moving on to the next is the right way of working. Ideally, she'd like to allot bulk dates and work on one film at a time. In an industry which works around the availability of busy stars, is that ever going to be possible? Even completing a project on schedule sometimes proves a tough task. Amisha sighs, "I don't mind doing just two or three films a year. But I must enjoy what I'm doing."
She reflects, "It has been a process of growth for me. When I came into the industry, I had no one to advise me. I was a babe in the woods who wanted to try her hand at everything. Now I know the kind of people I want to work with.
"One of those must be Akshaye Khanna. For, here he is, dropping in on Amisha to say bye, holding her face fondly in his hands, kissing her on the forehead before he leaves.
Au revoir over, I steer her back to our conversation. Now that she's figured out who she wants to work with, how does she pick her movies? It's the role all the way, she says. "Money has never been the criterion. I want to be a good actress. But if film-makers think my work deserves a good price, why shouldn't I build my own bank balance?"
If film-makers think my work deserves a good price,
why shouldn't I build my own bank balance?
Continues she, "It would be great if I could be remembered as Amisha Patel, a versatile actress, and not just as the daughter of Amit Patel. It's a great thing to stand on your own feet. In addition to that, its important for me to earn the respect of my fans as well as the people from the industry. And I hope good money follows."
In that case, she should be ready to cut her price for a good role; is she? "I did for Tanuja Chandra's Yeh Zindagi Ka
Safar," Amisha tells me. "I'm not greedy. If I was, I'd have been doing a lot of run-of-the-mill stuff. What I want is
With a dreamy look in her eyes, she adds, "I would like to be a part of the films Mira Nair and Deepa Mehta make. I hope I make it big as an actress in commercial cinema so that I can do two popular films and one offbeat film every year. While the former will reach a larger audience, the offbeat one would be interesting to do."
One of her commercial films coming up is Suneil Darshan's Mere Jeevan Saathi which also stars Karisma Kapoor. This is the first time she'll be doing a two-heroine project, but she's confident: "I'm sure I'll learn a lot while working with Karisma who has years of experience. Plus, it'll help boost my self-confidence. I want to find out whether I'm ready to compete with such an established heroine."
I eat almost every hour.Thank God I don't put on weight easily.
I'm stumped by Amisha's gushing over Karisma. Just a few months ago the two actresses made news when they fought during the film's earlier schedule. Sez who, asks Amisha. "That was blown up by the media," she insists. "Nothing of that sort happened."Really?
Curioser and curioser, I think, as Amisha says, rolling her eyes, "C'mon, we are thorough professionals. We've done two
schedules together. Karisma doesn't allow anything personal to get in the way of work. In fact, she's someone I can relate with. She's worked very hard to make her own place in the industry. Even though she came from a film family, it wasn't a cakewalk for her. I've also worked hard to prove myself. Both of us know how to leave our differences at home."
What about Kareena Kapoor? After all, it's an open secret that Amisha and she can't stand each other. I blink as Amisha retorts, "This is a classic case of how the media creates rivalry where there's none. I don't know Kareena, ours is just a 'Hi' and 'Bye' kind of contact."
Hey, what's happening here, I wonder. Has she forgotten the long and bitter exchange of fire between the two? Taking a deep breath, Amisha asks, "Have you seen these remarks? They're all one-sided. I've never said anything. There's no need for that. It doesn't bother me if someone says I have two stupid hits which don't matter. Because I know that they are the biggest hits of the decade. I don't need to prove this to anyone. My worth and calibre as an actress is well-known. I know she's not a bad girl. And I'd rather not say anything about a colleague."
Looks like Amisha has matured after three years in the film industry and has understood the importance of success. "No one is going to help me because I'm Amit and Asha Patel's daughter," she volunteers. "Out here, everyone worships the rising sun. After Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai, all the attention went elsewhere in spite of my successful debut. Suddenly, after Gadar-Ek Prem Katha, I was the new No 1. This really shocked me--one day you're up there and the next, you're down with a thud."
The highs and lows can get to you badly, she points out, but "That's where your education, your family background and friends come in handy. Far from treating me like a star, my friends keep reminding me of my roots!"
Hmmm, and what about her love life... and a certain Mr Bhatt? She says in an irritated tone, "If a heroine associates herself with a single man, does it mean they're having affair? Vikram is a very sweet person; he is my director first and then a friend. My brother is working under him so now he's a family friend. Nothing more than that. It's awkward being linked with someone you work with."
But the buzz is that Vikram and she have reached a stage where horoscopes have been matched, I butt in. "Puhleeeeeeeeez," she bristles. "Do you think I'm a fool to get married when my career's going great guns? Getting along with someone doesn't mean that I'm having an affair with them. You saw how Akshaye Khanna came and kissed me on my forehead. Does that mean that we're having an affair? If Abbas-Mustan or Anil Sharma weren't married, I'd have been linked with them too.
"You know, it's embarrassing when you're on the sets and people look at you askance. It's especially weird working with a person you've been linked with," she complains.
Ok, so let's move to her business venture--she's opened a food joint called Fire Place in Mumbai. "Oh, that's my father's brainchild," the actress beams. "He knows how much I love food. I eat almost every hour. I'm lucky that I'm blessed with a good metabolism. Thank God I don't put on weight easily."
Lucky her--Amisha really has a lot to smile about!