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´I Am A Maverick´ - Vishakha Singh
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In an Exclusive Interview with Planet Bollywood, Vishakha Singh talks about her coming releases, the audition for 'Chak De! India' and books. Her first Hindi movie 'Humsey Hai Jahaan', produced by Tajdar Amrohi and which stars Mashhoor Amrohi was released on Friday 6th June.

'Humsey Hai Jahaan' is your first Hindi movie and your acting has been widely appreciated. What are your initial reactions as a newcomer in Bollywood?

People have been asking if I am nervous or excited but frankly, I am just plain relieved. It's great to finally see your work being appreciated. It re-instills my faith in myself.

You play the character of Esha Singh. Tell us a bit more about her and why you found the role attractive.

Esha Singh is the daughter of a fading superstar. Her father is over protective where she is concerned thus, leading her to living a secluded life. This in turn makes her very vulnerable. I found this very endearing as it's easy to for an actress to be hot and sexy but to exhibit innocence is a little more complex. Also Esha's character is the only character in the movie that is sane.

How was the experience shooting for 'Humsey Hai Jahaan'?

Shooting for ‘Humsey Hai Jahaan’ was a roller coaster ride! A lot of hard work, some great moments, lots of fun and a great learning experience.

The music of the movie marks the return of Kumar Sanu in a romantic duet with Sunidhi Chauhan, composed by Siddharth-Suhas. What's your favorite song?

My favorite song is 'Baaton Mein'; sung by Shaan and Sunidhi Chauhan. It is melodious and utterly romantic. More so, it was my first ever song that I was shooting and I remember telling myself, 'Okay, Vishakha Singh; now you are officially a Bollywood heroine!'

Apparently you don't come from a ‘filmi’ background. Tell us about your background.

Yes, I don't have any 'filmi' connections whatsoever. I am a Rajput from U.P but I never really stayed there. I spent a major part of my childhood in Abu Dhabi and finished college from Delhi. My parents are currently based in the UK. I have an elder sister and brother; both working in the corporate sector.

You have been seen in various ads such as Sunsilk, D'mas Jewelry, Medimix and Motorola Motophone. How did acting happen?

Well, I had wrapped up my education and was working in a PR firm as an intern. And I got thoroughly bored! I mean, how many PR releases can you write in a day? I couldn't imagine myself doing that for the rest of my life. I thought hard about what made really made me happy and all I could come up with was - acting. I was the cultural captain of my school and use to write plays, act and direct and those were one of the happiest times of my life. So, I just took a gamble and decided to take experiment. Besides, education never goes waste. Hence, I convinced my parents and landed in Mumbai.

You are a very creative person and also have theatrical experience. Can you share more about these days and how it is helping you today?

As I said earlier, in my school days, when I would act and direct plays were amongst the best days. But I haven't had any formal training per se in acting. I believe an actor is born and acting is inherent. My school days experience helped me to realize my dreams.

You auditioned for the role of Vidya Malvade in 'Chak De! India', which was opposite Shah Rukh Khan. What did you learn, after not being selected?

I learnt not to have expectations. You just have to do your job to the best of your ability and leave the rest to God. In fact my name was suggested to Mashhoor Amrohi by Shimit Amin's assistant.

You made your Telegu debut in ‘Gnaapakam’ and your Tamil film ‘Pidichirruku’ did very well. Do you have more releases down there?

I have had a blast shooting for my South films. It's a totally new experience, especially mouthing dialogues in Telugu and Tamil. It’s challenging, yet very satisfying. I think Southern India has a huge pool of talent. Our country's best technicians are from the South. Also they are amazingly professional and efficient. However, I am currently focusing on my Hindi films. But if something interesting comes along, I am game for it.

Your next release is ‘Coffee Shop’, produced by Sahara One Motion Pictures. How different is your role from 'Humsey Hai Jahaan'?

'Coffee Shop' again is a special movie for me. In ‘Humsey Hai Jahaan’ I play the quintessential heroine but in ‘Coffee Shop’ I play a painter. I can't divulge much at this stage though.

You will also be seen in Abhijeet Sengupta's 'Do Aur Do Paanch', which is rumored to star Salman Khan. Can you tell us more about the storyline and your role in the movie?

In 'Do Aur Do Paanch', I play a brash young girl, a typical tapori and is drastically different from my other two movies. And again, I can’t tell much at the moment.

South Indian movies require a range of dancing skills. How would you rate yourself as a dancer?

My first dancing experience was for my South film ‘Gnaapakam’ where I was doing these heavy duty dance steps on the streets of Salzburg in front of Mozart's statue with hundreds of people watching me!!! But it was a great experience. Once I got over my inhibitions, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I love dancing and I think I have the potential to be a great dancer. Currently I think I dance like Abhishek Bachchan! I hope I don't get in trouble for saying this. Anyway, I am learning hip-hop and jazz style from Ashley Lobo.

What are your views on roles requiring an amount of nudity?

It depends on how great the role is. I am not here to titillate. I understand an actress has to be glamorous and look desirable. But I don't believe in shedding clothes in order to pull the crowd, that is, if at all that happen anymore; I think the audience is far more intelligent.

Many newcomers are doing items numbers, which are still gaining more popularity. Any thoughts?

Item numbers are really entertaining. If it's a classy number like ‘Kajra Re’ or 'It’s Rocking', I would love to do it. Established actresses have been doing item numbers for a while now and in such a scenario, it's a great way to get instant recognition for newcomers.

Bollywood is nowadays becoming increasingly experimental, with upbeat ideas and themes turning into movies. Honestly, what roles would you want to essay in the future?

I would love to do a classic, an epic, an action movie; anything that is exciting. I would love to play Rani's role from Black and Kangana's in Gangster.

Where do you see yourself in 3 years' time?

I am a maverick, a gypsy! I don't plan. So, I have no clue. Que Sera Sera and hopefully doing more good movies.

You are fond of reading books. Any recommendations?

It depends on one's mood really. My all time favorites have been ‘Mill On The Floss’ by George Elliot and Rohinton Mistry's ‘A Fine Balance’. But I would recommend The Harry Potter series to everyone!

Finally, what's the secret behind such a fine body shape?

Dancing, eating in moderation, good thoughts and good deeds!

Picture Courtesy: Pravin Talan

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