Special Feature: In conversation with newcomer Mishti
BollyBrit® got the chance to catch up with Subhash Ghai discovery, Mishti (aka Indrani Chakraborty), who's film Kaanchi: The Unbreakable hits the marquee this week, 25 April 2014.
Kaanchi is the story of the inner power and conviction of a woman who represents millions of young people and takes on the fight against injustice in her country.
Excerpts from our tête-à-tête:
This is your first film, so do you want to tell us a bit about Kaanchi, your character, and why Subhash Ghai picked you over other hopeful aspirants?
I started of college and I had no 'filmi' plans or to feature in a Bollywood film, but I did do a Bengali film earlier and the associate director of that film Mr Arindham Rai, who’s now Subhashji’s chief assistant. He had some pictures, clips and videos of mine from the Bengali film and he showed them to Subhashji who’d been on the lookout for a lead for his film Kaanchi for a while.
They’d been searching frantically for a leading lady for that film and more than 400 girls had auditioned for the part. They eventually gave me a call and I flew down to Mumbai had a few auditions and eventually bagged the film – so it’s quite a short story and nothing out of the ordinary!
Are you from a filmi background? Are you quite clued in on how the film industry works?
I have no idea about Bollywood and neither do I have an idea of how it all works! I just landed the part – it was a case of luck by chance and nothing else!
Subhash Ghai has launched quite a few top bracket actresses from Madhuri Dixit, Mahima Chaudhary, Manisha Koirala and the like. So do you feel there are certain pressures attached to that? Are you expected to live up to them and how do you cope with that pressure?
Well, I am compared to all those actresses and if people expect me to perform as well as they do, I don’t see that as pressure. I see that as motivation because those actresses have done some wonderful films in their careers and even if I can achieve just one percent of what they have achieved, I’d consider myself lucky and be thankful to god.
How confident are you in your skills as an actress. On a scale of how one to ten how would you rate yourself?
Acting is never acting for me as such. I have no technical knowledge of acting I just go by the script. I’m in love with the camera, and people often say that I make love to the camera. I don’t think I can rate myself on a scale of one to ten.
Most actresses make their debut with a love story. So how different would you say this love story is from routine love stories? The trailers give the impression, that there’s a social message attached to the film as well?
Kaanchi has a beautiful romantic plot.I wouldn’t say it's exactly that different. I’d say the film has a variety of flavours that cater to all kinds of different audiences. It is a romantic film but it has elements of a thriller, action and yes it has a great message too. You can classify it as a classy film with mass elements and at the same time you can call it a massy film with a touch of class.
Do you have a specific actress or heroine you aspire to be like or someone who’s career you’d like to model yours on and why?
I’ve always been in love with Kajol because she’s one of the most versatile actresses in the industry. From the current lot I like Deepika Padukone but that said I don’t want to model my career after theirs, but they are actresses who’s work I admire.
How similar are you in real life to your character Kaanchi in the film?
Kaanchi is just a simple girl who’s in love with someone, fights with her mother and wants to make a difference in society. I think a lot of girls will relate to my character. In fact not just girls but the youth in general will connect with her. It’s very important for me to believe in the character I’m portraying so yes I would say I’m very similar to her and she is similar to me as a person. I feel like I am Kaanchi and felt that way throughout the entire schedule of the film, I was never Mishti. I was always Kaanchi.
Your real name isn’t Mishti is it? Did you change it for your film career? You know that Subhash Ghai always changes the names of his heroines. Mahima was called Ritu before she joined films.
No I never changed my name. Mishti is my name from the time I was born. It’s my pet name and always has been but yes it isn’t my formal name. My formal name is Indrani but I’ve always been referred to as Mishti and it does get tiring having to clarify that all the time. I’ve been facing this name change question since I first faced the media.
You’re working with veterans like Mithun Chakraborthy and Rishi Kapoor in the film. What are they like as co-stars? Are you in awe of them?
They are superb and very cooperative. I have a lot of scenes with both of them and every time I have to enact a scene with them, the scene turns out brilliantly because of their experience and advise which goes into them as well. And even when I’m not in the scene with them, just watching them perform is a treat, the ease and the grace that they have in their acting is amazing.
Coming on to the director, is Subhash Ghai a tough taskmaster? Does he drive you and make you work really hard?
He is a very tough taskmaster I would say. He wants his actors to work very hard but at the same time he’s also very patient and co-operative and he’s really doting towards his actors too. He seldom gets angry and even when he does he deals with the situation with patience. He’s amazing to work with.
Subhash Ghai’s previous few films haven’t done very well at the box office. Do you feel a little scared or hesitant about that fact? Do you think that puts more pressure on you as an actor to ensure the film is a success?
I haven’t really thought about it. Acting is essentially a form of art. We shouldn’t be judgemental about art because art is vision and anything that’s made with passion and love has to be beautiful. If it doesn’t do well at the box office, that doesn’t mean the film is a failure. I don’t want to think about the box office at present, I’m happy with the work I’ve done for the film.
You’re making your debut with another newcomer, Kartik Tiwari. What are your thoughts on him and how would you define your chemistry with him in the film?
We have superb chemistry because we’re very good friends off screen too and that translates on screen. We’re comfortable so our romantic scenes in the film are beautiful. Audiences will fall in love when they see the songs that we’ve shot together in the film.
Can you tell us anything about your upcoming films or are you just focusing on Kaanchi at the moment?
I’m just focusing on Kaanchi, but there are other scripts I am looking at. I also have a three film contract with Mukta Arts, but I am open to outside scripts too. Whenever something is finalised the press will definitely know about it!
It is quite a crowded market at present if you consider the likes of Alia Bhatt, Parineeti Chopra or say Shraddha Kapoor. They’re all doing good work. So how are you different to them and how competitive are you?
I don’t compete against anyone. I just compete with myself. Every morning when I wake up, I want to be better than I was the day before. I don’t see any of those actresses as competition. They’re all doing great jobs and we all have our share of good work.
If your were to pick just one of the three Khans to work who would you pick and why?
I can’t really choose who I want to work with because every actor has something or other that sets him apart from the others. So I would like to share screen space with all of them be it the Khans, the Kapoors, the Kumars, every one really!
If a film was made on your life, who would you get to play you and why?
My life has to be played by me! Because only I can understand the depth of my emotions. Nobody else can.
If you had six months to live what would you do with that time?
I would want to spend that time with the people I love. No work, no parties nothing. I would just retire to a silent valley and spend that time with the people I love.
If you were a type of food what you want to be?
Chocolate of course!
What’s the best compliment you’ve received for your work so far?
I received a compliment from Subhashji when he first talked to the press about me in fact. He said I was an actress that was in Kajol’s league even though I don’t agree with him. She’s a great actress and I’m nowhere near her.
As a parting note, any messages for your fans?
I want to thank them, because in such a short space of time I have been bestowed with a lot of love from them, and also a request to please go and watch Kaanchi. It has an apt message for today’s society. It has all the relevant masala and it will also educate audiences. And also please don’t go alone. Take your family, friends and your loved ones, because they’ll all enjoy the film!
Kaanchi is out in cinemas Friday 25 April 2014.
Theatrical Trailer: Kaanchi
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