Abhishek Kapoor didn't know I was an actress, says Amrita Puri
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First things first Amrita, in a male dominated flick like Kai Po Che , how exactly do you fit in?
Yes, it is correct that the film is basically a story of boys and their friendship. Par phir har picture mein ek heroine toh hoti hi hai aur yahan main hoon (smiles). When I read the script, I could see that my character of Vidya come like a breath of fresh air. She is the only romantic angle in the film and comes in at numerous points when the narrative turns a little too heavy and dramatic. She provides relief to the proceedings as she lightens things up. While she is the love interest of Rajkumar (Yadav), she is Sushant's (Singh Rajput) sister; she is involved with lives of each of the three boys.
Meanwhile, it must have been flattering to see the fourth boy, though not exactly a young one, Abhishek to rope you in as the only leading lady in the film.
(Smiles) Yeah, it was great. On the basis of the way he brought together characters in Rock On, I knew that it was not the size of the role that would matter in Kai Po Che . I knew for fact that he would present me in a way where quality and not quantity would speak the loudest. That made me excited; I knew he would extract a good performance out of me.
In my earlier conversation with Abhishek, he also told me that in you, he saw this girl who was uninhibited and didn't really behave like a quintessential Bollywood heroine.
It is great that he felt that way and I am going to take that as a big compliment. As a matter of fact to begin with he didn't know who I was. He hadn't seen Aisha and didn't even know that I was an actress. He saw me at a party and since we had a common friend, he asked him about me. He felt that something about me made him feel that I was perfect for the heroine's part in Kai Po Che. This is when my friend started laughing and revealed to him that I was actually an actress. Abhishek wanted me for an audition and the next thing that I knew, I was on board.
Still, despite his credentials of extracting wonderful performances from his actors, weren't you conscious about the fact that in this ensemble affair, you had to work hard towards making your presence felt?
Actually, that was not the factor that made me work hard so as to make my presence felt. The fact is that the three boys had started shooting three weeks in advance and when I came on the sets, Abhishek said to me that he had seen such high level of performance already that now I had a task in hand to be fantastic and not just good. I knew what I was up against when I saw the rushes. Right through the film he wanted me to be sure that my performance level didn't drop. That put me on my toes.
And the makers put you into some ethnic clothes...
Well, Niharika Khan is a fantastic designer; I felt very safe in her hands. In the film, you won't see me in jeans and T-shirts but Indian clothes. Niharika knows how to dress people; she hasn't made me appear as a 'behenji' here (smiles).
Well, starting from being a 'behenji' in Aisha, you seem to be quite conscious about the work that you pick up.
See, I don't want to work for the sake of doing it. I can only do a project if I believe in it or somewhere get connected to it.
However, after two reasonably successes behind you, doesn't your heart crave for being much more active in the world of films?
I want to make sure that if I do work and am seen on screen, it should count and there is something to it. I need to be thoroughly engaged. Now post Kai Po Che, I am all the more picky about what I do.
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