Amisha Patel, the latest heartthrob to hit the Indian film ‘marquee’ is the latest find by director Rakesh Roshan in his own production ‘Kaho Na Pyar Hai’….. cast opposite son Hrithik Roshan in his launch vehicle.
Amisha is a lethal combination of good looks and brains, for she is none less than a gold medallist in economics and abiogenetic engineer from Boston University. Ameesha is a gorgeous looking girl who will charm her way into the audience’s heart with her twinkling eyes and effervescent smile.
Interview With Amisha Patel
Q: Amisha , Tell us something about yourself? Your background, education and your break in films.
A: My grandfather was the famous Rajni Patel who was BPCC president, he was also the right hand of Mrs. Indira Gandhi. The road between Oberoi and Nariman point is named after him. So it was not difficult to make a standing in the film industry as my family was always in the limelight. My dad is a businessman, my mom is a housewife, I did my 12th std. from Cathedral and then moved on to pursue my higher education in America. I am a gold medallist in economics and a minor in religion. I have also done my bio-genetic engineering by the side. I have always been academically an honors student, and I have been a Bharat Natyam dancer from the age of five, so performing live has never been a problem. I have always done theatre, dramatics, and elocution and won prizes also in the same, whether they have been Hindi or English. Creativity has always been my passion. So my parents always thought that all this would always remain a hobby with me and that I would always do something academic.
When I came back from the United States I worked at my dad’s office, found it extremely boring and quit. Then I worked in a finance company called Khanwala estate, it was more fun than my dad’s company but my heart wasn’t in it.
I was giving only 60% of my capacity. So although the people there were happy with my work I was not because being a creative person you should have your heart and soul in something and that I did not. So finally when I quit and told my parent’s that I wanted to do films there was world war three in my house and for a year it was so. As a result, I didn’t have a portfolio and I could never think of myself doing the rounds of producer’s offices.
I finally did a play with Tanvir Khan who was also the writer, producer, and director of that play. It was an Urdu play set in the 1930s so for that play I had to learn Urdu. So two weeks after the play my parent’s realized that this is the place where I am supposed to be and that I should now actually be supported and guided in this field. Then one day Rakesh uncle who has been with my dad in school gave a call and invited us over for lunch. Rakesh uncle had seen me dancing some six-seven years ago at some wedding and he had expressed a desire to my dad if I was ever interested in films then someday he would launch me along with his son. My father was like no…no…no saying she is someone who will do something purely academic.
But as fate would have it on July 5th I got a call from Rakesh uncle inviting my mom and me for lunch the next day, and he did not mention anything about films so I went very casually in a pair of jeans and T-shirt and within ten minutes of my arriving he asked me very coolly “so Amisha would you like to do my film? “And I just looked at him for five minutes and said but Rakesh uncle you already have a heroine. No, he said Kareena is not in the film and I am offering you this film. I was so zapped that I just couldn’t believe my ears because I had always promised my parents that whenever I get into films I would wait for the right banner, unit, production etc.and there I was at the threshold of it.
Q: Is not a waste of your education, to have gone through those grueling years of study and then finally getting into films where you adequately possessed the required amount of glamour even in the beginning.
A: No, I don’t think that anything is waste because my education has got me a lot of confidence, respect from the people I work with, their way of viewing me, etc. Today I know that a lot of decisions that I have made may have been wrong if I did not have the backing of my education. I realize that films are not my only bread and butter, frankly, nothing is my bread and butter because touchwood, I come from a comfortable background. It is just to prove myself as Amisha Patel and not as Mr. And Mrs. Patel’s daughter. I know I have other options if ever I have to compromise on my values and morals, I know I don’t have to because films will not be my only source. I always attend the sets on time, I even went through some books on Islam for one of my forthcoming projects where I am playing the character of a Muslim girl. So I think my education has instilled in me a lot of discipline, so much more to talk about and so many constructive ways to spend my time. I may not be using my degree very actively, that is I may not be working in a bank or company but I know that someday when I have made enough bank balance and not asking from my parents I will use this degree in some way.
Q: Considering the fact that it was a launch vehicle for Hritik Roshan, what was your experience working with him and his father?
A: Well, the unit is excellent and Rakesh Roshan treated me like his daughter, he is as much of a taskmaster as my father would be, as well as very understanding.
In terms of working with Hritik, he was a newcomer, but he has seven years of experience of assisting his father as an assistant on the sets of ‘Karan Arjun’ and ‘Koyla’.
He has attended acting classes, voice modulation classes, fighting classes, dance classes so all that way he was ahead of me also he grew up in a filmy background so he knew all the wicked ways or good ways of the industry. It helped me a lot that he was a newcomer and had no airs about him. He never made me feel that it was his production, his father or his launch. Of course he has better footage than I have in the film because it is essentially his film and as a girl I don’t think I have got a raw deal at all in the film because tomorrow if my father were to launch me he would also make sure that I get a lot more out of the film.
In every scene, there is me and Hritik and so there is very little that he can get more than me. However, at the end of the day, I have to realize that it is a male-dominated industry and the masses do come to watch the hero, relate to him. We only want the heroine to look pretty, perform and always be the co-pilot of the hero until the stage where she can command the specific roles from the producers.
Q: You have stepped into the shoes of Kareena Kapoor as far as the role go so how far has the role been altered to suit your requirement? How did you feel about replacing her?
A: Well I don’t know if any changes have been made because I came on the scene a few days after Kareena was out of the film. Where stepping into her shoes is concerned I don’t really mind because I am the one who is the ulterior beneficiary. It cannot be a matter of ego, tomorrow there will be a lot of other heroines I replace. The whole unit should be good, I should have enjoyed the product on the whole. I basically have no ego at all.
Q: Can you tell us something about the character you have played in the film?
A: Well I play a very easygoing character. I basically play my age and am a young, fresh bubbly girl in the first half who is grief-stricken and as a result of which turns more matured and subdued in the second half. I get to show my dancing talent and my histrionics as they put it. I have worn traditional wear as well as western outfits. So, all in all, I have got a fair deal on a pretty decent platform. She is a very modern girl who still retains the values of her conservative family. She is a very well balanced character who does not go to any extreme. Basically, I am playing myself.
Q: Please tell us something about your forthcoming films?
A: My forthcoming film with Sunny Deol is very challenging for me because I am playing someone from a totally different era. We have shot about 40% of the film.
Q: Wouldn’t Sunny Deol look a bit older than you?
A: Well that was one of my queries when I was first looking into the film but the script demands it. The script demands the age difference so the viewers will come to know of it once they watch the film. I was made to screen test with twenty-two other girls for this film when I was already a Rakesh Roshan heroine. There were so many people who were discouraging me against the idea but I never had that kind of an ego. I believe that just like I have a right to pick and choose my directors, even they have a right to do the same.
Q: If god forbid you don’t click in films then what?
A: I have lots of other creative options, I am a dancer, I can exploit that avenue. I am very well educated in a field that is totally different to this. But I do know that I will do something that mingles my education with my creativity. But I hope that I don’t have to for now (laughs).
Q: Do you surf the net if yes what are your favorite sites?
A: I always go through the surf engines like Jeeves or yahoo and search for sites on religion, skin-care, etc. I look up more on academic interests than films. Basically I just randomly browse.
Q: What is your dream project and with which team?
A: I think a Yash Chopra, Aditya Chopra film definitely. A film where I get to explore my avenues as a dancer, as a performer, as a good looker and a comedian that means a complete artist. I would love to do another Umrao Jaan. I would love to work with Subhash Ghai. I would have loved to do another Khamoshi although the film didn’t do well. There are so many films made by some filmmakers like Mani Ratnam like ‘Dil Se’ Which even if god told me that they would bomb I would still accept, because I am here to satisfy my creative talent, my passion for the work if the script challenges me I will go all out.
Q: Who are your favorite stars?
A: I think Salman is very cute, I love Aamir Khan, I adored Sunny Deol and am working with him now so the equation has changed now the awe has reduced and I treat him more like a friend, co-star. I would love to work with Shah Rukh to feel his energy, his spontaneity, and zest in his performances. There are streaks of things that I like in each star like Salman’s give a damn attitude, Ajay’s intensity, Bobby’s youthful look. I think working with all of them would make me learn a different approach always. Madhuri Dixit is my all-time favorite actress. The one actress whose acting I have understood at a more matured level. She is an all-rounder performer with beauty, histrionics and dancing talent who has maintained a very dignified presence, she is respected to the core. She has built it. S0he didn’t come with it at all. She also belonged to a non-filmy, very middle-class background. Kajol, in spite of being a powerhouse of talent, belongs to the Mukherjee family whereas Madhuri had to build it. I relate a lot to Madhuri who was also a student of Biology who was a dancer as well. I see a lot of glimpses of myself in Madhuri someone I would like to be like.