A gym is an unusual place to be sized up for an acting job, but Bollywood star Disha Patani, who plays one of the leads in the upcoming Hindi romantic thriller ‘Malang’, was being inadvertently auditioned while she lifted those heavy weights.
“Mohit sir [director Mohit Suri] and I go the same gym in Mumbai and in there he saw an independent girl who knows who she is during workouts. He felt I am someone who can handle life and is in a zone where she is learning more about herself,” said Patani in an interview with Gulf News tabloid!.
In the Goa-set revenge saga ‘Malang’, also starring Aditya Roy Kapoor, Anil Kapoor and Kunal Kemmu, Patani is on call to play Sara, a woman in the throes of a quarter-life crisis. There’s more to her character than meets the eye. The film revolves around a series of bizarre events that unfurl during a Christmas night in Goa and how four characters find their lives intertwined following an event that happened five years ago.
“Girls are always shown as positive in films ... Personally, I love negative roles or roles with shades of grey in them,” said Patani, who counts ‘Gone Girl’ as one of her favourite films.
We caught up with the actress, who was last seen with Salman Khan in ‘Bharat’, to speak about ‘Malang’, her quest for a beach-ready body and her rising career in Bollywood where she has signed on a new film with Khan...
Tell us about your role in ‘Malang’ and the film?
I am playing Sara, today’s girl who’s free-spirited and wants to explore life. She’s living on the edge, trying to get over her fears. This character is close to who I am, but I am not as carefree like her. ‘Malang’ is a romantic thriller and has action in plenty. Mohit sir [director Mohit Suri] approached me for the role, asking me if I would like to do it. I said ‘yes’ instantly because I loved the script.
There seems to be a stereotype attached to free-spirited women in Bollywood films … they are either too chirpy or addicted to partying, alcohol or drugs in some place hedonistic like Goa … Do you agree?
Honestly, in my career I have never played someone who’s carefree before. I have done three films before ‘Malang’ where I played a ‘girl-next-door’ or a smart girl. I didn’t play someone who’s exploring who she is. Usually, I play roles where I am sure about what and who I am. But here, Sara is clueless about who she is and what her identity is like. She’s trying to understand herself by getting over her fears.
She’s exploring who she is and that was instantly relatable to me because most girls today are trying to understand who they are. And I can add that it’s a fictional story. Regarding the film being set in Goa, you can do drugs in any part of the world — in any country, city or the smallest, remotest Indian villages. Malang is not inspired by any real person or city. But I have to admit, there’s a liberated vibe about Goa.
What was Mohit Suri’s brief to you?
I am very shy in real life, but he saw the character of Sara in me. I am not a star who’s out and about, but he saw that streak of adventure within me. Honestly, I am so grateful that he gave me this role because I feel blessed to be working with him. He’s so good at presenting his women characters in his film. He understands a woman’s emotions so well. Perhaps, it’s because he’s blessed with a baby girl and a beautiful wife. He enjoys his women in his life and that’s evident in his films like ‘Aashiqui 2’ and ‘Ek Villain’. The women in those films were powerful and pristine.
You are all sporting beach-perfect bodies in this film. Were you off carbohydrates for a year or did you go on some strict, restricted diet?
There are diets that are very specific to us while we are shooting. For instance, if we have a bikini shot we don’t drink water or liquid for a day or two before our shoot. Giving up water is very hard for me. It’s harder than giving up carbs. That’s manageable. When you are filming in the hot sun, giving up on water is difficult. But it’s the result that counts. I want to see myself in an avatar I like. I am very critical about myself. It’s not about the people around me, I care a lot about what I think about myself. I work hard for myself. In my opinion, you can be any shape or size, but you have to accept yourself first. I am that kind of person.
How has your journey in Bollywood been since your debut in Hindi films with ‘M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story’ in 2016?
I don’t know. I landed in Bollywood by chance and I am very grateful and thankful to be here. It’s hard for someone like me to be accepted, especially since I am not from here... So right now, I am so happy being liked for my work. I am so happy that I get to work in Bollywood. It keeps me busy and I am happy to be busy.
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‘Malang’ is out in the UAE on February 6. Watch the trailer below:
KUNAL KEMMU PLAYS TOUGH COP IN ‘MALANG’
Bollywood actor Kunal Kemmu, who made his debut in a lead role with director Mohit Suri’s ‘Kalyug’ in 2005, seems to have come full circle. Fifteen years later, he’s back in Suri’s romantic thriller ‘Malang’, starring Disha Patani, Adita Roy Kapur and Disha Patani. He plays Michael, a righteous cop, the head of a special investigative cell in Goa.
“This is one of the few films where there’s no demarcation of a hero or a villain. They are all interesting characters with grey shades, but Michael has no grey shades. He sees the world as black or white. He believes in doing the right thing and he will go to any lengths to ensure that. He cannot differentiate between good or bad, he can only differentiate between right and wrong,” said Kemmu in an interview with Gulf News tabloid! ahead of his film’s release in the UAE on February 6.
According to the actor, ‘Malang’ is a thriller about the events that play out during one night on Christmas in Goa and how four characters’ lives get intertwined unknowingly.
These four characters had crossed each other’s paths five years ago and that sets an unpredictable chain reactions.
“All the characters in this film have more layers than what meets the eye. They are so different from each other and yet so similar. It’s an exciting film to be a part of,” said Kemmu.
The actor will also be seen in the sequel of the hit zombie comedy Go Gone 2 soon and believes that his career in Bollywood was fulfilling and challenging over the years.
“I have learnt to take life, one step at a time. The important thing is to enjoy what you are doing and concentrate on that … It’s unpredictable industry which is fair and unfair at time. But I have stopped worrying about things that are not in my control. It’s easy to complain about things, but I don’t,” said Khemu.