How much is riding on the new December release Radio? A lot. Three careers worth to be precise.
After a reality check at the box office with last year's Karzzzz, multi-hyphenate talent Himesh Reshammiya needs a hit to get his career as an actor off life support. Shenaz Treasuryvala, after spending some time in movie wilderness, attempts to reboot her career.
Finally Sonal Sehgal - whose acting debut occurred in the still unreleased Aashayein (John Abraham) - will make her box office debut here. Blessed with near perfect movie star features (Dreamy eyes, check! Creamy skin, check! Dazzling smile, check! Pearly whites so perfectly aligned they could have participated in China's 60th Anniversary Celebrations, check!) Sonal will attempt to connect with urban audiences in what Himesh likes to call 'a modern love story'.
There's more to Sonal of course. For example, recently on Salman's Dus Ka Dum with her costars to promote her flick she showed killer dexterity with a pyjame ka naada. (2:20 in this YouTube video). I kid!
I thought it'd be fun to have Sonal tell us more about her impending movie career launch.
AspisDrift.com: Sonal, welcome to the Drift . You look fabulous in the promos! Might I also add that I think you have the most gorgeous shoulders in Bollywood!
Sonal: That's a first! Lol...thank you
AspisDrift.com: There’s much talk about your new film Radio. How are you feeling? Nervous? Excited? Hopeful? Terrified?
Sonal: Nervous, excited, hopeful and terrified.
AspisDrift.com: How did you get cast in Radio?
Sonal: Before Radio, I shot another film with Himesh for Studio 18, called Ishq Unplugged. The director of Radio, Ishan Trivedi saw my work and offered me Radio
AspisDrift.com: This woman you play in Radio: what’s she like? Give us her story.
Sonal: Of all the films I've shot (that's four, in the last two years - all awaiting release) I have the most challenging character in Radio.
My character, Pooja, evolves a lot through the film. You see her in the beginning as a headstrong woman, very focused about what she wants: She is today's woman, who will not compromise with her happiness.
When Pooja and Vivan's (Himesh's character) marriage faces compatibility issues, she suggests divorce and that they continue as friends. And they do. (I know what you are thinking...this is a huge step for Bollywood. It is!)
Once they are back to being friends she even encourages him to date Shanaya (Shehnaz's character). When they do start dating, she feels jealous. It's almost child-like jealousy.
And then...watch the film!!
AspisDrift.com: We are huge Himesh fans on this blog so I have to ask you this: what was your first impression of your lead actor?
Sonal: Honestly, before I met Himesh, I had the same opinion of him as everybody else...arrogant, very talented musician, but can he act? But after one meeting, it all changed.
He is very humble, willing to learn, listens to criticism and is very, very hardworking. You will see with this movie how he has grown as an actor. And it is for all to see how he has re-invented himself with his look and sound.
AspisDrift.com: I’ve heard Himesh is really intense on the sets. But he’s always singing on those TV shows. Did he break into impromptu song on the sets?
Sonal: What you've heard is correct. He is very focused on the sets. There's no song n dance. He knows he's still a newcomer where acting is concerned and so puts in a 1000%. He is always rehearsing his lines, trying to improvise, getting it perfect even before the camera rolls.
AspisDrift.com: All right last Himesh question although a bit indirect: what is your favorite song on the Radio soundtrack and why?
Sonal: Piya jaise ladoo (Rekha Bhardwaj, Himesh). That shehnai piece in the beginning just arrests you!!
AspisDrift.com: I have to ask you one question based on the Radio promo. Your husband Naresh Kamath is an all round rock star and often tours. When he is away have you ever like laid a plate for him and pretended to feed his empty chair? Come on now, be honest!
Sonal: Ha ha ha...But there is a story I'd like to tell. As a kid, my mum had allocated the duty of laying the dining table to me. So everyday I would put four plates for mum, dad, my sister and myself. When my sister got married and moved out, I would still lay four plates...just in case she dropped by to eat with us.
I really missed her!
AspisDrift.com: Sonal, tell us a bit about yourself. Where did you grow up and go to school?
Sonal: I grew up in Delhi and studied all the way till college in Delhi.
AspisDrift.com: There is a great story about how you ended up in front of the camera once. Mind telling us that story again? Please!
Sonal: I used to assist Pradeep Sarkar (Parineeta). We were shooting the video for Euphoria's ‘Maeri’, on the 1st of Jan. Obviously, we had a tough time finding two models. Nobody wanted to sacrifice their New Year Eve plans. So I was asked to step in. Little did I know that would be my first step in my ascent to bollywood!
AspisDrift.com: You’ve acted before on TV and now on film. What was the single biggest adjustment you had to make in front of the camera and off it?
Sonal: Working in TV is like being a daily wage labourer in a factory! You work 27 days a month,14 hrs a day, no weekends off. And God forbid if you fall sick, you get thrown out of the show. That happened to me. I had an accident while shooting for Kasauti Zindagi Ki, the doctor advised bed rest for two weeks and I lost my job! TV is grueling and ruthless.
Films are way more organized. They want you to look good and fresh, so resting is taken into account. Scripts do not change according to weekly TRPs. And now with the new face of Indian cinema, characters are becoming more and more real (no sati savitri and vamp characters).
AspisDrift.com: I was in India in September and I saw all these pictures of you at parties wearing some super stylish black outfit. Are you a bit of a stylista in the making?
Sonal: If I wasn't an actor, I'd be a designer! In fact I cleared the NIFT (most prestigious fashion design school in India) exam, and while I was waiting for college to start (a period of 2 months) I started assisting Pradeep Sarkar (just for a lark, summer job). Then I fell in love with film making and never went back to NIFT.
AspisDrift.com: Seriously though, don’t all these outfits cost a lot? If I may ask what do you spend MOST of your money on? Rent? Clothes? Naresh’s audio equipment? Mobile bill? Eating out?
Sonal: Clothes are very expensive! And once you've been photographed in an outfit, you dare not repeat it coz then the press really rips you apart. So we spend on that, and Naresh's audio equipment! Do you have any idea how much electric guitars cost?!!
AspisDrift.com: Tell us a bit about Aashayein: what is your role in that movie like? And when is that movie coming out?
Sonal: Aashayein is slated for a Feb 2010 release.
I play this doting girlfriend who puts up with a reckless gambler boyfriend, played by John Abraham, only because she loves him just too much. He doesn't have a job, lives off her salary and even gambles with her money...till one day they hit a jackpot and everything changes!
AspisDrift.com: Ok, final question which is mandatory on the Drift: can you fold a fitted bed sheet properly?
Sonal: Ummm...uhhh...never needed to...yunno house help is very cheap in India...but m sure i can :)
AspisDrift.com: Sonal, thanks for doing this. My best to you for the release – I hope you become a major movie star! Let Naresh know Jee Le rocked!
Sonal: Thank you so much.
Sonal's screen debut in Euphoria's Maeri
Do chick digs guys who sing? Sonal explains on Dus Ka Dum
In Radio's Piya Jaise Ladoo promo
In the Aashayein song promo with John Abraham