Jan 17, 2008

Actress Amrita Rao Interview

I like being the girl-next-door

She has a smile that sends many a young hearts aflutter, and now a national award that shows her acting prowess.Hyderabad Timescatches up with the charming Amrita Rao

As we wait in the cafĂ© of a star hotel in the city, she walks in, sans a frown or bored expression that some actors with newfound celebrity status tend to come with.For even though fame and a handful of awards have come at a rather young age for Amrita, they surely don't seem to have gone to her head. Settling down, and ordering a cup of blackcoffee, she only shares with a smile, "I've been running around like a mad girl," referring to the promotional work in the city for her latest movie. She looks her 20-something age, and only if you guys hadn't seen her on the silver screen, might've been wondering, "I have to find out which college she's in!" Alright now, before you get thinking…

Modelling for ad-films while still in college, and then onto Bollywood. Did you start out wanting to be an actress?

Not really. I always dreamt the little girl's dream of acting in movies, but as I grew up, studies became a priority. Only accidentally did I audition for an ad-film and got selected. That provided me the platform to get noticed, and thereafter, I took up the opportunities that came.

It was the Shahid-Amrita pair in Ishq-Vishq that really set things rolling, and since then, you've done so many films together. A special pair?

We've all grown up watching the popular onscreen jodis – Shah Rukh-Kajol, Juhi-Aamir. Today, when our on-screen pair is looked upon by the audience as something similar, it really feels special. Yes, it stemmed out of Ishq Vishq and we've been fortunate to get the right kind of roles since.

What does the success of Vivah and a Dadasaheb Phalke award mean?

It certainly means encouragement to do better work. When I received the Dadasaheb Phalke, I did not really understand the enormity of winning a national award. What makes it even more amazing is that I've never had any formal training in acting! I owe it to the role.

For many, however, you're still the girl-nextdoor. Do you feel the need to do varied roles to break this stereotyped tag?

I think the definition of the girl-next-door comes with a lot of preconceptions. You see, your girl-nextdoor could be witty, attractive, the life of a party - and so on. I would like to portray every girl-next-door out there. I take the tag as a compliment, as someone who can easily connect with the audience.

Tell us about your Tollywood experience.

Well…it's been an unusual experience,-speaking a language I didn't know, reacting to dialogues I didn't understand. But, people have been very supportive. Eventually, as I would write down the meaning of my dialogues, I picked up a fair bit of Telugu! Moreover, I was overawed by how cinema is worshiped here. I can't forget the day I went for the Athidhi show with Mahesh (Mahesh Babu) and the crew. The celebration, confetti, and enthusiasm were a treat to my eyes.