Learning the ropes in BollywoodComment on this story
The spirited and stunning Nargis Fakhri recently shared all on the popular TV show Coffee With Karan. In this interview with Bollywood Hungama’s Subhash K Jha she elaborates on some of what she said – including calling a popular Bolly actor a “gossip queen” – and talks about the movies she has on the go…
Congrats for being on Karan Johar’s first x-rated talk-show episode. Is that what I’ve done? Well, thank you. I am finally in an x-rated work… Why do you say that?
Well, the episode has been shifted from the usual 9pm to a safer 11pm. Well, I have to admit I’ve never heard of a chat show being postponed to a later slot. I don’t think I’ve said anything that sensational… Oh man, now I am scared. I hope I didn’t go too far. I hope people laugh about what I say and don’t take it too seriously.
Why did you call Ranbir Kapoor a “gossip queen” on Coffee With Karan? Isn’t it self-explanatory? But when people say a lot of bad things about others I am very uncomfortable. And they smile at those very people they are bitchy about.
Madras Cafe got you good reviews? Did it get you good roles? The offers did come in. But at the moment after Main Tera Hero, I am only doing Shaukeen. I did receive many compliments for that role.
From Rockstar to Main Tera Hero… what has your journey been like so far? I’ve learnt a lot about the ways of Mumbai’s entertainment industry. But not enough yet.
How much at home do you feel now when you are just three years old in Bollywood? Shall I be honest? I am still a fish out of water.
I don’t understand a lot of things here. I am still trying to find my way around this place, trying to “belong”.
Like I am told that if you are working in Bollywood you have to use accessories like wigs, false eyelashes and lots of make-up. So I do that although I am totally anti-accessory.
You don’t have to do what everyone does. You do! If you don’t everyone will accuse you of being difficult. It’s very tough to create a balance between what I am comfortable with and what people expect from me. If I want to survive I have to try to be a conformist.
What hurts the most is that people here are so friendly when they are working with you and then they become like strangers.
For someone like me who is very picky about friends, that’s very painful. But a friend told me. “You got schooled, not fooled.”
You feel stupid when you are conned by people. But eventually you come out wiser. I never want to get bitter about experiences, no matter how bad.
Do you miss your family in Mumbai? I have to tell you, my mother visited me in Mumbai in January for the first time since I came here. She had a great time. She was with me for a couple of days.
Then I sent her off on her own journey through North India.
Regrettably I couldn’t spend more time with her because I had to promote my new film. But I am glad she saw how I lived.
This was your mother’s first visit? Yes, though people wrote earlier that mom visited, and I was living in with Shahid (laughs).
So did you have to hide boyfriends and beer bottles when your mother visited? Not at all. I talk about everything under the sun with my mom. I am a lot like my mom. We’re very close.
I take care of her financially and emotionally. She is my best friend. We talk about drugs, alcohol and sex.
I don’t see you doing drugs. The rest I wouldn’t know? I am not doing much of anything else either right now except working. So it’s a depressing life for me.
Has your mother seen your films? I hope she didn’t see Phata Poster Nikla Hero? She loved Madras Cafe. And yes, she did see Phata Poster… and loved my dancing. She found it cool and entertaining.
I didn’t think much of your dancing in Phata Poster...? Are you better at the dancing in Main Tera Hero? You know I am not sure I am. When they give you the movements 40 minutes before they are shot and you have to learn the steps and then lip-sync you have to be a seasoned dancer to get the hang of it, which I am not.
It’s difficult for my mind and body to be in sync because I have learnt western dancing. Bollywood dancing is very different.
Was Main Tera Hero a pleasant experience?
It was great fun. Most of the time I had a good time. It was like working with my family. Ileana and Varun were very helpful. I pray to work with such people every day.
Ileana d’Cruz and I are so similar, she thinks the way I do. We both have a good head on our shoulders, although I am a lot crazier than her.
Varun is your generation? We hit it off immediately. Varun went to college abroad. We had a lot in common. I will say he’s my favourite co-star. He’s a very smart young man. And very caring. I saw how kindly and generously he treats his staff. For me that’s a sure sign of a good human being. I hope and pray he remains the same even when I am long gone.
What do you mean, long gone? We all have to go, right? Oh, I am just being a drama queen. If there was a television camera following me around I’d make a very entertaining reality show. But seriously, I don’t hold on to things and people. I’ve seen so many people’s dreams and expectations fall apart. Expectations mean disappointment. You have to try my formula for loving. It’s cool.
How is your Hindi now? It’s still in the learning stage. But I dubbed all my own lines in Main Tera Hero. It was really tough. I needed help in the dubbing theatre to get it right. Everyone helped. But it was difficult. I have a lot more Hindi to learn. The major obstacle is that people around me all speak English. So how do I become fluent in Hindi? I don’t think I can be fluent in Hindi. My environment doesn’t allow me.
What other films are you on to? Only Shaukeen. Other projects are happening. But unless they do I don’t want to talk about it. There are a lot of negative vibes around. We are starting Shaukeen in April.
No, I haven’t seen the original Shaukeen. The entire script has been redone. But I am aware of Rati Agnihotri who played my part in the original. Apparently she was wonderful.
You are paired with Akshay Kumar? Yes, for the first time. It’s a nice bouquet of co-stars from Ranbir to Shahid to John, don’t you think?