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SOHA ALI KHAN

- an interview

 
Soha Ali Khan

Soha, daughter of actress Sharmila Tagore and former Indian cricket captain Nawab Mansoor Ali Khan and sister of actor Saif Ali Khan has crossed the Rubicon and decided to follow her mother and brother (in that order) in acting. Her debut film, Dil Maange More opposite heartthrob Shahid Kapoor has generated hype and curiosity and got her reasonably good reviews. She looks all set for a long innings in films. Excerpts from an exclusive interview with Surabhi Khosla

 

Were you nervous on your debut?

Technically Dil Maange More was not my debut. I did an English film called Yatna by the Los Angeles based documentary filmmaker Rajashree Ojha. Then I did the Bengali film, Iti Srikanto based on Sharat Chandra Chatterjee's novel, Ebong Srikanto. So, Dil Maange More is my first Hindi film and obviously I am nervous.

Did you always want to follow in your mother's footsteps?

I was always interested in cinema but I never thought that I'd become an actress one day. I mean Saif is a star; my mother was one so I thought maybe I should do something different. Thatís why I took up a career in banking with Citibank. But then I guess acting was my creative calling and now that I am doing what I have always wanted to do, I feel inspired. My decision to quit banking did surprise my family members initially but they never wavered in their support.

Why did you do a Bengali film?

My mother too first did a Bengali film. Like her I also love Bengali literature and when I was offered a part in Iti Srikanto, I decided to grab it. I played Kamal-lata in the film and it was a truly memorable experience.

Why did you agree to a three-heroine Hindi film debut?

Like I said I was waiting for the right script to come my way. When Dil Maange Moreís producer Nikhil Panchamiya narrated the story, I liked my character. As for the three actresses Ė if youíve seen the movie our characters are poles apart. Each one has a specific and important role. The script is so strong that the viewers simply canít mistake one actor for another.

Tell us about your co-stars?

Since we are all the same age, working together was a blast. Even though Tulip, Ayesha and Shahid are older than me in terms of the number of movies, they never made me feel as if it as my first film. It was great fun on the sets.

What about sporting skimpy outfits?

My priorities are very clear. I have joined the film industry to act, not to display my body. I hope to move up the ladder with emancipated roles on my plate. I donít want fame by stripping. In any case, if one is talented and hard working, success will automatically follow.

How does it feel being a star sister and a star daughter and does that help?

It feels great to have a family like mine and yes I do get preferential treatment sometimes on the sets. However with a background like mine, proving my mettle becomes even more important and tougher considering the kind of talent that exists in my household. I have learnt a great deal from mom, dad and Saif but I would like to create an individual identity too.

 

You are doing Antar Mahal being directed by a top director like Rituparno Ghosh. How has the experience been?

Antar Mahal is complete now but a lot of effort went into acting for the film. My mother had to help me a lot when it came to diction and language. She also helped me control certain expressions. Despite being a newcomer, Rituda encouraged me and was very happy with my performance.

Do you have any specific roles in mind? What kind of roles are you being offered?

I havenít really decided on any image right now. All I know is that I want to be choosy and do only substantial roles. I'd like to do many roles that my mother has done. Like Aradhana, Amar Prem, Mausam ... I want to work with great directors and hopefully take up some liberated roles.

What are your other films on the floor? .

Apart from Dil Maange More that is already running I am doing Hriday Shetty's Pal Tham Gaya, along with Dimple Kapadia, Rishi Kapoor and Sammir Dattani. I am also working in a film directed by Somnath Sen, starring Boman Irani and Tabu. I am getting a lot of film offers but as I said, I want to do only meaningful roles.

*****

 

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