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“I needed a khadoos image”

As Simmba continues to roar at the box office Ashwini Kalsekar talks to Bhakti Mehta about her experience with the film, her role, and blockbuster director Rohit Shetty

On The Journey To Simmba

It was Rohit Shetty sir who thought I could play comic characters. He offered me Munni in Golmaal Returns. Then he made me part of his films whenever he felt that I fit the bill. He does that with everybody. He fondly calls the actors oft seen in his films ‘ration card ke actors’. It is not a joke because ration cards are only made for family members. So he has carefully chosen that phrase. Well, he calls everyone ‘family’; you are treated like family.

On The Preparation

My character came in later. First, I was supposed to do workshops mainly with Ranveerji (Singh), Sara (Ali) Khan and Sonu Soodji. Whether the character of a judge or any other character, I would never refuse. I mean, people would cut off their right arm to work with Rohit Shetty. I would do anything that Sriram Raghavan and Rohit Shetty ask me to do, no questions asked.

My character of a judge is strict but also khadoos. She is not corrupt. How do I portray that? I needed to have a no-nonsense image in all my scenes. I had to prove in the first four lines that nobody should mess with me and I can put anyone in jail. I was given some amazing lines.

On The Challenges

There aren’t many challenges when you are shooting for a Rohit Shetty film because he is a true ‘captain of the ship’. The only challenge is that Rohit Shetty is so focused that everybody else has to be at the top of their game. He is very sorted and clear, and notices when you change even a tiny detail. You want to give your best because he is the best.

When you are on the set with Rohit Shetty, you don’t want to miss even a second for fear that you will miss being a part of something magical. The only other time I felt this way was when I was on the sets of Sriram Raghavan’s films.

On The Co-stars

Ranveer Singh has done roles like Bajirao and Alauddin Khilji and is a star but he never lets you feel that way. He is very sweet and down-to-earth. He is very grounded and takes pictures with everyone in the same warm way, whether they are fans or co-stars or even my driver!

Sara Ali Khan is the new star on the block and has everything it takes to become a superstar, with her acting, command over languages, intelligence and of course beauty. And she doesn’t throw attitude.

On The Response

It’s superb! Even though I didn’t have many scenes and come in only in the second half, people have noticed me and the response has been amazing. It is the placement of the character by the director that is so good. People from the industry and the audience have been praising me. It is so great because the film has excellent actors featuring in it. It is overwhelming.

Future Projects

I don’t really like to talk about this because I’m not sure the makers would be happy and also because I am a little superstitious. But, yes, I am doing a film now and there are two web projects in the making.

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