“Transforming into my character was a huge learning experience”
It was 4.30 in the morning in New York when I got a call. I hesitantly took it. It was Madhur (Bhandarkar) at the other end. Hey, you got the National Award for Best Actress for Fashion,” he said. I was too shocked to react. And suddenly, we both screamed with joy over the phone! I was not expecting an award but, yes, to be frank, there was hope that I might get the Best Actress award. And I was keeping my fingers crossed. While I have received several awards for my performance in the film, I didn’t expect to win a National Award. The news took me completely by surprise, more so because it came unannounced.
There were incessant congratulatory calls from family and friends and I could not catch up with sleep that day. I remained awake, personally attending to each call and there was such an outpouring of joy and love, and they all told me how proud they were of me. Their reactions were so very touching.
Yes, it’s true that I was once apprehensive about doing Fashion. I was not sure whether I would be able to do justice to my character, Meghna Mathur. It was a very complex character.
There are five transformations I had to go through in the film. First she is shown as a small-town girl, then as a struggling model who later becomes accomplished, more sophisticated and polished. The character goes through a complete transformation during this phase, where she loses her head and becomes arrogant and unpredictable.
There is then the downfall and the final resurrection. And I wondered if my three-year acting experience would suffice for this kind of character. I seriously did not think I could pull this off. It was definitely a challenge to do this role.
Few know that I had put on six kilos to portray the small-town Punjabi girl before shedding it as the film progressed. I went through a learning process to make my character look real.
When I look back, I am glad I did it. I thank Madhur and Ronnie (Screwvala) for convincing me to take the plunge and become Meghna Mathur.
The plan for a celebration is definitely on. As soon as I get back to Mumbai!