Interview By: Ankita R. Kanabar

A film down south and a music video later, Disha Patani is now making her Hindi film debut with ‘M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story’. Apart from the fact, that she’s making heads turn with her beauty quotient. In a quick chat, the lady speaks about the film, her journey, being subtle and the genre she would love to do!

“I was always terrified with the idea of acting earlier”

How’s the process of shooting a real-life based film like this?
It was different for all of us. I do not like working under pressure. I like to prepare before I go on set. So, I used to do workshops with Neeraj sir. I don’t want to get worried about my lines, or think a lot about my character when I am on set. I should be so prepared that I can give in my best. Which is why, the readings with Neeraj sir helped. He made things so clear for me. He will give you such amazing specifications about his characters. He gave me a character sketch, and I added my bit of feelings and emotions to it. When I’m shooting I think that I’m the character, so I do not have to act like it.

What are the traits that you had to work on?
He was looking for someone who fits the part, and if you fit the part, 50 per cent of your hardwork is gone. I think the costumes also help you, because I was supposed to look from the older generation – like the 90’s or early 2000s. I’m a girl from Delhi, so you see me wearing kurtis and all. That helps the character to come across as more lively. For me also, as an actor, I’m more subtle than commercial and even in this film I had to be subtle, so I was really happy about that. I cannot really act loud, those commercial films are not really my genre. That will be more challenging for me when I do it.

The film is about Dhoni’s journey. Tell me about your journey that we don’t know about.
I was studying B. Tech, and in my second year I dropped my college and decided to come to Mumbai. While I was studying, I was also modeling, so I was travelling a lot from Delhi to Mumbai. After a point, my college gave me an ultimatum that you have to decide, if you want to be part of the college, stay here, and if you want to get into modeling then leave the college. I don’t know why I left college, because I always wanted to be an airforce pilot, since I was young. My whole family is also into civil services. But sometimes its destiny’s call, sometimes you do not have to think so much. You just have to take the opportunities that come your way. When I came here, I started enjoying modelling and through that, films happened. It wasn’t a complicated journey, it was simple. But everyone has their own ups and downs.

And what is it that you’re really proud of, in this journey?
I was a very shy kid. I didn’t have friends till I was 15 or 16. I couldn’t talk to anyone because I was so shy. I am still very shy, I cannot still sit in a group and talk. When I came here, I had to give auditions in front of so many people. I didn’t know the ABCD of acting. Whatever I learnt was through auditions. So now when I see myself on camera and how I’ve changed, I know I’ve pushed myself to become this. So I feel proud about that. I am very comfortable in front of the camera, but otherwise I’m still shy.

What is it that you learn on this film?
I used to panic a lot when it comes to acting. I never took any professional acting course. I was always terrified with the idea of acting earlier also, but the confidence that Neeraj sir given me is something that will make me what I’m going to be. You question yourself if you are a good actor or bad actor; now what he’s taught me is simplicity. He’s taught me to be simple, feel the lines and say it. That’s how it should be but now because you have so many directors, different kinds of cinema, you have to be louder, and have drama. So everyone is going to give you a different perspective about the acting or performance. I was so amazed at his approach because he’s such a good director; I thought he must be very strict. But if he is telling me that it’s simple, you just have to feel and say your lines, then if anyone else in the world comes and tells me acting is difficult, I’m not going to believe it. You need to just simplify things in your head.

“When I see myself on camera and how I’ve changed, I know I’ve pushed myself to become this. So I feel proud about that. I am very comfortable in front of the camera, but otherwise I’m still shy”

What are the kind of films you wish to be a part of?

Action films. I love ‘Charlie’s Angels’, ‘Kung Fu’ kind of films. Comedy with action, or a hardcore action film – I’d love to do that. I just did ‘Kung Fu Yoga’ which is an action film. Now I want to do more of it, because now I’ve actually learnt more about it. Doing action and then act is the most difficult thing. Not everyone can do action; it takes your life for a toss. I’m talking about serious, real action. It is difficult but I want to do it because it is challenging and I love challenges. I would also love to do a superhero film.

You’ve started out, and there’s a certain attention that’s now coming your way. How are you reacting to that?
I am so happy. I know for the fact that I’m not so famous. But whatever little attention I’m getting, it makes me very happy because not everyone gets this kind of love from people and most of them are youngsters. So I’m happy and I hope somewhere I can also help them and teach them something if I get a chance, help them, motivate somewhere. I’ll be very happy if I can do that.

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