Interview By: Devanshee Singh

We had a chit chat with Erika Kaar, who is making her Bollywood debut in Ajay Devgn’sShivaay’. It was really fun to talk to her because of her beautiful and genuine personality. She talked about the starting point till the whole experience of shooting and also her affection for India. Excerpts:

“I want my work to speak for me not myself”

How you came on board for ‘Shivaay’?

I went for casting because luckily they needed the leading actress from the Europe or European looking person. Plus they needed her to speak Hindi. So, producers were travelling all over Europe conducting casting auditions and looking for right actress. They also came to Warsaw which is my home town. I was invited for the casting. I prepared the scenes. And to do an extra home work I also prepared few lines in Hindi to show them that I am open to the opportunity to act in foreign language. We worked on the scenes and did it for an hour or so. It was a great experience. I really liked it. And then they chose me.

What prompted you to be a part of ‘Shivaay’?

I was really fascinated by the script actually because I felt that it’s a very unique story. And I can’t tell you anything more than that (laughs).

How was your experience with Ajay Devgn as he is not only your co-star but also the director and producer of the film?

It was a very long journey from the first workshop in January 2015. Until now it was a long journey. We went through costume trials and learning the language and lines. On the set, first we were very professional and kind to each other. Then we became friends a little bit and start talking more and become more friendly which is a wonderful thing. It was complete devotion and professionalism which Ajay showed to this project. I really feel that this movie is his baby. It makes me feel really proud to be a part of it. So, all the time I was trying to give my best and also not to fail his expectations. It was very motivating and great experience.

Are we going to see you in more Hindi films?

If I get the opportunity and once the film get released and the audience can see what we did, given the chance I would love to. I can’t predict the future and I don’t know what’s going to happen. I did my work and I want people to see it. I want my work to speak for me not myself.

What kind of roles you wish to do in future?

I think my approach for doing this profession is I think characters come to me not the other way around. Recently I was shooting for something, so this character of the girl is very introvert, delicate, innocent but also she is a goddess so she is very strong. This character came to me and I would never imagine a character like this.  If you ask me one week ago I would have never told you about the character but now I spent some time with her, thought of her, portrayed her in the shooting I could say it’s one of my dream characters. If a role of mean fat queen would come to me that would also be my dream role. I love when characters come to me. The more different from me the better it is. First character I played was very delicate fragile nurse in the First World War who was trembling and worried. Then I played a rich sexy girl and now I am playing something which I can’t tell you about. I love my job.

What difference do you find in approaches of people here in India and out of India? 

The approach is different. First of all, in my British production that I took part in people were more of freelancers, hired to do the job, very professional, they were just high professionals. Here, we were a team. Ajay told me that he has been working with these people for years; whenever he is doing something they will always join him. When there was Diwali, we all had the bon fire and we were dancing and singing some Hindi rap songs and it was so much fun. And it was not about goofing around or partying or anything like that because we didn’t have time for that. It’s about everyone on the crew being super professional but also having fun with creating something together. It wasn’t just working, it was creating something.

What do you like most about India?

I like a lot. I love Indian people. I am not just saying because I came here. I have been observing people here. Big part of Indian people is all about love and kindness. People are really kind and warm. When I am in India I feel better because I can put my guards down. I am really overwhelmed with the amount of kindness and warmth that I encounter here. Plus I love the food. I am food person and Butter Chicken, Jeera rice, Butter Naan are my addiction. I really love Indian food. I love the Indian jewellery, it’s beautiful. I love the traditions. I am having so much fun on the street markets. I love linking road market and bargaining is a hobby to me (laughs).

Did you always want to be an actor?

People learn to be who they are. When you are sixteen, you really don’t know who you are. You are discovering everything at that time. Some people are brave enough or confident enough to know right away that I want to be an artist and have the courage to say it out loud. They pursue their dream even though taking under consideration very possible risk of failure. So, I was one of these people. I would have always thought that it is beautiful that some people are acting in films, or dancing or singing but I was like it’s not for the people from this world. I felt like it was for some magical people. So, it was obvious to me that I had to study a lot and to pass my matriculation final exams really well and go to a economics school and learn, learn, learn because this was the sure path. Plus, I was also thought to be the nerd in the family. I did modelling when I was in the high school but it was only a hobby to have fun and pocket money. I never considered it as an option and never something as fascination. It was absolutely sure that I am supposed to be a business woman or work as economist. I was almost having the Master’s degree in economics, something just switched and I realised that I have say it out loud. Plus, people would often ask me why you are not an actress? I was in Economics school and there was no connection, then too people use to ask me why you are not an actress. You should be. You look like an actress. Also, I had this thing that whenever I would watch a film, I won’t only watch the plot of the film, I would also think about what the actors are doing. I didn’t know anything about acting back then. I think I had that in me but I just needed more time than other people to find the courage to say it out loud. Plus, I was really scared that I would fail. That’s why I have great respect for all the people who say it out loud before they are sure that they are going to do fine. It’s very impressive.

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