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    Feb 2011


    Cool Esha Gupta on Movies, Men & Nudity

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    Do you think you resemble Angelina Jolie as people say?

    No! I am not at all similar to her. I donít want to be compared. You know the saying that in this world, there are at least seven people who look similar but not alike? I think itís something like that. But Angelina Jolie is a huge star and
    has been around for a while. Iíve just entered the industry.

    So, you donít take it as a complimentÖ

    Itís not a good feeling. People might think itís a compliment but itís not. Eventually, I want to look like Esha Gupta and not like anyone else. Actually, I think I am a carbon copy of my mother. If my mother would have been in the industry, people would say, ĎAngelina Jolie looks like Rekha Guptaí and not the other way round.

    Jannat 2 is a huge success. How do you feel about that?

    Well, my confidence level is higher now. But as an actor, I wasnít very happy with my performance in Jannat 2. I think itís always good to criticise yourself. Even in my school days, I was never satisfied with my marks. If I got 80 per cent, I would strive to do better.

    Tell us a bit about yourself.
    I come from an Air Force background and my family is very broad-minded. We openly discuss everything. I am a daddyís girl, while my mother is my best friend. There is absolutely nothing thatís hidden from her, whether itís my first time failing in an exam or kissing a guy for the first time. My mother knows everything about my life.

    How did it all begin for you? Modelling, actingÖ
    After appearing for my graduation exams in Mass Communication (Journalism) from Manipal University, I was awaiting my results. The newspapers were filled with advertisements of Femina Miss India. My mother wanted me to participate in the contest though I thought it wasnít for me. I took it up, considering it would keep me busy until my results were out. Modelling, initially, was just a hobby and not a career choice because I had already got a scholarship in BPP Law School, Newcastle. As I had to represent India in the international pageant, I thought Iíd take a yearís break and then join the law school. But later, I realised that modelling was fun and enjoyable.

    What was the pageant experience like?
    I wasnít very keen on being a part of it. Unlike others, I didnít tell myself, ĎI want to win the contest at any cost.í I think God was by my side (smiles). I had seen other girls preparing for it two to three years ahead. And it was really surprising as I was the one who was clueless and didnít know what was happening.

    And Bollywood followed?
    After I won the Miss India International title, I started getting many offers. But I didnít want to take up any project without doing an acting course. I didnít want to look dumb. Though itís largely the directorís job to bring out the best in an actor, one should know the basics. So I took acting classes for a while before approaching production houses.

    You werenít the original choice for Jannat 2
    Prachi Desai was the original choice for Jannat 2. When I met Mukesh Sir (Bhatt), he said his production house was looking for a star for Kunal Deshmukhís film. I didnít know they were open to replacing the cast they had already blocked. They asked me for an audition, which I did, and the next thing I know I was the lead for Jannat 2. Whoíd say no to it?

    Was the shoot tough? Were you nervous?
    Yes, it was my first film. I fumbled and kept forgetting my lines. But Emraan kept motivating me and gave cues even when he was not in the frame. He would always tell me, ďCalm down Esha. Donít take it to heart.Ē I knew one thing; although it was my 20th take for the audience, it was my first. Initially, it was a little difficult, but now I make sure my every take is better than the previous one.

    So Emraan Hashmi was a good co-star?
    (Smiles) Yes. He is my motherís favourite actor too. I will always say that working with Emraan is like a dream come true for any newcomer. He is very patient and calm. People have often criticised him in the past but he is focussed and just keeps on doing his job. He always has the audience in mind. I think people have started appreciating him more as an actor. He is extremely professional and very hard working. He hardly sleeps.

    Youíve become quite a fan of Emraan it seems...
    I would often tell him on the sets, ĎEmraan, I look up to youí and he would hate hearing it because it made him feel like a 60-year-old veteran.

    Did this equation make the steamy scenes easier on your part?
    Not necessarily. It was my first film. I wasnít comfortable doing most scenes at one go, while he could deliver one dialogue in 100 different ways! Yes, the bold scenes were surely more difficult for me, compared to the other scenes. But what I realised was that even for Emraan, these scenes werenít a cakewalk. No matter how many films he has done, Emraanís still not comfortable doing such scenes.

    Really? One would think heís an expert by now.
    Imagine this. Youíre on top of a girl, kissing her, with so many people around. Itís nerve-wracking, and you always want to finish off those scenes in as few takes as possible.

    Youíve posed semi-nude for a calendar. No inhibitions?
    Why will I have inhibitions? I am very comfortable with my body, whether I am wearing a saree or a bikini. I know when I am looking nice and when I am not. And this shoot was done quite aesthetically.

    Would you sport a bikini in films?
    Yes, why not? But only if itís the requirement of the film. A filmmaker cannot make a heroine wear a bikini to make the film work; not in my case at least. You canít put me in a bikini and put me in a room. You need to put me near a pool or a beach. All the actresses are sporting one these days. I donít think itís such a big deal. Look at the advertisements on TV; they have girls almost half-naked. Then why not in a film?

    How do you perceive nudity?
    (Ponders) It depends on where and how you are incorporating a nude scene. For example, nudity is required in a porn film. But when youíre portraying desire between two people, you need to be careful. Itís the directorís and actorís decision, whether they wish to include nudity in the film. You need to be smart about it because itís tricky. If done well, it can look beautiful. If gone wrong, it can look very cheap and obscene.

    You look like someone who has always got a fair bit of male attentionÖ
    (Laughs) Who doesnít want male attention? Every girl craves male attention whether itís from her father, brother, boyfriend or some stranger walking down the street, staring at her.

    In Bollywood, a new face is launched every day. How far do you think youíll succeed in creating a mark for yourself in this competitive industry?
    If new faces wouldnít have been launched, actresses like Madhuri Dixit and Sridevi also wouldnít be born. Even Deepika Padukone and Sonam Kapoor were new faces at one point of time. Right now, itís my turn. I cannot say whether Iíll be successful or not. My job is just to work hard. I leave the rest to God. If I have it in my destiny, Iíll make it.

    Bollywood is plagued with politics, the camp system, casting couch and rejection...
    I do not understand why people say that. Of course, there are star kids in the industry but I am still getting my due. I donít think Iíll ever face politics. If you have the capability, you eventually make it to the top. Katrina (Kaif) is the best example. She has no godfather in the industry yet she is the heartthrob of many men, and many women are jealous of her because of her success. I look at examples like her.

    Are you a pucca Delhi-ite?
    I am a pucca foodie. Iím not kidding when I say I can eat more than any girl can. Delhi, of course, has the best food. If someone asks me what I miss about Delhi, I would blindly say, food, food and food (giggles).

    What is your take on item numbers?
    I donít see any harm in doing an item number. Every big actress is doing one today. If I am offered a good item number, Iíd love to do it.

    Youíve already become a sex symbol...
    Whatís wrong in being a sex symbol? Itís not bad to have men dreaming about you. I wouldnít mind it.

    What is your idea of romance?
    I am quite a romantic at heart. For me, romance is lighting the entire house with candles. I have done that earlier (Smiles). On my 20th birthday, I remember being gifted 20 cupcakes. I have gone parasailing with my guy. I have gone to the middle of the sea and jumped off! I have done crazy things when in love.

    Whereís your boyfriend now?
    I am not seeing anyone now. Those are things of the past.



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