Nargis Fakhri’s candid confessions on her Rockstar co-star, among other things
Upala KBR (BOMBAY TIMES; February 18, 2012)
Nargis Fakhri was touted as the next best thing prior to the release of her debut film, Rockstar. While director Imtiaz Ali and lead actor Ranbir Kapoor got all the acclaim, Nargis had to contend with the brickbats. Post that, the actress disappeared to New York for two months to take stock. In her first interview since returning from the US, she tells us what she’s been through, including her relationship with Ranbir.
When Rockstar released you were touted as the new “It Girl”. However, you haven’t signed any new films since.
• Rockstar was a very special film. It was during Rockstar that I realised acting is what I am meant to do. After being part of such a fantastic project, my team and I are taking our time selecting my next project. So whether it is signing a film or a brand, a lot of thought is going into it. I am not going to sign everything that comes my way. If it means waiting for the right film, then so be it.
Imtiaz Ali has stood by you and said he would cast you again if the project is right. Comment.
• It’s endearing to know that he has stood by me. I think he is an amazing director and human being, and I feel honoured that he chose me to be a part of this film.
How did you get Rockstar?
• Rockstar found me. I got emails while living in Copenhagen. As luck would have it, Imtiaz was coming to Prague, my mother’s home city, and asked to meet me. I hesitated but then thought what the heck, I’ll just see what this is all about. Next thing I knew, I was on a flight to India and a few months later we were back in Prague shooting.
Who in Bollywood has been kindest to you post Rockstar?
• Everyone has been so kind to me and helped to make things comfortable here. But I have the greatest gratitude towards Mrs Neetu Kapoor, Ranbir’s mother. I don’t know if she knows it, but I am truly grateful to have met her and so blessed that she was around for me… and still is. It’s hard when you don’t have your mom around, and she exudes that loving, caring feminine energy that I was missing. There are two girls that I can call at 3 am — one is my manager and the other was an assistant director on Rockstar. That’s about it for now.
Do you feel being linked romantically to Ranbir was damaging to your career?
• I don’t think it was damaging, I don’t think any of that was a big deal at all. I chose to ignore it and concentrate on my work and hopefully, people will do that too.
What is your true relationship with Ranbir, barring the “just good friends” cliché?
• He was, is and will always be very special to me, because I didn’t have any other friend here in Mumbai. We hung out a lot. I was grateful to have him around. We remain friends, and when we both have time I’m sure we’ll catch up. We try to keep in touch, but schedules are hectic and it makes it hard to be as close as we used to be.
Can you call him your 3 am friend?
• Yes. He has always been encouraging and supportive. If I need anything, I can call and he’ll willingly help me out, or at least try.
Are you single? How did you celebrate Valentine’s Day this year?
• Yes I’m single. I spent it with a few friends.
When critics said you didn’t have any acting skills, did you feel hurt?
• How can I feel hurt or disappointed when I never set out to be an actress? Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would do a Bollywood film, so there was no way I could have prepared for any of this. People have their views on others all the time, so it did not hurt to hear the criticism. I was eager to hear the truth so I could understand what I needed to work on.
In retrospect, do you think you should have enrolled in an acting academy before joining films?
• Once again, if I knew I was going to do this as a career then yes, of course. But being that I had no idea this would’ve happened, how could I have prepared? When I was offered the role, I had only three months to get ready. That’s not enough time. Now that I am back, I am going to look into whatever is required.
Before Rockstar released, we’d heard you would only work with the three Khans and Hrithik Roshan. Is that still your stand?
• I have always been professional when it comes to work. I cannot and will not dictate who I want to work with. I am only one movie old, so there is no question of me wanting to work with a select group of people. I would love to work with the Khans, Hrithik and everyone else. My priority is the script. Get me a good script and I will sign the movie. I think I should leave the casting up to the experts!
After their first release, most actresses knock on directors and producers’ doors wanting to sign more films, but you disappeared to New York.
• This film was extremely taxing, and I needed to spend time with my mother. She is the most important person in my life, and I made being with her my priority. I gave this movie two years of my life, and it was a lot of work. So once all promotions were taken care of, I was looking forward to a nice long break at home with my family and friends. Now I’m back, and it has only been work, work, work since I landed in Mumbai.
What does your family think about your vocation?
• My mother is happy with whatever I choose to do in life as long as I’m happy, healthy and safe.
Tell us a bit about your family…
• It’s just my mom, sister and me, and they mean the world to me.
Do you think you have what it takes to be a successful star?
• I don’t really know what the prerequisites are for Bollywood, but I do believe I can be successful in anything I choose to do. Hard work and dedication is important to success, and I have those qualities