What happened to your first film Niyati?
It’s likely to release in November this year.
So Madholal is your launch film?
Yes. Though it was the second film I shot.
Tell us about your role.
Sudha is Madholal’s daughter. Her little secret is her love for the Muslim neighbour Anwar. When their world is wrecked by tragedy, Sudha finds the strength within herself and tries to step into her father’s shoes.
Is this your dream debut?
If it’s a mega-budget, star-studded film that flops, would that qualify as a dream debut? Madholal is a good film. If audiences like it, it will be my ‘dream debut’.
The film has won critical acclaim in the festival circuit.
Well, it has done very well internationally; but even the Indian festivals it went to, audiences were very appreciative. Once people get in the theatre and watch it, they’ll like it.
And your next film is Tanu weds Manu.
It’s a romantic comedy with Kangana Ranaut and Madhavan. I play the second lead.
What about a mainstream film?
I prefer a good role with something substantial and I got that in all my three films. I’d like to do mainstream films, but I think these categories and what they come loaded with are being challenged in the Bombay film world.
But how did films happen?
It began with my childhood desire to be on Chitrahaar. And I realised I wouldn’t be at peace till I’ve exhausted the drama keedaa in me.
How did your academic parents react?
They were quite stumped at first, and then after I told them I wanted to act in films, a newspaper carried a full-page feature on the casting couch in Bombay! My father flipped! But they let me go ahead and have supported me in every way. They remain concerned but they’re ok.
Director or stars you want to work with.
Vishal Bhardwaj, Sudhir Mishra, Aditya Chopra. Shahrukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan.