British actress Aruna Shields, who acted with Vivek Oberoi in The Prince, gets candid about her sex appeal and working in Bollywood. Excerpts:
Is it true that you were perceived as this 'hot' actress even before the release of your first movie? Are you comfortable with the tag?
In commercial Indian cinema I think it is a good thing to be seen as attractive. Maya, my character, is a sexy, stylish, superhero... if I couldn’t be perceived as ‘hot’, I wouldn’t have got the role.
I’ve been given the opportunity by Kumar Taurani to break my glamorous stereotype in European films so it doesn’t worry me.
People talk about the infamous casting couch in Hindi films. In other words, you have to do a little bit of sleeping around to get good roles. Did you go through the same thing?
In England, I feel safe as most of the casting directors are women... so watch out, boys! There is absolutely no chance I would ever sleep with anyone to get a role. The energy I give off when I meet people in the industry reflects that. I believe they are looking for an experienced actor who is right for the role, that’s it.
But I’ve heard horror stories about people abusing their power with beginners. You have to make sure you have got your head screwed on. In any case, it is a very good banner to work with, so I didn't have to worry about anything.
Would you mind doing a lovemaking scene in Hindi films, considering that you have come from the UK film industry?
I’m totally free and not scared of doing lovemaking scenes. It would depend upon whether I liked the script and trusted the director.
Is it true that there are a lot of explicit scenes in Jag Mundhra’s film Private Moments? Is it true that the script narrated to you and what turned out in the end were different?
Private Moments is a chick flick advertised in the press as London’s version of Sex and The City. It’s a comedy, so the steamy scenes, in context, are meant to amuse. I would also have no problems doing lovemaking scenes in a drama if I liked the script. Doing challenging scenes helps build your confidence and make you less self-aware.
Why did you land up in Bollywood? Don’t you think you have better prospects there [in the UK] than in Hindi films? Or do you want to tread both lines, as in work in both film industries?
They were looking for a new international face and held castings in London. I fit the bill and liked the idea of doing an action thriller.
I work all over the world and would like to remain an actor who crosses markets. It’s very rewarding and insightful working with so many different cultures. I love it!
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