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    Perizaad Zorabian hopes 'Morning Raga' will click

    [Interview by Subhash K. Jha]
    Friday, October 29, 2004
    Perizaad Zorabian, who made an impressive large-screen debut in Nagesh Kukunoor''s "Bollywood Calling", has her hopes pinned on "Morning Raga" that released Friday across the country.

    Perizaad, who has created a very special niche for herself in Bollywood, says: "The thing about ''Morning Raga'' is all the characters come across extremely real. There''s nothing fake about it."

    Perizaad admits the bonding with Shabana Azmi during "Morning Raga" was special..."because she''s a woman. The other greats were males. With her I learnt more because I could relate to her on the gender level.

    "She''s like my surrogate mother. She held my hand throughout ''Morning Raga''. She''s willing to reach out and share her talent with a junior provided she sees a level of interest in the other person. And I certainly don''t lag behind in that area," Perizaad told IANS.
    "Shabana never let me feel intimidated. She literally walked the walk with me. Even though we're new age actors trained at Strasberg and all that, my co star Prakash Rao and I never for a minute felt like anything but students in front of Shabana."
    In between Perizaad was seen in the disastrous "Mumbai Matinee". "But I loved my character Sonali Verma though she came into the story very late. And I got to work with Rahul Bose.
    Perizaad pauses briefly: "After 'Joggers Park' this is another film of mine I've great hopes pinned on."
    "But one cannot be sure where the film goes finally. As an actor I've to make the choices I believe in. I can't do anything just for the heck of it."
    The roles are choosing themselves for Perizaad. "That way I'm lucky. After 'Bollywood Calling', filmmakers seem to have found a niche for me. But that's also my big disadvantage. The qualities in me that set me apart also limit me.
    "You know how it is. You want to be on the other side of the fence. My films connect with audiences in the cities and the metros. But it would be great to reach out in the interiors. There, they don't know my work! You know after 'Bollywood Calling' the only mainstream director who called me is David Dhawan.
    "That was unbelievable. I want to work with him. I've got associated with a serious kind of cinema. I guess Rani, Preity, Aishwarya and Kareena have more conventional personalities. For me the best option is to count my blessings. I'm very, very lucky to be where I am. If I do a masala film, I want to do it right... and if I've to change my name to Pari Khanna, then it's not happening. I'll do it my way."
    Perizaad's first foray into masala cinema was an item song in Sanjay Upaddhyay's "Satya Bol".
    "Sanjay was my director on television. This was my way of saying thank you. I wanted to do it to move out of my comfort zone. But that song was shot so badly. I'd never ever do anything vulgar. I'm a boringly nice, decent Parsi girl."
    Right now Perizaad has her eyes glued on "Morning Raga".
    "You know, Lilette Dubey who plays my mother had done a TV pilot with me once. When Mahesh Dattani told me she was my mother in 'Morning Raga' I was over the moon. And to have Rajiv Menon shoot rural Andhra so beautifully! Rajiv is such a hero. And for a producer like K. Raghvendra Rao who makes big masala films... to put such money on the table for 'Morning Raga' is so admirable. It's a Rs.20 million film!"
    And Rs.10 million must have gone to you, I joke.
    "I wish I wish! Don't make fun of a poor struggling offbeat actress," she breaks into peals of laughter.
    "But seriously I'm very happy with my career. Since I'm hyper by nature I do get stressed now and then about the other kind of cinema. I need to work non-stop.
    "'Joggers Park' got me a bit of fame and popularity. I certainly don't want to lose it. The stakes are now higher, and so's the insecurity. I think the turmoil of turning down tempting but finally futile assignments is killing. But as Nagesh Kukunoor advised me I should do what my heart tells me. I don't want to do work just to keep the ball rolling."
    Perizaad has just finished an interesting offbeat film called "Devaki" with Bappaditya Bandhopadhyay. "It's very dark... not the bubbly 'Joggers Park' kind of film. It's a wonderful subject about a city girl and an Adivasi (tribal).
    "Guess which I play? Ha, ha! 'Devaki' breaks stereotypes about feminine oppression while telling a parallel story about the two women. I speak in both Hindi and English, very authentic."


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