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    Bachchan left me speechless - on and off screen: Sandali

    [Interview by Manisha Despande]
    Wednesday, November 24, 2004
    Actress Sandali Sinha says she found it quite easy to play a girl who is dumbstruck on meeting Amitabh Bachchan in her forthcoming film because that''''s exactly how she was feeling!

    She co-stars with Bachchan, Bobby Deol and Akshay Kumar in Anil Sharma''''s "Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Sathiyon".
    "I was extra cautious about not making a mistake in front of any of them. When I worked in 'Pinjar', there were known stars like Manoj Bajpai and Urmila Matondkar, but the fact that I was working with a new director reassured me," Sandali told Bollywood Trade in an interview.

    "That wasn't the case here, but thanks to Anil Sharma who kept reassuring me and asked me to let go of all my apprehensions, I began to regain my confidence.

    "I also realised in due course that Bobby was a gem of a person, very good at heart though moody at times. Akshay was a pure professional, always bustling with energy and concerned about his co-stars. But the experience of working with Amit-ji was an altogether different one," she says.

    In the film, Sandali is cast opposite Bobby in the role of an army doctor based in the border, who goes out of her way to treat soldiers. She vividly remembers the first shot she did with Bachchan, who plays Bobby's father in the film.

    "That was also the first time I met him. Fortunately the first scene I had with him showed that I was speechless and stunned on seeing him, which was the case in reality too!

    "I stood there looking like a dumbfounded girl after hearing his magnetic voice and my expression was perfect for the shot," she laughs, recalling how Bachchan walked up to her later in the day and formally introduced himself.

    "The experience of working with director Anil Sharma in 'Ab Tumhare...', has given me tremendous confidence in my ability as an actress. I am now prepared to take on the world," says Sandali.
    "It is a very challenging role in contrast to those that are usually written for heroines in films. Moreover, it was a learning experience for me, working with artistes of the stature of Bachchan, Bobby and Akshay," she adds.

    The "Tum Bin" girl, who had vanished after her last film, "Pinjar", feels that it was pure destiny that landed her the coveted role.

    "I have learnt that destiny takes its own course. There are times when your plans never work out, however hard you try and there are times when things suddenly start happening unexpectedly, just the way this role fell into my lap.

    "I had only one other film, Dilip Shankar's 'Nigehban', in which I play the role of a human rights activist. I was busy shuttling between Mumbai and Delhi due to personal reasons, trying to cope up with an eventuality. Then I decided to come down to Mumbai for good and the role happened to me," she smiles.

    With the countdown for the release of 'Ab Tumhare...' having begun, Sandali is eagerly looking forward to the D-day. The promos of the song, "Kurti malmal ki", featuring her have got excellent feedback so far.

    Asked about life in the Hindi film industry, she said: "You are treated the way you project yourself."

    So where does she see herself going from here? "That will be decided after the release of 'Ab Tumhare...' Dec 3. I am sure about one thing though - that I don't at any point intend to pack my bags and return to Delhi. Things have just started happening for me," she smiles.

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