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    Interview with Annabelle Wallis - leading lady of Dil Jo Bhi Kahey

    [Interview by Joginder Tuteja]
    Wednesday, September 21, 2005
    Sweet, perky, innocent and almost a Barbie doll - that''s how one describes Annabelle Wallis, a 21 year ''young'' British actor who makes her Bollywood debut opposite Karan Sharma as a leading lady in Romesh Sharma directed ''Dil Jo Bhi Kahey'' that releases this Friday. A charming girl with a pleasing personality, her smile and cute attitude is what make this conversation a delightful affair.

    Tell us something about yourself in real life.

    Hmmm..I was born in Oxford and spent a good amount of my time in Portugal too. Then I moved back to London and that is where I stay now. My father is an actor himself while my uncle Richard Harris was a big actor in Hollywood too. In my mind I always wanted to act, though I was very private about this decision of mine. It was in the year 2002 when I started working full time as an actor. I got myself a private coach from a drama school who taught me a lot about acting. Then I started doing some independent films.

    From Britain to Bollywood. Wasn't it difficult adjusting to the ways of the Hindi film industry?

    No, not at all. In fact a lot of people ask me this question and my answer is that you need to have a open mind and an adjusting nature for embracing anything new. You need to be open to a new culture and a lot of traveling. And it wasn't that I wasn't aware of Bollywood. I pretty much knew the kind of films made in Bollywood. See, I am a very adaptable person and not at all difficult to work with. Can't you make that out [smiles]? You want me to run in mud and I will do! I just believe in getting as much experience as you can and 'Dil Jo Bhi Kahey' is one of those adventures!

    So how did the adventure go?

    Oh it went pretty well! I was lucky to be a part of a unit that acted like a family. We had some real good fun on the sets. Also to make me feel comfortable, everyone spoke in English. Though now I feel bad about it as I lost an opportunity to learn some Hindi. [Chuckles] I believe I should have had a clause added to the film's contract before signing stating that people on the sets should speak to me only in Hindi. Now it was easy being in a city but how would I have communicated if I was in shooting in a village?

    How much Hindi did you learn eventually?

    There are three things that you need to know in order to survive. Food, water and love! I learnt how to speak them all [says animatedly] - 'khaana', 'paani' and 'main aapse pyaar karti hoon'. This did the trick on the sets. As such I also know how to say 'shukriya' and 'namaste'!

    Were you aware about the icon called Mr. Bachchan?

    Yes, I was aware. I knew he is something BIG, but what is BIG struck me when I arrived in India. He was just all over. Name it and you have Mr. Bachchan plastered all over. And this is where reality struck! On hindsight I feel it worked for my benefit that I didn't know entirely about his true status otherwise it may have been difficult for me to act in a movie with such a great star!

    Do you remember your first shot in the movie?

    Yes, off course. We were in Sweden and shooting for this song 'Kaun Jaane'. Its a song that has a happy as well as a sad theme. So when the sun was out, we were required to be all happy and shoot accordingly while we were required to turn sad the very next moment when weather turned gloomy. It was tough to get into a groove as per the situation but then it was fun.

    Romesh Sharma, the director must have been a good help then. How did you find him as a director and as a person?

    Oh he is quite good, kind, understanding and moreover made me feel very comfortable. If you have a question about the script and want to talk to him, he would be easily approachable and would spend time with you. This enables you to get on with your work without any burden.

    And how about Karan? Was he a brat and a prankster?

    [Shows a thumbs up] He is very funny and I am lucky to have worked with him. Both of us being in the same age group also helped.

    Everyone attached to the film is tightlipped about its ending. You could be of help here. Do you finally get Karan in the end?

    [Laughs uproariously] No way that I am telling you this. My lips are zipped here. You have to watch the movie to know about this, otherwise where is the fun part?

    We will surely do that Annabelle. So what next is in the pipeline?

    I am here till the end of the month to see the response DJBK gets. Then I would be offshore to US and UK for some other projects.


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