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    Neetu Chandra - "Madhur is responsible for my re-launch!"

    [Interview by Joginder Tuteja]
    Saturday, June 17, 2006
    Remember last year''s comic hit "Garam Masala" where Priyadarshan created a riot with Akshay Kumar and John Abraham in the lead? While the male starcast was acclaimed with the film''s success being attributed to them, one can''t deny the fact that the three leading ladies [Neetu Chandra, Daisy, Nargis] too impressed in their debut outing. Now Neetu Chandra has been on a fast track as she has bagged a prestigious project like Madhur Bhandarkar''s "Signal" and has also recently delivered a hit down south in the form of "Godavari". Over to Neetu in Part I of this interview where she talks about "Signal", her director Madhur Bhandarkar and her shift from comedy to some serious business!

    What's your role in 'Signal'? Did it require any special preparation from you?

    I play the role of a Kathiawadi girl who sells these embroidery/mirror work stuff on the roadside and lives and sleeps there itself. For a role like this, I in fact spent 4-5 hours daily for around 10 days with the Kathiawadi women who sell their stuff in front of Santa Cruz. I made friends with them, tried to understand their psyche, got to hear their experiences and actually did small things like having tea with them to understand their day-to-day moments on the road. I dressed up like them and tried to get the same look as them and understood the way they go around selling their artifacts. In the end, it felt so good to learn about their lifestyle and then play a character that you have met in all these days!

    Is it a 'character' based role or a typical 'heroine' role?

    We all know that Madhur Bhandarkar always makes real films with no hero/heroine stuff at all. Yes, Kunal Khemu [film's lead] and me do play central roles in the film with number of actors around us but then they all are important with an integral part to play. In the end it is the story that says a lot of things with everyone contributing to it. But yes, if you ask me about the leads in the film, they are Kunal and myself.

    Do you want to talk a little about the film's storyline?

    Well, to summarize, 'Signal' is about the life of people who stay near a signal, sleep on the roads and how they have their own set of emotions while dealing with life. How these people laugh together, have fun together, struggle together due to all the money problems they face and then get attached to non-materialistic things like a mere signal forms the crux of the story. Madhur has come up with a great subject and is ensuring that his treatment is in accordance to his vision.

    You seem to think highly about Madhur?

    Yes, very much. He is so clear about what he wants and it won't be wrong to say that for me he is like an angel! He is responsible for what I could call as my re-launch. There have been a lot of other good actors that I have been working with in 'Signal'. Yes, it was a pleasure to work with Mr. Priyadarshan and I have fond memories about the film since I debuted in a big setup inspite of no film background. On the other hand Madhur's setup is clearer and I am sure he had no apprehensions on casting me.

    How about yourself? Weren't you apprehensive to be in a different territory altogether?

    Well, I have left everything to Madhur. 'Signal' is a sensitive film and no mater whether it is a comedy or a subject like this; I concentrate on the role, prepare well and work hard. I want to give 100% to what I am doing and love to act anything that comes my way as long as it is performance oriented, be it hardcore commercial or art format.

    But what if a regular Bollywood film comes with 5 songs and a couple of good scenes?

    Why not? I am a trained Kathak dancer and as I said I want to act without getting into the hassles of categorizing a film into art or commercial.

    Any roles in recent times that you tried getting your hands on but missed out?

    It wasn't about trying and not getting but there were a couple of films that came my way but I couldn't do them since I had begun work on 'Signal'. Overall I am a firm believer in destiny. If something has to come my way then it will and if it is not in my destiny then it won't. I don't regret missing out anything.

    In 'Signal', one hears that Konkana Sen Sharma is a part of the film's starcast now. Are there any scenes that you share with her?

    No, we don't have any scenes together as she mainly plays a cameo in the film. She plays the role of a prostitute in the film who also operates near the signal.

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