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What godfather? asks 'Swades' actress Joshi

Thursday, January 6, 2005 • Hindi Comments

Actress Gayatri Joshi looks like a woman who has been finally granted her secret wish.

Small wonder she is soaking in the success of what she calls her "dream debut" in "Swades" in which she plays the role of a teacher in a village school who grabs the interest of a soul-searching NRI played by Shah Rukh Khan.

"I enjoyed every minute of it. Working with Ashutosh Gowariker and Shah Rukh was simply awesome," the debutante actress told IANS in an interview.

Gayatri is ecstatic recounting the story of how she was noticed by Gowariker at a party. "When I got a call from him, I thought he wanted me to do a commercial.

"But he asked me to audition for the role in 'Swades'. It's only after auditioning three times that I landed the role.

"Besides my acting abilities, Gowariker was trying to gauge my chemistry with Shah Rukh. He liked what he saw. In the end, it turned out to be a happy coincidence.

"If it's Ashutosh, you can't refuse," said the actress whom Gowariker flaunted as his "fresh discovery" and kept away from media glare.

Gayatri was a model pitching a wide variety of products (she featured in a Hyundai advertisement opposite Shah Rukh) before her foray into films.

All those myths and sleazy superstitions about Bollywood - the casting couch, for instance - surprises her. On the contrary, Bollywood has been a catalyst for her hidden creativity.

"I relish working in Bollywood. So far it's been good for me. I am looking forward to a lot of creatively satisfying experiences," the lissom beauty said.

As for doom-and-gloom spin-doctors prophesying the Gracy Singh fate for her, she lightly laughs it off.

In showbiz, the Gracy Singh syndrome has come to mean the stereotyping of actress Gracy Singh, who starred as a village belle in Amir Khan's "Lagaan".

"Typecasting is not something I am worried about. I want to do more diverse and exciting roles and the offers I am getting are a fairly mixed bag," the model-turned-actress said.

Predictability and neat black-and-white distinctions are not exactly to Gayatri's taste.

Gayatri, a B.Com from Mumbai's Sydenham College, is a woman of shades. This perhaps explains why she finds distinctions between art cinema and box-office cinema "artificial and contrived".

As for her future plans, she plays a bit of tease, not saying anything beyond dropping vague hints about doing "meaningful films".

But one thing is sure - Gayatri loves the offbeat and the different. She is effervescent about doing films like "Swades" that combine entertainment with gravitas.

"I wish to do more films with a powerful social message. Sensibility behind the film is very important to me," she said.

And, yes, Gayatri has a message for debutantes fantasising about some airy-fairy godfather who can launch them into the blazing glory of stardom.

"I didn't need any godfather. Besides a godfather can take you up to a point. The rest depends on your talent."