For a long time, she was referred to as Dinky, the name of Gracy Singh's character on Zee TV's show, Amanat. The charming actor was later seen as Gauri in the Aamir Khan-starrer Lagaan and Chinki in Munnabhai MBBS. After some hits and misses on the big screen (she last played the role of Meera Bai in Dangerous Isshq), Gracy has answered the call of her roots as she comes in the role of Gulaab in her second Punjabi film, Aappan Pher Milange.
Directed by Ravinder Ravi, the film also stars Vishal Karwal and releases on May 25. In Chandigarh, Gracy talks to HT City about humble beginnings in the Hindi film industry and following those up with meaningful roles.
Amanat, she reveals, was an unprepared attempt. "When I went for the screen test of Amanat, I knew nothing of acting, neither did I have any formal training. I went through the test and discovered that they found me perfect for the role," shares the Delhi girl who traces her lineage to Punjab.
Next came Lagaan, Aamir Khan's epic on cricket in pre-Independence India. This is where Gracy's training in Indian classical dance came in handy. "I went through a screen test where I was given a dialogue and a song to perform. The dialogue was from a film of yesteryears' star Vyjayanthimala, and the song was Hoton Pe Aisi Baat, from the film Jewel Thief.
It was a spontaneous act, but I was pretty comfortable doing it since I'm a trained classical dancer. When Ashutosh (Gowariker) called to inform that I had been selected, I didn't believe it. Aamir is an actor whose films I have grown up watching. So, it was a dream to work with him. He is a wonderful actor, humble, down to earth and a perfectionist," she smiles.
For Lagaan, they shot in Bhuj. Gracy recalls fondly, her experiences in the otherwise hot region. She says, "We went to Bhuj four months before the shoot began. The film had a cast comprising of theatre actors, so it was a learning experience."
As much as Gracy looked forward to Lagaan's shooting, the role of a doctor in Munnabhai MBBS terrified the actor, who confesses to being scared of operation theatres. "I made sure there were no scenes involving operations that I was to be a part of. But working with Vidhu Vinod Chopra (the director) and Sanjay Dutt was great," she says.
About this Friday's release, Gracy reveals, "My role of Gulaab in Aappan Pher Milange highlights the turmoil of women whose husbands move abroad and don't return, while the wives keep waiting in India along with their children. It is a character that most Punjabi girls will relate with. The topic touched me deeply as it was an inspiring role." The film has been shot in Punjab, Chandigarh, Ambala, Mumbai and Canada.
Gracy sums up her numbered, yet thoughtfully selected roles, "Every character that I have ever portrayed has always stayed with me. I have lived these roles and carried the best part of these characters in my real life. So, I'm proud of the films that I have done and will be happy sharing about these with my grandchildren 50 years down the line."
She is also not about to go into hiatus again, as Gracy's upcoming projects include a film called Barbareek with Hema Malini, which releases in August, and a children's film called Blue Mountain.