Koena Mitra is busy with a commercial Hindi film she refuses to elaborate on apart from saying that it’s a comedy and she’s playing a chirpy miss from UK. She’s equally cagey about the two other Hindi films she’s taken on. But she’s forthcoming on her Hollywood movie, Story Of Naomi, to wrap up when she returns to Los Angeles around July.
The film produced by Michael Hirshenson, vice president of The Casting Company
whose credits include When Harry Met Sally, Jurassic Park,
and Princess Bride,
marks the directorial debut of fashion photographer Ash Gupta. It revolves around a married couple played by Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
) and Koena who are caught in a convoluted love triangle.
Buzz is that she’s involved in an intense lesbian drama that includes some really graphic bedroom scenes with a female actor. “I don’t play a lesbian in this film even though for a really deadly script, I wouldn’t mind romancing another woman just like I wouldn’t mind grooving to a really great item number,” retorts Koena. “If you look at the poster closely, you will see that there are two others actors, a guy and a girl, along with Sorbo and me. Either of them could be the third angle in the love triangle.”
Many Indian actors before her have gone to town on their Hollywood innings that often turned out to be blink-and-miss appearances. Is hers a more substantial debut? “Even a blink-and-miss appearance deserves credit in the west because references don’t work there,” she reasons.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’ve invested 10 months on this film, starting from scratch. I’ve met people, attended galas, done underwater training to get over my long-time phobia. My first week-long trip kept me back for two months. And since then I’ve been back twice in the last 10 months. In Hollywood, there are no first, second and third leads. Everyone’s a ‘talent’ but this film is titled Story Of Naomi
and I’m Naomi.
Does that answer your question?”
Koena’s one of the few actors who has admitted to getting corrective cosmetic surgery done that went wrong. Has she had to undergo any more procedures for this role? “Nothing went wrong,” she asserts. “I have a bony face so the swelling took time to settle. And I admitted to it, after all the talk had died down and everyone had stopped asking me questions. That surgery was a personal choice, no one forced me into it. And in Hollywood, if anyone were to suggest I change anything about my looks and I agreed, my managers would kill me.”
She points out that even her hair and eyes are black in the posters and her skin dusky. “They love my exotic looks there because I don’t look traditionally Indian which is a problem because you get to play one only every three years. But I look like a Latino, Mexican and Persian and that is my trump card,” she smiles.