You’re going to be back on screen with
Sukhmani—Hope For Life. The Punjabi film incidentally releases on the same day as Shah Rukh Khan’s
My Name Is Khan, February 12.
Hey, no comparisons! The two films don’t even cater to the same audience. Mine is a regional film that targets Punjabis.
My Name Is Khan
is a crossover film that will be released even in mainstream theatres abroad.
You’ve done films with Gurdas Maan before.
Yeah two films, Shaheed Uddham Singh in 2000 and Waris Shah: Ishq Daa Waris four years ago.
Was that why Sukhmani got the nod even though you don’t play the central character in the film?
Yeah, it’s not the central role. I’m playing the wife of an honest, duty-bound army officer, Major Kuldeep Singh played by Mann saab. The film charts his journey through the different phases in his life, from darkness to light.
Gurdas Maan’s wife, Manjeet, has turned director with this film. Was it easier having a woman behind the camera?
She was always around, even during the two previous films, as a producer. This time she was calling the shots. She was particularly good during the emotional scenes because she knew what emotions she wanted. She had the backing of a solid technical unit that had worked together through five films and that certainly helped.
You’ve given playback for the film. What was more scary: acting or singing?
After all these years, I think I can handle acting. But I was a newcomer to singing and my knees were shaking and my voice was quivering when I put the headphones on. (Laughs) I felt like a nervous 11 year old.
Ever since I started learning singing, I’ve wanted to sing on screen sometime. When Maan sahab suggested I give playback formyself in the film, I thought, “Why not?” Jaidevji (music director Jaidev Kumar) was really sweet and supportive. But I’m nowhere close to the professional so don’t go making comparisons.
Any more films?
There’s I Am Megha from Onir’s I Am series with Manisha Koirala. It’s one of the four short films based on true-life stories and linked by the common thread of fear.
I play a Kashmiri pandit who returns to the valley years after losing her home, only to realize that her Muslim friend, Rubaina, has suffered too.
This film will complete a hattrick with Onir too, having done My Brother Nikhil and Bas Ek Pal with him earlier. He’s good with issues he believes in and his films have always moved beyond campus love stories.
There’s Accident too with Shiney Ahuja?
I honestly don’t know what’s happening with that one.
Shah Rukh Khan, the co-franchise owner of Knight Riders, has gone public with his views that Pakistan players should have been picked at the recent IPL auction. Comment.
I know only the basics of cricket and am in no way involved with the administrative side of Knight Riders. We had Umar Gul and Shoab Akhtar during Season One and every time they took the field, a cheer went up from the gathered spectators.
They were a part of us and we were a part of them. It’s all the game, the team spirit. I hope the phase will blow over soon.
In Season 3 your team will be wearing new colours, has a new coach and has reverted back to Saurav Ganguly as captain. Think your players will be able to liftup to the promise this time?
(Laughs) They had better, it’s been three years.
Will we see you in the dug-out?
The dug-out is out of bounds even to franchise owners. But whenever there’s a match in Kolkata, I will be in the stands, cheering. I can’t say about other centers but I’ll definitely jet down to the City of Joy.