In 2008, Slumdog Millionaire put Mumbai girl Freida Pinto on the Hollywood map. Now, model-turned-actor Tena Desae has hit the big league with John Madden’s latest outing, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.The film stars biggies like Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Dev Patel.
“Professionally and personally, it has been my best experience. I enjoyed working with John, who was very sensitive towards me. To watch legends (like Dench and Smith) act and having the opportunity to interact with them was surreal,” chuckles Tena.
Before meeting Dench and Smith, Tena thought she would be a ‘yuppy’ fan when she saw them. “But they were just so real that I wasn’t intimidated. All credit goes to them for being so approachable in spite of being such big stars,” she says with a smile.
For Tena, the journey started with a test call by a casting director whom she had known through her ads. “I went in not knowing much about the film. But once I was informed about the cast and director, I was keen to be a part of the venture. I welcomed any number of auditions so long as I got the part,” laughs the actor.
Even though Tena might have bagged the ‘big’ film, Bling!’s CMD Atul Kasbekar isn’t surprised. “She is an extremely talented girl. I remember, on the first day of one of the photo shoots, I realised that she would make it big soon.
She has a spark not many can boast of,” says Kasbekar, whose company handles her career.And lastly, ask Tena about Dev and she chuckles, “He is super funny and extremely energetic! But when it comes to performing, he has a great variety. I enjoyed watching him act.”