She might have not registered her presence as a child actor in Halla Bol (2008), Nanhe Jaisalmer (2007) or Zinda (2006). But for Russhita Singh, the forthcoming Julia Roberts’ film Eat Pray Love is the big ticket to showbiz. The actor plays Tulsi whom Roberts’ character befriends at an ashram and learns about India’s culture.
Recalling her experience of working with the Pretty Woman star, Rushita says that Roberts is not just a great actor, but also a perfect mother. “She was accompanied by her three children and she maintained a fine balance between her professional and personal role,” she says.The most important lesson Singh learnt was to be a thorough professional when at work. "Despite being such a huge movie star, Julia was polite and courteous," Rushita says, adding, "She taught me that it doesn’t matter if you’re unwell or the weather at the location is hot or cold. Once you’ve decided to do a film, you give it your 100 per cent."
At the same time, the Best Actress Oscar winner for Erin Brockovich also had a couple of surprises in store. “Julia knew a bit about the Bhagwad Gita and Lord Ganesha. But apart from that, she was interested in our traditions. During the shoot, she went to an ashram for the first time, where she meditated regularly. That’s why she was so calm despite the hectic shooting and frenzy.”
Reacting to reports that Roberts’s conversion to Hinduism is a publicity stunt for Eat Pray Love, Russhita asserts that she wouldn’t indulge in such gimmicks. “Julia loves our culture. So if she has converted, it’s fine,” is all she’s willing to say.
However, she’s quick to add that Roberts followed the rituals correctly while filming at the ashram and temples for their movie. “On the days when we had to shoot inside the ashram or the temple, Julia wouldn’t eat non-vegetarian food,” reveals Russhita, adding that otherwise, the Hollywood star savoured Indian food. “She relished tandoori chicken and paneer dishes.”
Russhita, who missed the film’s premiere in New York is now looking forward to meeting her co-star at the Rome premiere next month. Until then, she’s busy acquiring a degree in mass communications from Mumbai University, while awaiting other film offers.