Amrita Rao trod the path to Bollywood as most model-turned actresses do, but unlike most of them she made her presence felt, earning a Filmfare nomination in the Best Female Debut category for her second movie, Ishq Vishq.
After her chirpy and innocent look in Main Hoon Na and quintessential virgin beauty in Vivah, Amrita is ready to shed her touch-me-not image in Shyam Benegal’s period satire, Welcome to Sujjanpur.
She will be seen doing some intense scenes with co-star Shreyas Talpade. “I play a typical village girl, while he plays the letter writer of the village,” says Amrita. Interestingly, Amrita has mostly done romantic films so far but she has never kissed on screen. “I don’t believe in the popular dialogue, ‘I will kiss if the script demands it’ or something like that. For me, my level of comfort is the prime factor. I’d never compromise on my comfort, no matter how much a script needs it. At the same time, I am not averse to kissing or doing a rather bold scene. As long as I am fine with it, I can do anything,” clarifies Amrita.
Talking about director Shyam Benegal, she says, “He is one of the finest filmmakers India has ever produced. Welcome…was a challenging role for me. Be it the look or the dialect, every bit of it was new and exciting.”
On a serious note
Amrita did her homework well before taking on the project. She says, “First and foremost I wanted to understand Shyam Benegal’s style. I got the DVDs of all his films, and watched them in a row. Once I found myself ready, I started shooting.” She says she gave it her best shot, because this is the film that puts her in the same bracket as actresses like Shabana Azmi, the late Smita Patil and Rekha.
The actress adds, “He [Benegal] is a very quick person. He doesn’t waste his own time, nor that of his cast. He knows what he wants out of his actors, and he also knows how to extract it.” Apart from Welcome... Amrita will next be seen in Shortcut, playing an ultra-glamorous girl. “It would be completely different from whatever I have left behind in the past,” she says thoughtfully.
She attributes her success to the choices she made while selecting her films and also her love for her work. “When it comes to viewer’s choice, each film counts. Moreover, it’s important to enjoy the work that I do. Thus, it is important that I am excited about the films I sign,” Amrita says.