Everyone loves Jai and Aditi. Meaning Imran Khan and Genelia D’Souza. And sigh for bechari Meghna who loses the guy at the end. No happy ending for her. In real life, Manjari Phadnis is smiling wide though. She says that as many as 400 girls were auditioned for her role.
Director Abbas Tyrewala was convinced that she would make for the ideal Meghna but Aamir Khan wasn’t. Eventually, Aamir went along with the director’s choice and gave her the nod of approval after the film’s first preview. “Meghna was a rather silly girl. I gave her a certain sensibility which is perhaps why the audience’s heart goes out to her,” Phadnis reasons.
Wasn’t she apprehensive about playing second fiddle? “I was... and told the casting director as much. But the scene Abbas gave me for the audition was so beautiful I knew I couldn’t let the role go. Today the phrase ‘What’s this?’ has become so infectious that I remember in Shirdi, youngsters walked up to me, saying, ‘What’s this?’” Phadnis went to Shirdi to thank Sai Baba for the response by the audience as well as the critics to her performance. And also because her aunt is releasing her album on Sai Sarchatria.
Will Phadnis be seen in the Aamir Khan-produced Delhi Belly next? “I was called for an audition. They don’t know if my personality suits the character. But I’m sure I can pull it off.” The shy debutante of Rok Sako To Rok Lo (that forgotten film with Sunny Deol) is more self-assured now. And slimmer too.
“In the months when things weren’t going well for me, I watched movies, read books, took dance classes at Shiamak Davar’s institute and knocked off the extra kilos,” she smiles.
So she’s not like Meghna who on confronting reality retreats into her own sheltered world? “No, I’m not delusional,” she states. “I’d rather hunt for the positives in the negatives. But like Meghna, I’m a die-hard romantic even though my heart’s been broken once.” ‘So she’s looking for a Jai... or is it Imran Khan? “Imran’s so sincere and hardworking, I see Aamir Khan in him already.” I’d like a guy who’s 90 per cent Jai.. and 10 per cent more. I can be very demanding.”