Kamal Sidhu on her comeback to film and TV.. in conversation with
You’re back from your self-imposed exile with Little Zizou.
I wouldn’t call it an exile exactly. I did not want to work in Hindi films because that is not my language. The reason I’ve come back is to work in English language movies.
And it was the only one I did. I’d heard a lot about Ketan Mehta. That’s why I accepted the offer. After shooting for it, I went away to the US. And God knows if it was because of financial constraints, Mr Mehta used an untrained crew member to dub for me. The girl’s voice didn’t match my personality or body language. All those who saw the movie thought so too. After that I decided to keep a safe distance from Bollywood.
What drew you to a film like Little Zizou?
Sooni Taraporevala. I saw Salaam Bombay as a kid in the US. Here, she was helming a project from conceptualisation to completion. And I had to be part of it.
Despite being a non-Parsi in a set-up full of Parsis?
They never treated me like an outsider. We laughed at the same jokes, hung around together and ate the same food. Sometimes Boman (Irani) would bring stuff from home to fatten us up. (Laughs) Cyrus (Broacha) is mad.. he cracked crazy jokes!
Isn’t your husband, Nico Mashruwala, half Parsi?
He is but that wasn’t why I did Little Zizou. I was already a part of the movie when we got married. I’m playing a girl visiting India for the first time to connect with her roots. I could identify with her.
Are you happy now that you’re no longer single?
Absolutely, it’s a delight to be married to someone like Nico. He’s such a great companion. He has accepted me just the way I am. He’s not taken away anything from my life.. he’s only enhanced it.
He’s into the food business. Does he cook for you?
I don’t trouble him. Actually, my mother has spoilt me for taste. She is an excellent cook. When I travel, I enjoy food from different lands.
Was it because of this that you took on shows with National Geographic and Discovery channels?
Not exactly. I had been a VJ for seven years.. I started four years before Cyrus Broacha did. Internationally, you don’t find veejays who’ve lasted seven years.. they don’t even last two. I quit veejaying because I was bored doing the same thing. The landscape had changed. The language was Hindi which I’m not so conversant in. So, I took on projects with Nat Geo. I developed an interest in environment and wild life conservation. In fact, I went into TV production for five years at a stretch. I own a company which has produced content on extreme sports, adventure and environment. We had a long-running show called Planet X on AXN. Now I find Akshay Kumar with actresses and models doing a similar show. I’m glad I introduced the format to Indian viewers.
I also hosted a show in which I went to remote pockets of the world, exploring different conservation activities. I did a series with Discovery too in which engineering students were put on to biomimicry. The activity was an experiment of sorts to see if human engineering could do what nature has done for centuries.
That’s serious business. Have you lost interest in music and lighter stuff?
Nope, I still love to hear all kinds of stuff. But I have developed a keen interest in nature and conservation.
What are you producing now?
I’m putting together a TV show that incorporates most of my interests. I’m in talks with two channels. I can’t divulge more details.