When Soha Ali Khan got into movies at 25, her mother, Sharmila Tagore, and brother, Saif Ali Khan, both Bollywood celebrities, disagreed with the choice but the student of history had lost interest in the banking job, and a special film, later, was to take her to her first love.
She is shooting in Ghungrana village near Ludhiana for National Award winning director Shivaji Lotan Patil's next, "October 31st" (tentative title), which has the backdrop of this day in 1984 when a Sikh massacre started in the capital after the assassination of prime minister Indira Gandhi.
The film's plot, weaved around a Sikh couple played by Soha and Vir Das, is about escape from the pogrom.
"I was a student of history; and above all, the story touched my heart; I could not have said no to the project.
During the narration, my eyes welled up and, on an instant note, I signed the film," said Soha Ali Khan.
"This is not a glamorous role," she says, "but a test of portraying sacrifice, emotions, maturity, and struggle.
In a nutshell, I'll call it challenging. The audience will appreciate the hard work the actors, director, and producer have put into the scenes."
Her experience of shooting in the village was memorable. "The villagers are excited to see the shooting.
Even the women stay awake the entire night to see us perform in front of the camera. After every shot, they applaud us, and it seems we are before live audience in a theatre.
Extremely, hospitable, they opened their homes to us, so that we could have rest between our shoots," she says, remembering also the hot milk and homemade special lassi that the villagers served at the sets. "Punjabis have blessed hearts," said Soha.
Happy to share with the readers what keeps her fit, she says it is in individual's hands but she has found yoga to be more powerful than working out in a gymnasium.
"I took up yoga only two years ago, and I can feel the change in myself. It develops you not only externally but also internally," says the Bollywood beauty.
(The film, as the title suggests, will be released on October 31, the day anti-Sikh riots started in 1984. It is produced by Delhi-based Harry Sachdeva and Magical Dreams Productions)