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Glamorous roles can wait; Disha Patani wants ‘to come across as an actor first’

The Bollywood actor, who became a leading lady with Baaghi 2, has taken what appears to be a supporting role in Salman Khan’s Bharat. She says that her choices, including the upcoming film Sanghamitra, are driven by great stories, not her own screen time.

bollywood Updated: May 30, 2018 15:41 IST
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Hindustan Times
Disha Patani,Baaghi 2,Tiger Shroff
Disha Patani has taken a role in Bharat, by filmmaker Ali Abbas Zafar.(Photo: Instagram/dishapatani)

Actor Disha Patani, who acquired true leading lady status with this year’s Baaghi 2, co-starring Tiger Shroff, chose an unusual vehicle for her Bollywood debut — a small but significant role in MS Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016), with Sushant Singh Rajput in the title role. “If I was ever worried about my [role] length in a film, I’d never have signed Dhoni,” she says, looking back at the performance — as Dhoni’s first serious girlfriend — that got her noticed and earned her plenty of praise.

Disha adds, “I had many offers at that time — roles where I could have looked good, commercial [roles], danced, done things that I like. But I chose this look, without makeup, with just kajal and a choti [braid]. Because I feel that connection with people will come when you do a real-life story, rather than any other thing.”

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A post shared by disha patani (paatni) (@dishapatani) on

Her choices have, indeed, been away from the obvious. The debut was followed by an Indo-Chinese film, Kung Fu Yoga, starring Jackie Chan. And now, after playing the lead in Baaghi 2, Disha has come on board for Ali Abbas Zafar’s Bharat, which has Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra in the lead.

Asked about the yardstick for her choices, the 25-year-old says that she has a long way to go in the industry and a corresponding scope for experimenting with her on-screen persona and looks. “I can always do a glamorous role or a film in the future, but I want to come across as an actor first, and then anything else. For instance, I was sure that I didn’t want [to be a part of] a masala film at this stage. I’d like to eventually do that, but not right now. Maybe after a couple more films, I’d think in that direction and then, viewers could see me in a different light,” she says.

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The fact that both her big films — Dhoni and Baaghi 2 — belonged essentially to the hero, we ask Disha if she hopes to be able to carry a film at some point. She says, “I never plan for the future very much. By thinking that I want to do a female-oriented film or that I want to be the main lead, we are, in a way, putting girls in that minority group that we don’t have enough roles written for us. Do we ever call a film male-oriented? So, why put female actors in a box? We should just keep it simple — a story of a girl or a boy, that’s all a film should be.”

At present, Disha is excited about her Tamil film, Sanghamitra, co-starring Jayam Ravi. “It’s going to be an epic, just like a Baahubali. It’s about this girl and I am playing the protagonist. Now, I didn’t choose the film because it is [just] about [my character], but because it’s a very good story and has very strong characters [overall],” she concludes.

Interact with Monika Rawal Kukreja at Twitter/@monikarawal

First Published: May 30, 2018 15:39 IST