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Lara Dutta chat

The 'Miss Universe' crown in 2000 and film debut in Bollywood in 2003 - that's Lara Dutta. Add to this the fact that her first film Andaz is a hit. Post the film, she has been flooded with offers. Watch out for her next release Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost. Read transcript of a chat with Lara on June 26.
By HT Correspondent | PTI
UPDATED ON SEP 03, 2003 04:32 PM IST

Sandy: How did you find working with Akshay Kumar in Andaaz?
Lara_Dutta: He's a thorough gentleman, a professional and a great co-star! It was a fabulous experience. We worked well together.

Sudhir: When Indian beauty pageants go for winning the crown they insist on making the world a better place if they win. But ultimately they land back in Bollywood. How come?
Lara_Dutta: As far as I know, all title winners are involved in charitable world. However their professional lives get more media coverage than the charities they work with.

meera: What kind of a role do you play in Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost?
Lara_Dutta: I play a Rajasthani village girl called Kasey who falls in love with a character played by Abhishek Bachchan.

deepak: Which is your favourite number among the ones you have done?
Lara_Dutta: Two of them - Rabba Ishq Na Hove and Sayiyan  from Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost.

barundali: Which do you find more difficult - acting or contesting in beauty contests?
Lara_Dutta: Both are two totally different. Both require a lot of hard work. But for contests you work for a year or so. In acting, you need to work continuously.

hitesh: How has been your experience in the film industry?
Lara_Dutta: I've had a very positive experience so far. As a newcomer, there were a lot of things that I was skeptical about, but till now the going's been good.

inktomi: Is your next movie Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost you play a totally unglamourous role. Don't you think it may effect your image like it did to Gracy Singh after Lagaan?
Lara_Dutta: The character of Kasey is not your 'typical coy and shy village girl'. She's somebody who's very fiery, very spirited, very rustic and at the same time, very sensual. So it represents the authenticity of Rajasthan. At the same time, there's the glamour of Bollywood.

uppal: Andaaz is being declared a hit. How did you make it a hit?
Lara_Dutta: It's a collaborated effort of Raj Kanwar (Director), Nadeem Shravan (Music), Akshay, Priyanka and myself in acting.

goodgarcon: What are the chances of success of Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost?
Lara_Dutta: I think we've made a good film and worked very hard in it. I hope it does well. But today you can't really predict anything.

barundali: How do you evaluate yourself as an actress?
Lara_Dutta: I have not had any formal training in acting, which means that I hadn't gone to a film academy. So most of my performances are drawn out by intuition. I put myself in the shoes of the character.

imvips: Is there any yesteryears actors you would have loved working with and is there any special character which you would like to enact?
Lara_Dutta: I would have loved to work with Sanjeev Kumar. And I would love to be able to dance like Vyjanthimala.

smile: What are the different projects you are working on?
Lara_Dutta: There's Bardasht, Jurm  (with Bobby Deol), Aan  (with Akshay), Raj Kanwar's next film (untitled so far), and other things in the pipeline.

geetcsl29: How did you feel working with Priyanka Chopra? Is there any rivalry between you both?
Lara_Dutta: There's a healthy competition. We work well together. Also, she's a friend whom I have known for quite a while now.

abheysehgal: How did you get into acting? How you do maintain such a hot figure?
Lara_Dutta: I started acting when I was 13. I did stage in Bangalore. Even before I won the Miss India contest, I had been approached for a film, but at that time I was still in college so I wanted to finish my degree. Later on when the opportunity presented itself again, I went for it. Regarding the hot figure, I dance everyday for three hours in the morning. I eat healthy. I do cardio and weights.

preityzintafan4ever: Why didn't you Dubbed for Andaaz?
Lara_Dutta: Because of the two characters in the film. They wanted to get the demarcation of characters very clear. They wanted the character of Kajal to have a very high-pitched voice.

goodgarcon: Who are your favourite actor (from the current lot)?
Lara_Dutta: Nana Patekar and Shah Rukh Khan

Geet: What difference does Kelly Dorji bring to your life?
Lara_Dutta: Kelly and I have been dating for five years. In many ways, he's my strength and support. He's the only person who knows me for the goof ball that I am.

laughingbuddha: Tell us something about the casting couch in Bollywood. Does it exist?
Lara_Dutta: Yes it does. But it's does only when you allow yourself to get into that situation.

aneels: Why do you think Bollywood has not produced a strong film for the Oscars?
Lara_Dutta: Because in the West, they take two years to write a story and six months to film it. And here we take six months to write a story and two years to film it. But at the same time, we make great films. The only thing is that we cater to a different sensibility. And it's only now that the West is really opening up to the kind of filmmaking that we have here.

merahindustan: So what has been your parents' contribution to your success?
Lara_Dutta: Yes. Very much so.

geetcsl29: Did you get any offers from Hollywood?
Lara_Dutta: Yes, initially when I was based in New York. But it was a well thought out decision to return to India.

imvips: Hearing a lot about Lara-the Bond girl even here in US. Is there anything concrete?
Lara_Dutta: Hahaha! I would love to play a Bond girl, and maybe not this time. But let's hope sometime soon.

dhirein: What do you like to do when you're not working?
Lara_Dutta: I love adventure sports. I normally have a couple of days when I can take off - trekking, rock climbing, or white water rafting.

sastha76: Invariably, Indian Miss World and Universe get into Bollywood. Why?
Lara_Dutta: Because after all the glitz and glamour of winning sometime like that, after you return to India, in order to retain that hype for a long period of time, you can do either of two things - join politics or join Bollywood. Can't answer for anybody else, but I think for me, Bollywood is the safer option.

cute22handsome: What is your relation with the Windies captain Brain Lara?
Lara_Dutta: He might be my lost brother in true Bollywood ishtyle!

winky: Are you happy with your current screen image?
Lara_Dutta: Yes

rollypolly: Are people considering you as a lucky charm after Andaaz?
Lara_Dutta: Don't know about lucky charm but all directors have been positive about my work, and I hope that I continue doing professional work.

laughingbuddha: How does one know when a favour is being asked for, for instance, under the pretext of a 'screen test'?
Lara_Dutta: Go with gut instinct. Go with what you think is right, never put yourself in a situation which you find even a bit uncomfortable. The minute you feel uncomfortable, you would know that you are being taken for a ride.

dhirein: What's your favorite movie of all times, Hindi or otherwise?
Lara_Dutta: English - Gone with the Wind. Hindi - Lots, but let's say 1942 - A Love Story.

saloni_cool: Who has been your role model?
Lara_Dutta: No role models. There are a lot of people that I look upto and admire. Christiane Amancour being one of them.

aneels: Does one enter the industry as a 'body beautiful' or a 'talent'?
Lara_Dutta: It's a mixture of both. Depends on what you want to portray. Some of the most talented actors have not been necessarily most beautiful people, and yet have achieved acclaim.

rahul_sagar: How would you describe your dream guy?
Lara_Dutta: Oh God! Somebody with a lot of self-confidence. Somebody who's very secure about who he is, what he says, has a lot of integrity and honesty, and on Sundays who allows me to sleep as much as I want too and allows my things to just lie around the way they are! And also, someone who laughs at all my jokes!

jkapil: What do you think about Indian culture and values?
Lara_Dutta: I think what sets us apart from cultures in the West or anywhere else in the world, is the fact that India has entered an era of evolution and yet has managed to keep intact traditions and cultures that have been the past of our country. And especially as a modern Indian woman, on an international platform, I think this is one of my greatest strengths.

aartihindu: How would you rate yourself in Andaaz?
Lara_Dutta: I think I would give myself a 7 out of 10. I was very happy with what I did but at the same time I see a lot of potential to improve myself.

aneels: Your rekindling scene with Akshay on stage in Andaaz  was very effective but which was your favourite scene?
Lara_Dutta: My favourite scene is the college scene when I am trying to get him to act.

voice: When and where will we hear your voice in a movie?
Lara_Dutta: When Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost releases.

laughingbuddha: Why don't pageant beauty queens tell at the onset (during the Miss Femina contest, that is) that they want to eventually enter Bollywood?
Lara_Dutta: Because they are never sure if they will get offers or not! (laughs)

laughingbuddha: In the glamour world how does it help being from a Defence background, particularly in India?
Lara_Dutta: There's a lot of discipline while you are growing up. It helps you, shape into a thorough professional, to maintain some amount of dignity and adapt to various environments.

dhirein: Your favorite food?
Lara_Dutta: Rajma Chawal

neeraj_17: Why is there a saying that models can't act?
Lara_Dutta: Because people who are saying this are not models or actors, so they have no clue!

rota: Are you working for any big banner?
Lara_Dutta: Yes and all shall be told in due course (laughs).

rahul_sagar: Why aren't most beauty queens not getting their share of success in Bollywood?
Lara_Dutta: I don't know! I have no idea.

aneels: How do you feel when I tell you that you are getting better reviews in the UK than Priyanka?
Lara_Dutta: I am very happy that I am getting good reviews, regardless of others. I am happy that my work is being appreciated.

nnj37den: How concerned is the beauty queen about women's empowerment?
Lara_Dutta: I still work as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations and continue my work on women's sexual and reproductive rights. I have come face to face with women who fought the odds to survive and carried their stories with me, no matter where I go. Though as a woman celebrity, it's my stardom, which can give these faceless women a voice, then it's an honour to be in the position that I am in.

coolshort5000: Do you think becoming a celebrity ruins your private life?
Lara_Dutta: It's very tough to maintain a fine balance between professional and personal life. Once you achieve fame and success, in your personal life it becomes all that more important to maintain a sense of focus.

jkapil: Who is your favourite Indian woman?
Lara_Dutta: Rajmata Gayatri Devi whom I like for her poise and grace.

laughingbuddha: If somebody tried acting fresh with you, say a producer or director, what would you do?
Lara_Dutta: And it's important to ensure your security, so that you can feel like a real person living in the real world.

kuku: I liked your wardrobe in 'Gaon Mein' song from Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost. Did you like it?
Lara_Dutta: I loved the look in Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost. And all my clothes were done by Kinery who is director Apoorva Lakhya's mother.

coolshort5000: What else would you us to know about you?
Lara_Dutta: Da da da da... I wanted to be a pilot. I am a classically trained Bharatnatyam dancer. And I do pottery.

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