‘Mahesh Bhatt said I am a brave girl’ says Tollywood’s most controversial and successful actor, Paoli Dam while speaking exclusively with our correspondent Moumita Sarkar, just days before of release of her upcoming film Elar Char Adhyay.
BengaliMovies: Joining the film industry was your childhood dream or it just happened?
Paoli: No, it was not my first choice. I had dreamt to do research in Chemistry. I even dreamt of being a pilot. Like other Bengali children, I also used to learn singing, dancing, etc. But my mother recognized my talent in acting and after a lot of persuation from her I tried my luck in acting. Initially it was just for pocket money but gradually it turned into my passion. I first appeared in Etv’s mega serial Jeeban niye khela, while shooting for that I received a call from Goutam Ghose. Since then, there is no pause.
BengaliMovies: From small screen to side roles in big screen; from side roles to lead roles in Tollywood films and now lead role in Bollywood. How was the journey?
Paoli: The journey happened in a very short span of time that is why it is not that much visible. And as no one from my family belongs from the industry, I didn’t get the launch pad and that is why I had to struggle. But I was least bothered about it as I earlier told it was not my first preference. I started my film career in 2006. That time I used to work in film only for pocket money. Since 2009 I focused only on films. Almost every day I used to watch so many films and they motivated me. Now When I saw the screen of Hate Story scrolling and stating, ‘introducing Paoli Dam’ that was lifetime moment, which I never got in Tollywood.
BengaliMovies: After you did Mushroom a huge howl and cry was there regarding your shading of clothes. During that time you said you can do anything if the screen demands. Is it true?
Paoli: No. Never. I have never said those words. My sixth sense works very well and I have seen Vimukti’s lots of film and I could anticipate how the film will be, so I did. And the fact is, I really loved working with him.
BengaliMovies: Mushroom fetched you international fame. You recently went to Cannes for that. How was your experience at Cannes?
Paoli: It was an overwhelming experience. I was literally thrilled after we got standing ovation. And I don't know what to say about the experience of walking on the red carpet as well as posing in front of the journalists for photo shoot, it was unbelievable.
In fact, during my stay at Cannes, Vikram Bhatt called me up but unfortunately I failed to recognize him.
BengaliMovies: while we are talking about your association with foreign directors. We would like to know are doing Choli k Peeche?
Paoli: No, absolutely not. Lots of people ask me about it but it is wrong information.
BengaliMovies: Why have you signed for Vikhram Bhatt’s Hate Story?
Paoli: The film is a totally woman oriented film. Moreover I liked the script. And the Director Vivek Agnihotri is a fantastic director. He proved his talent to make such a films like Chocolate , goals. I loved working with him.
BengaliMovies: You met so many personalities from Bollywood .So After Hate Story released,how is their reaction?
Paoli: Yes, Mr. Mahesh Bhatt then Satish Koushik and a lot of them encouraged me.
BengaliMovies: You preferred to be in 'size 0' shape for Hate Story. What was the reaction from your Tollywood friends?
Paoli: The reaction was a big question mark. Actually they are not used to see me like that way. But in Mumbai it is a very casual thing.
BengaliMovies: Have u watched dirty picture?
BengaliMovies: If you were given the role of Vidya Balan in The Dirty Picture, would you do that?
Paoli: Well listen, I did same kinda role in Atanu Ghosh’s Takhan Teish which was released long back The Dirty Picture came. But the film was regional film that is why it lacked some publicity. I want to work in film like Rekhas’s Umraojaan and many more.
BengaliMovies: Earlier there was a classification among actors, for e.g. Helen used to play hot roles n item dance. But now, porn star Sunny Leone is acting in Mahesh Bhatt’s next. On the other hand Kareena Kapoor, Katrina Kaif and others are doing item numbers. Is this for public demand or just a trend change?
Paoli: Cinema’s language is changing. Directors are always experimenting something new and good news is people are accepting that. I don’t know why but the result is film industry is flourishing.
BengaliMovies: Are you interested in doing item numbers?
Paoli: Right now I don’t have any offer like that and I also don’t know if I will do that. But when everyone is trying I may give it a chance.
BengaliMovies: With the help of Hate story you have created a bold image for yourself. Can you later on change this image?
Paoli: An actor lives several live within a single life. So it is not that much tough to change an image.
BengaliMovies: How is your relationship with the journalists of Mumbai?
Paoli: A healthy one. I am very new to them but Then can recognize me in the crowd and spots a lime light on me screeming 'Hate Story', 'Paoli'. You know thats about Bollywood. Absolutely fantastic.
BengaliMovies: This time I have a personal question for you. There is a buzz in the city that you are dating Vikram Chatterjee. Is it true?
Paoli: No not at all. We are just good friends. Yes we are doing lots of film together but our relationship is limited within the ambit of friendship. Nothing, more than that.
BengaliMovies: We have also heard that your recommendation has helped Vikram to bag some roles, which includes the sort role in Bedroom. What do you say about that?
Paoli: No, it is totally his credit. Everybody adores him that is why he has got so many offers. It was only Mainak’s decision to cast him in Bedroom.
BengaliMovies: So you are saying that you are not his mentor.
Paoli: No, I am not mentor. As a senior I just give him some tips.
BengaliMovies: Are you shifting to Mumbai?
Paoli: Yes I am. Not yet bought the flat but will.
BengaliMovies: Lots of Bengali’s like Bipasha Basu, Rani Mukherjee, Konkona sen Sharma has concreted their position in Bollywood. What about Paoli?
Paoli: I am just a new comer and the people you are talking about are in Bollywood since long back. I am trying my level best and will. Let’s see what happens. (She smiles).
BengaliMovies: Do you believe that you are the most ‘dangerous export’ to Bollywood?
Paoli: (Laughs) I am not a commodity or item; then why shall I be exported?
BengaliMovies: Then I think you would say you are a brave girl.
Paoli: (Laughs) Yeah. Even Mahesh Bhatt said that I am a brave girl.
BengaliMovies: There are lots of production house in Bollywood like Yash Raj, Dharma productions. With whom you would like to work?
Paoli: I would love to work with all of them. Because nowadays Bollywood is making different types of quality film and I would love to in each of them, even with the production house associated with Houseful 2.
BengaliMovies: What are your upcoming films?
Paoli: Elar Chaar Adhyay, which will release on 11th of this month. Apart from that, Hoi Choi, Shono Ekti Premer Galpo Boli and lots of other.
BengaliMovies: Are you doing any Bollywood Project?
Paoli: Yes, I am. I will do Vivek Agnihotri’s next. Currently I am very busy in the promotions of Elar Char Adhay. I don't get enough time to think about another Bollywood Projects.
BengaliMovies: Tell us something about Elar Char Adhay.
Paoli: Elar Char Adhyay is a political drama set in the context of British rule in India. The U.S.P. of the film is love and political strife within the party.
One thing I must say, we wanted the name, ‘Char Adhyay’, which is also the name of the original text, for the film’s title but due to copyright issue we had to take ‘Elar Char Adhay’.
BengaliMovies: Tell us something about your character in Elar char adhyay.
Paoli: ‘Ela’ is the most bold character I have played. Bold in the sense, in 1930 when the women were deprived of basic education, Ela came out of the veil went against the family, the village and joined the freedom movement. The only persons to support her, was her father and uncle. Later she shifts to her uncle’s house, from there only she joined Indranath’s (Indraneil) freedom movement group. There she finds internal politics within the party. Indranath a believer of militancy used to do politics just to maintain his supremacy within the party; for e.g. a female member of the party Uma used to love Sukumar, also a member of that party but Indranath marries off her to another man. Suddenly a new guy named Atin (Vikram) who took oath to fight against the British for independence but also was against the party’s political conflict which makes him Indranath’s rival. Another character of the film was, Antu (played by Rudranil) also a party member, he is an admirer of Ela but she didn’t bother him. Basically it is a complicated subject.
BengaliMovies: Was the script changed or it as same as the original text?
Paoli: No, Bapaditya da didn’t make any changes. It is as intact as the original novel.
BengaliMovies: while shooting did you ever felt that the scene must be shoot in a different way?
Paoli: Well, that happens in every film. But at the end of the day film is the director’s medium of vision and the actors have to act on the director’s accord.
BengaliMovies: Now, lets have some rapid fire for you! Paoli fighter or struggler.
BengaliMovies: Bipasha the ‘bombshell’ then Paoli is?
Paoli: I don’t want to categorise myself. But if you want to write something, you can write ‘Actress Paoli’.
BengaliMovies: Tollywood or Bollywood?
BengaliMovies: Phuchka or Paw bhaji?
BengaliMovies: Size Zero or size 6?
Paoli: Depends on the character.
BengaliMovies: Thank you Paoli for the time you spend with us. Wish you best wishes for Elar Char Adhyay and your film career!
Paoli: Thank you so much.