September 3, 2010 : Sheena Nayyar, who is making her debut with the horror film Mallika tells Jyothi Venkatesh that casting couch exist only for those females who want to be part of it.
Sheena doesn't mind being tagged as the new 'Mallika' of the mystery thriller. While most actresses like to begin their career with a romantic film Sheena chose a horror flick. Trained with Barry John and others, this new face of beauty and fear, Sheena Nayyar plays the central character and a sterling double role in the film.

"I am privileged to have got the rare opportunity to make my debut in Bollywood with a dream role. Very rarely does a girl get a meaty double role in Bollywood in her first film itself. Being the main protagonist with not just a title role but also a double role to top with, to my credit right from the first movie itself, I have to my credit my sole presence plastered all over the posters and publicity. Which has been a prerogative of star kids of Bollywood so far", Sheena quipped as she plonked herself in the chair opposite me at the Barista at Lokhandwala where we met for this interview on the eve of the release of her film.

This hot Delhi babe, who was trained in acting under none other than Barry John, has absolutely no qualms to confess that being sexy is a part of Bollywood. She says that she wasn't apprehensive about wearing a bikini in her debut film. "The sequence required me to wear a bikini for a beach song." says Sheena. Well, we must give it all to this new bold MALLIKA of Bollywood for her carefree attitude.

"I play a double role in Mallika - Mallika and Sanjana. Mallika is a rich high profile girl who owns a huge and craves for real love and wants to get into a relationship. Malika loves music, is emotion al and does not know what she wants to do in life, while the bubbly Sanjana is the next door girl, blessed with a rare sixth sense to foresee a lot of things which are going to happen", quips Sheena. Sheena adds that she could easily identify with both the characters as far as her real life was concerned, though she could gel more with the character of Sanjana than Mallika.

Sheena confesses that the reason she chose to make her debut with a horror film like Mallika with Wilson Louis as the director is that frankly she did not have a choice to make her debut with say Shah Rukh Khan a la Deepuika Padukone in Om Shanti Om. "Opportunity strikes in life once. I did not wait forever for a big banner like Yash Chopra or a big hero like Shah Rukh Khan. Who will give me a chance if he does not know how good I am, as a performer? Shah Rukh also had started with a stint as an actor in a TV serial before he was recognized for his potential. If you have IT, no one can stop you at all."

Sheena continues. "I had to begin somewhere and I met Wilson for an audition. I thought of exploring the challenge to begin with to have my presence felt in the industry as an actress and then wait for further opportunities," she says frankly. Sheena adds. "I went through the script first and narration later and read my script over a hundred times, made a character sketch for both my characters and watched a lot of horror films like Haunted, House On The Haunted Hill, Emily Rose, Elm Street etc to get the right mood. The toughest part was to change myself into two different situations in the film, as Mallika as well as Sanjana, who is not emotionally attached to any one though Sameer Dattani is her friend."

Sheena hastens to add that though she likes Mallika Sherawat for whatever she is today because of her hard work, she does not want to be known as another Mallika Sherawat. "I want to be known for my acting talent as well as glamorous looks. I genuinely feel that I want to be in a bigger league than Aishwarya Rai and Kareena Kapoor, because I feel that I deserve it. It is just a question of being at the right place at the right time. I'd rather prove myself with my talent than resort to distracting the audiences by wearing skimpy clothes to conceal the fact that I do not have talent, like some other actresses do. As far as I am concerned, wearing short clothes is okay. If I am in comfort zone, I do not mind wearing even a bikini, because I have been blessed with a good body."

Acting, according to Sheena, is like having a crush. "If it has to happen, it will happen in a minute. I confess that I am not a born actress. To tell the truth, I was actually lacking in confidence and concentration. I realized that a mixture of both confidence and concentration makes you a better actress. It helped me open up as an actress when I did a three months course with Barry John."

After Mallika, Sheena has already completed working in another Hindi film called Interview with Lawrence C Postma as the director, with Jackie Shroff. "It is a one night story which revolves the interaction between a Bollywood heroine and a TV war reporter. Acting in the film Interview was a big challenge for me as an actress. Jackie told me that I was made after I gave just one shot with him. I treasure his compliment".

The talk veers to the syndrome of the casting couch in the film industry. "You have to be smart enough to know how to play the game, because whether you are in school or college, boys always want to take advantage of the girls. I think in any field, not necessarily the film industry, the syndrome exists whether the girl is good looking or not. All said and done, I'd even go to the extent of stating that casting couch exist only for those females who want to be part of it."

While she signs off, I ask Sheena who she would prefer to be marooned in an Island after a ship wreck. Pat comes the reply, "If I am compatible with them as far as a relationship is concerned, I would love to be marooned on an island with either Richard Gere or Ranbir Kapoor." Isn't Sheena a smart girl of today?

(Posted on 03 September 2010, 1679535007 34O239O173O144)