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Sushmita's first feminine role

By Rediff Entertainment Bureau
April 29, 2004 14:00 IST
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Sushmita Sen was never the conventional Bollywood heroine. Yet, she survived the sands of time in her eight-year-old career.

After a riveting performance in last year's Samay, Sen will play a typical Yash Chopra heroine in her forthcoming film, Main Hoon Na. Complete with chiffon saris and flowing hair, even her name in the film is Chandni!

Directed by Farah Khan, the film stars Shah Rukh Khan, Suniel Shetty, Zayed Khan and Amrita Rao. It will release on April 30.

Sushmita Sen speaks to about her film experiences.

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My role in Main Hoon Na is a caricature of a [typical] Yash Chopra heroine. It is also my first ever completely feminine role -- a typical Indian actress in a sari. No leather trousers.

This whole soft, feminine, fragile look, which Farah [Khan worked on] is presented well. There are layers in my character. [When you see me in the film you wonder if I really come in or did I really go away] like a dream sequence. I am called Chandni and I appear like that -- you can see it but can't touch it; it's that fragile.

Farah has managed to create a chemistry between Shah Rukh and me that most people cannot imagine. So much so that you have to look back and say, "My God!"

Sushmita Sen in Main Hoon NaIt has been a very different kind of experience. Farah had the whole thing figured out as she knew exactly what she was doing. The film has beautiful photography by Mani Sir [V Manikandan], as I call him. He would take an hour to light up every time I had to give a close-up shot. And everyone's hard work shows in the film.

The first thing that hooked me was Farah. Three years ago when she was choreographing a song of mine, we were sitting and chatting. She told me, "Listen, when I direct my movie you are going to be in it." I agreed.

Three years later, she called me and said, "I have a producer and an actor. You are in my movie." I agreed again!

Main Hoon Na isn't a love story just between a man and a woman. The relationships between a lot of different people -- Zayed, Amrita, Shah, me, Binduji, Boman Irani, Naseeruddin Shah and Suniel have been filmed. They are not just characters individually, they are inter-connected.

Shah Rukh Khan, Sushmita Sen in Main Hoon NaI was very comfortable with Shah Rukh. I've always had a personal equation with him though I worked with him for the first time. It was fun. He's such a non-complicated person to work with. For me, he was a costar who helps you grow as an actor. I could discuss matters with him and he would be of great help.

When you see the film, you will see that Farah's cinema is the kindest kind of cinema. You can't hate it. She is a gifted director. She can make you laugh in the middle of a very serious scene or make you cry in the middle of a very comical moment. As a person, she does not take everything seriously.

When you see MHN, you will see that the film is based on relationships which are serious, but there is a sense of humour to it too.

This is a commercial film [made] the way it should be. You don't want to watch a film for two hours that depresses you or makes you think so much it evokes a negative reaction. If you want to convey a message, you must do so in an enjoyable format.

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