Do you have any apprehensions making your debut with Miss Lovely?
Why would I have apprehensions about playing a struggling actress in C-grade films when I am a struggling actress myself? I don’t really distinguish between an actress from an A-grade film space and one from a C-grade space. They are all individuals who enjoy performing and if I may say so, all of them indulge in vanity. Being an actress, I can understand their insecurities, anxieties and aspirations.
Did you identify with Pinky’s struggles as an actress?
I started modelling when I was 17, and moved to Delhi looking for better work. It was a process that helped me distinguish between the kind of work I was getting and the kind I wanted to do. Pinky is stuck in that space. I have known women who become manipulative because they’re stuck in this dilemma. At the beginning of the film, you worry for Pinky. She seems vulnerable but is stronger than you think.
Is this an experience also shared by those in the underbelly of the fashion industry?
Women, who have this aspirational quality to them, are uninhibited and end up trusting people almost too easily. The C-grade film space doesn’t have the kind of validation that the A-grade film space has mainly because of the legalities revolving around it. There is angst, there is hope and the actresses keep trying. It is a process that models in the underbelly of the Delhi fashion industry also don’t mind undergoing because they live in hope. There is immense exploitation. There was a time during my modelling days when a fashion photographer called me for a jewellery shoot and minutes later asked me take my top off. That happened once and I walked out. I was always aware that the space I was working in was dodgy, but when you don’t know better, you want to take your chances. You trust strangers, you go with what they’re saying and emerge wiser. But there are a lot of women I’ve known who get caught in that rut because they don’t know better.
In the film, both Sonu and his brother Vicky have their own interpretation of Miss Lovely. If you were to have yours, what would it be?
The sound of Miss Lovely has a sleazy vibe to it, but when you watch Lovely, you will realise that the idea of the character is far more complex than the sound of it. Miss Lovely, to me, is a naïve, small town girl who moves to a new city and gets trapped in a complex world. But while being trapped in that space, she eventually discovers herself. In the film, there are so many interpretations of Miss Lovely — there is Sonu’s and there is Vicky’s. And they both set out to make a film called Miss Lovely based on their own interpretations. If Miss Lovely was real, I’d identify with her journey, her struggles.