Tuesday, 12 May 2009

On a special date with Sonal Chauhan at the JW Marriott, Mumbai

by Devansh Patel

This is my speciality, so pay close attention all you filmifarmoola surfers! If ever you get a chance to date the heavenly Sonal Chauhan, this is how you go about. Firstly, be wildly attractive. Make yourself stand out by 'not' saying things like "I loved you in Jannat". This will not distinguish you from the crowd. Instead, try things like "I think you could've done better in Jannat”. This will double your chances of a second date with her or instead will treble your chances of being kicked surely but badly. So what's the lesson you learn today? Leave it up to the master to do the rest...and that's me. Apart from crushes everyone has at some point in their life dreamt to date a celeb but the concept of dating a celebrity is a foreign one. Even more if you visit India from a foreign land after eight long years. But being a journalist helps. Helps you get your sixth date in six months. One each month and that's good by any standard. When it comes to dating, it's true that celebrities usually stick to their own kind. But you only have to flick through a few tabloid kiss and tell stories to see that's not always the case. Admittedly, there's usually nothing more to report than a booze-fuelled night of passion, but sometimes a bona fide star ends up genuinely dating an ordinary non-famous person (like me?) and occasionally they even marry them. Unfortunately, me and Sonal didn't booze nor did both of us propose each other for marriage but we did have a passionate date.

So whether you're dreaming of a super-size sparkler or a passionate fling - or if you'd settle for a snog – we found out that meeting in the day can ease the pressure a little, you can chat in a quiet cafĂ© and then potter around a gallery, museum or the park for that matter. You could even go for a picnic, weather permitting. Imagine this, on a crisp winter night, both wrap up warm and walk hand in hand in the moonlight, admiring the burnt out cars, sewage, and general detritus we stroll by. Is something wrong with this picture? YES! Location, location, location. If you know what you like, why change? Personally speaking, I haven't and that's the reason I met Miss Chauhan at the same venue where my first date with the gorgeous Mugdha Godse happened. What's more, things went a bit spooky in the middle of the date when I receive a text message from Miss Godse. And this is the first lesson I learn from my celebrity date – Never talk about your first date with your other dates. Lucky for me, I didn't get a bad and a painful kick in the middle...middle of the interview baba!. Already in my sixth date , my challenge was how to make it different and delicious. Different? Don't know but delicious? Oh yes!. Through Sonal's personal P.R, I find out out that she loves chocolates and perfumes. I didn't go for the perfume. I mean, we've all read that she goes busy shopping in Dubai every now and then, don't we? I finally see a cake shop. Ordered for half a kilo of Dutch truffle. Then suddenly I recall while I'm on my way to the Marriott that my friend used to ask his mother, 'How can I find the right woman for me?' and she would answer, 'Don't worry about finding the right woman- concentrate on becoming the right man”. I reach an hour early just to make sure that Sonal's cake gets a proper security clearance. It does, and as I get seated on the soft cushioned sofa at the Reflections Bar of the Marriott, in approximately fifteen to twenty minutes a sublimely slim figure walks towards me. I ask Sonal, “How did you find your surprise date gift?”. “No one has ever gifted me a cake on my date, unless it was my birthday”, Sonal answers. She adds, “You're spoiling me now so you better get me another one on my birthday”..... Time to spoil you guys now!

Dev - Which is your last date you can recall?
Sonal - Honestly, I don't really go out on dates. I sometimes wonder what a 'date' really means. This is my first date ever with a journalist and if a date means to go out with a guy and dine, my last one was just two days back.

S - You are an expert, considering you've gone out on dates with so many actresses (laughs).
D - Yeah Ok but can't you recall one for me?
S - Ok fine. There is this one date that I really remember. It was with my ex-boyfriend. We had gone to Olives in Bandra which is one of my favourite restaurants. It was just a regular dinner we were suppose to go for but it turned out to be so special. The food, the music and...
D - ...and the man, of course. What if our date was in Olives and not at the Marriott?
S - There is an advice for all guys. You should never date two different men at the same place (laughs)

D - You're doing this film with M.F.Hussain's son, Owais Hussain. You don't mind me asking you questions on films, do you?
S - I always want to be with a man who can talk about my work also. So that's nice of you. I was shooting in Bangalore when I got a call from my manager saying there is a film which is being directed by Owais Hussain. It interested me because I've watched Hussain saabs films with Owais being a co-director in all of them and also because Santosh Sivan was the DOP. I came to Mumbai and met them and I was on.
D - What's the film all about? Is it to do with paintings?
S - The film has nothing to do with paintings. Owais himself is a painter and his sensibilities are that of a painter. So every frame was beautiful. When he narrated me the script, it felt like he was painting on a canvas.
D - What's the movie to do with?
S - I cannot tell you that.
D - Now that's untrue. Spit it out girl.
S - I am serious. It's too early to talk about the film which is still untitled. It's a romantic film and very interestingly romantic.

D - Have you been on a date with Emraan Hashmi?
S - No never. In the movie, yes. It was Jannat, I tell you (laughs).
D - What's your type of a man?
S - This is one question I've never been able to answer. I don't know myself what is my kind of a guy. For me, it's more important about that one moment where you click with a person and you know that he is the right choice.
D - So it hardly takes you a few seconds to decide your Mr Perfect.
S - Not seconds but at least ten minutes. I still haven't found my type of a guy.

D - After Shilpa Shetty, it's you Sonal who has a great body.
S - Thank you so much. You're right. Shilpa has a great body too.
D - So what's in you that makes people go ga-ga?
S - I see women coming up to me with their husbands and they are so comfortable with their hubbys clicking pictures with me. So thanks to the Bhatts who gave me my first film. It's because of Jannat that people have noticed my body.
D - What's your health regime like?
S - I'm not a very healthy eater. You have to trust me on this. I do not touch green vegetables at all. Green tea is ok (laughs). I eat a lot of chicken and all sorts of junk food.
D - ..And you still have this sexy figure. By the way, what if I cook a lovely butter chicken for you one day. You see, I'm a good cook.
S - Then I'll fall in love with you if it's nice (laughs). Men always make better cooks. My brother cooks good food too. I'm living in Mumbai since three years and still don't know how to cook.
D - And what should women do?
S - Women should just work, enjoy and get pampered. Pampering is more about loving someone, taking care of them and making them feel they are special.

D - What's the most beautiful gift you've ever received which you still cherish?
S - I won't be able to explain what it was but one day I had a big fight with my friend. Normally people gift soft toys or flowers to make you feel special after a fight but he gave me a lovely letter saying 'I'm sorry and I know that you're smiling right now'. It was something very sweet. When I read that line, I started smiling.
D - What's that bad quality in you which you fear the most?
S - I think sometimes I become this emotional fool and people take me for a ride. I am stubborn and that's not good. I am too possessive and that's bad too.
D - Yeah. Seems you are too possessive about your blackberry.
S - Yes, I am too possessive about my phones (laughs). I've got this phone recently while I was in Punjab shooting for Owais's film. It's like this latest trend of Blackberry. So I am going according to the season (laughs).
D - Sonal, this date is special for more reasons than just one. This is the first time I'm recording our conversation.
S - Wow! You've got a memory chip huh? But why are you recording it this time?
D - Because you're someone special. You're the only celeb I've got a date gift for. I'm sure all my previous five dates must be cursing me right now.
S - You are so good (laughs).
D - We know you love being clicked
S - Yes. I love photo shoots because I started my career as a model. I love pictures. I like photography too. You will always find a camera in my bag wherever I go.I've got one with me today too to take back home my date pictures (laughs)
D - Are you a Facebook addict?
S - Oh Yes! I am. Most of the people on my Facebook are from my old school and few good friends from the industry. But I check my Facebook almost every ten minutes because I have access to internet from my Blackberry. I love Facebook.

D - What's the funniest Facebook status you've had?
S - There was this weird quote which said - When a child was a child, it didn't know it was a child. It's a quote from a very old German movie.
D - You often see world cinema?
S - Yes. Last night I saw this violent Mexican movie and I slept while watching it. Plus it was late in the night too. Yawn time.
D - Are you a late night person?
S - Not really. But I love sleeping. I can sleep for hours and hours.
D - You love chocolates, you sleep, you eat junk food and then you've got a figure like that.
S - (laughs) It's true. Only once in my life I had become very chubby and I didn't realise it then.
D - What were you fascinated about in your school days?
S - I was in Delhi Public School and back then I loved watching movies. I used to live in this filmy world where I thought my Raj would also come (laughs). I can still watch DDLJ everyday. I love that film. I am so filmy that I can sing any old Hindi film song but please don't test me on this today.
D - Which actress did you look up to while you were in school?
S - Kajol. I think she creates magic when she comes in front of the camera. I loved her in Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha.

S - Now let me ask you some questions as it's a date and not an interview. It's very important for us to be friends.
D - Please shoot
S - Which one has been your most interesting date and why?
D - The most interesting date was my first date with Mugdha Godse at the Marriott. I'm a Marriott man (laughs). Because I only went to meet her for dinner. That time I didn't even know I'd be doing this 'On a Date With' stories. It's only after I went back home that I realised that I still remember my entire tete-a-tete with Mughs. I wrote a long dialogue piece and Bollywood Hungama published it the next day. It worked with the readers and that's how the whole process started.
S - What is your kind of a woman?
D - I really don't like going to bed with an argument. I love fights and arguments and that's when I get to know the real partner I am with. All bad things in life can be sorted out on a coffee table. My kind of woman should be argumentative.
S - Do you then believe that the beauty of this emotion called love also lies in arguments?
D - When you feel the pain, the impact of love is stronger. Relationship is worship for me. Do you agree with me?
S - Yes, totally. I feel that one shouldn't get into relationships for the heck of it. And if you do then you should realise your responsibilities.

S - Do you think eyes are the windows to someone's soul?
D - Yeah. But sometimes those eyes turn bitchy. You don't know what's being cooked behind the eye. If one eye is telling you something the other is saying something else.
S - Actually, I've never been able to read anything in peoples eyes.
D - Are you philosophical in nature?
S - For that, you'll have to take me out on another date (laughs)

D - Where would you like to go out on your second date with me?
S - I like a place called Aurus in Juhu. We can go there. But may be I should take you out on our second date. It's a perfect night spot.
D - For me, our second date idea is more delicious than this cake lying here. I'd get hold of your house keys and by the time you arrive home at night, a grand feast is ready waiting for you.
S - Oh wow! That'll be great.
D - Ok. let's try this. I'll take you out on your longest date ever. We both fly together from Mumbai to London. I take you to Bond Street and Regents Street and you can shop there.
S - You are so romantic. How amazing would that be.
D - ...and how would you dress me up for our second date?
S - I won't undress you for sure (laughs). I would love to have you wearing a white linen shirt with denims. How would you dress me?
D - Same first half of your answer Sonal (laughs). I'd love to see you in a white tight capri along with a nice loose top.

D - It's been an hour long date Sonal. Good?
S - Excellent.
D - So any dating tips for the men lurking to go out with you?
S - My man should smell good. He should not try hard to impress and be casual. I hate it when people say - "You're too sweet Sonal"
D - On that note, thank you for this special and a memorable date. You were too sweet (laughs)

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