Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Introducing - Sheena Shahabadi in conversation with Ruslaan Mumtaz

by Devansh Patel

It’s hard for Bollywood to make any movie that doesn’t involve some sort of preaching. However, Satish Kaushik managed to do one outside of the studio system. The fact that his next film Teree Sang deals with teenage pregnancy – and doesn’t preach at all – is a feat of film making. So when I met the new comer, the new entrant and the newest actress to hit Bollywood at actor Ruslaan Mumtaz's residence, I was impressed. Impressed on the way she perceived her first role. She said, “ Pregnancy in early age is itself a big issue. Teen pregnancy is very difficult as it has not only the physical consequences; it also has social, emotional and moral consequences. The study shows that in past ten years there is a dramatic increase in the teenage pregnancy. The reason behind this is the immaturity and lack of knowledge among teenagers.” And then started some serious debate, a serious argument and a serious opinion on teenage pregnancy. UK's Harrow Observer columnist Devansh Patel tried to play a different ball game this time around. Instead of throwing the questions to both the young actors, we decided to let them battle out themselves in this Bollywood Hungama exclusive. Presenting you the scintillating face launched by Satish Kaushik – Sheena Shahabadi in conversation with the new found talent Ruslaan Mumtaz. It's time to grill!

Ruslaan Mumtaz: How does it feel to be the newest leading lady of Bollywood?
Sheena Shahabadi: It feels great. As far as I can remember, I always wanted to become an actress since childhood. It's a dream come true for me.

RM: You've started your film career working with one of the veterans of Bollywood, Satish Kaushik.
SS: I've seen Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai and Tere Naam. The latter can be termed as my favourite Satish Kaushik film. He is an actors director and it was great working with him.

SS: Would you work with Satish Kaushik again?
RM: My first director was Robby Grewal. He wanted me in his next film. I did not like my part and had to turn him down. He was upset with me for a while. I told him not to give me a hit film but a hit role and I'll do it. At this point of time, I want to guarantee my success. Satishji has looked after us for more than a year but even if he doesn't give me a good part in his next film, I'll reject it.

RM: Why the term, a kidult love story?
SS: I don't think that the word 'kidult' is funny. It's like kids who behave like adults later on and that's why the term 'kidult' is used. Even if we have made a mistake. We know how to be responsible for it.

SS: What are your views on a word like 'kidult'?
RM: Kidult is an American word which says that the young teenagers are like kids but are more responsible than the adults.

RM: Today's actresses have problem playing the role of a mother. But your debut film sees you as a fifteen year old mother. Were you hesitant?
SS: I wasn't hesitant at all. I wasn't scared. I've read in the newspapers about fifteen year old girls getting pregnant and similar kind of stories. I think it's high time people face the reality and be aware of what they are and aren't doing?

RM: If you were pregnant today. Would you then abort your child?
SS: I think the biggest crime you can ever commit is to kill your child. Abortion is nothing but killing your child. In fact, you are killing someone who has not even entered this world. I am against abortion.

SS: What are your views on abortion?
RM: I will completely go by the girls decision here. She is carrying the child in her womb. She is the decision maker because she brings the child into the world. For me, a fifteen year old girl should not have a child but if she wishes to, there should be no reason to stop her too.

SS: Do you prefer men being pregnant?
RM: I seriously wouldn't prefer men being pregnant. I am happy that I am a man. Women go through a lot of things, a lot of pain while pregnant or otherwise. So its the men who come to the rescue. They give them respect, love and a chance to decide or choose what they want to.

RM: What about live-in relationships?
SS: I will not be comfortable with live-in relationships at all because I wouldn't like to commit a mistake at such a young age. I think everything has its own time. I am not saying that you can't have sex, but not at an early age where you can't look after yourself. Personally, I wouldn't go for a live-in relationship even today when I'm twenty one.

SS: What are your views on live-in relationships?
RM: For me, a live-in relationship will only start if the girl doesn't have a house to stay in or she is not from the same city. But if we both have our individual families in the same city, we should only live together once we are ready to get married or engaged.

RM: What sort of a message does a film like Teree Sang give?
SS: Teree Sang is against teenage pregnancy and that's the message it gives. It says not to get pregnant at an early age.

SS: Is Teree Sang a difficult film to digest?
RM: Yes, it is a difficult film to digest. We have a fifteen year old girl getting pregnant. The day I walked into Satish Kaushik's office and I saw Sheena, I was stunned. She did look fifteen. So I too had to loose a lot of weight to match up with her in terms of looking like a school boy. The film deals in conflict of today's and yesteryears mental attributes.

RM: Teree Sang is going to be compared to Kya Kehna. Have you seen the film?
SS: I have seen the film. In Kya Kehna, Preity Zinta is aware of what she is going into. She knows what she is doing. In Teree Sang, I am too innocent and just do it. Plus, Saif Ali Khan abandons Preity Zinta. Here, I support the woman.

RM: Did you seek help to prepare for a role like this?
SS: I did seek help from my mother who gave vital inputs into the preparation for a role like this. I also asked my on screen mother Neena Gupta for tips on my role as a pregnant teenager. She was very helpful.

RM: Are you prepared for failure and success?
SS: Yes I am. You need to be prepared for both once you choose to come into the profession like this. I am confident that I will move ahead. I don't know about the film. But yes, failure is the first step towards success.

SS: Are you ready for failure?
RM: I choose a film and do not expect to be a box office success. I choose a character right. So even if the film fails, the character doesn't. My previous film MP3 didn't work but I got more roles after my debut film. My next film is a Nikhil Advani production. I am not buying a lottery ticket. I am an actor. You give me a good script and a part and I'll do well. Box Office is producers domain.

RM: What is the feedback you've got till now on your performance?
SS: The film hasn't released but my family has seen the film and they liked it. My friends have given me a good response on the theatrical promos.

RM: Was it tough to shoot your first kissing scene?
SS: I was a bit nervous initially. The kissing scene is not censored. The scene is done in a very poetic way. It won't look vulgar or cheap. In today's films you can't have a couple in love who do not want to kiss. It's stupid. I was well aware of the scene before the shoot started, though I was a bit hesitant.

SS: Which is your favourite scene from the film?
RM: The scene where you talk on the phone to your father telling him to forgive us rather than punish us. The mistake cannot be corrected and forgiveness is the best result. I just kept on looking at you. The tough scenes were well acted by you but it was the simpler scenes which are tough ones. You had to be told to touch me because you were very nervous.

SS: What about the kissing scene?
RM: Thanks for reminding me because you were the one who told me to speak to Satishji to remove the scene from the film till I told you to have it. I was a little worried at that time but everything went well and the scene too.

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