Having begun her career with modelling assignments in Sri Lanka, in an unexpected turn of events, this Miss Universe Sri Lanka landed a role in Aladin, marking her Bollywood debut. But it was really the film Kick that took off her career.
Hailing from Sri Lanka, what drew you towards Bollywood?
It was not something I had planned; it was actually just an opportunity that presented itself. So it was strange because I knew people in Sri Lanka who were working very hard to set up an agency here in India and they started calling me up for various modelling assignments, shows and other stuff which I was taking on. At a later point in my life, I realised that this is a career that might actually work for me. Rather, it was actually kind of working really well for me and I was getting such good response from people. So I thought of trying it out and I moved here for a little bit. Within the first month of my visit I was able to crack into the Aladin crew. At that time I felt that there was something knocking on my door and I needed to grab it before it’s gone.
In previous interviews you’ve admitted that your first film wasn’t quite a struggle. It came easier for you compared to other aspiring actresses in the industry.
It definitely was not. The funniest thing about it was that the project came my way without me even trying. Now I see that when there is something out there, I become desperate sometimes, but whatever it is, you know you might not get it. So I’ve come to realise from my first experience that it is just about being happy with what you get; not about becoming desperate or frustrated, rather just about letting things come your way naturally.
At the time that I got Aladin, I had no expectations and I actually didn’t care much. I was just doing my work accepting whatever came my way, when this fantastic opportunity presented itself. Now that I have been in this field for a few years, I sometimes feel, oh my god, I really want to get that project. And it just does not happen because it is not meant to.
But it was Kick that made you a star and catapulted you into the A-league...
Yes, absolutely. But I would’ve actually preferred to start with Murder 2 because that was actually my first hit and I will always be indebted to Mohit and the Bhatts for it. Housefull 2 went on to become a Rs 100 crore film and I tried to level the scale of actors to better myself in the long run. And this movie, with Emraan, actually set the ball rolling. Having your films do well is really important, that is what I learnt after the success of Murder 2. It kind of developed me as an actress.
Ever thought of doing action scenes by yourself in a film?
I really wanted to do an action scene as I feel that’s something I can do really well. Given a chance, I would definitely want to be an action heroine in Bollywood. But unfortunately, I have not got the opportunity to showcase that side of mine on screen yet. Even when I worked on action films like Kick, Brothers or A Flying Jatt, I really didn’t have the scope to do any action scene. People will get to see a very different me in my next two films. The film with Sidharth will have me doing a little action, which is a first. There’s a surprise towards the film’s climax too. It’s a full blown action movie with lots of car chases and stunts.
Any particular genre you would like to work in?
With the kind of movies being made today, I want to do something meatier. I loved Neerja, it was very inspiring. Or even a Bajirao Mastani where it would be challenging to express the trauma that Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone’s characters had to portray. I would love to act in period films. In fact, it would be a dream come true to do a grey role in a period film (laughs).
Why didn’t you try any of it as yet?
I didn’t have the experience or confidence to take up such roles earlier. It has been an amazing journey so far as I have been able to be part of and work in blockbusters and act with the biggest stars. It’s been a fantastic learning experience and I needed this to get confident and move on to the next level.
A Flying Jatt was my 10th film, but I never had the confidence before. If someone had asked me to do a Queen, Piku or Mary Kom I would never have been able to. At that time, it was easy to hide behind the hero and do glamorous, fluffy roles. Yet at the same time, every single film I have done has made me improve as an actor.