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Waiting for the moon

As ‘Khoya Khoya Chand’ readies for release, Soha Ali Khan says that acting is not a dumb profession


In the age of ravishing beauties, she is a classic beauty. If Soha Ali Khan is to be believed it is this tag that won her the role of Nikhat in Sudhir Mishra’s Khoya Khoya Chand. “The film is set in the film industry i n the 1950s and early 1960s and Nikhat is an actress. Sudhir was looking for a classic beauty and according to him I am one.”

Calling it her biggest challenge by far, Soha says now she can’t complain that she didn’t get the opportunity. “Rang De Basanti is close to my heart but in Khoya Khoya…I have a sense of ownership. It’s an author-backed role where I get to portray different emotions. Nikhat is ambitious but vulnerable at the same time. There was a social stigma attached to girls working in films those days and then of course the casting couch… things that I have not experienced at all. So it was difficult to handle those emotions.”

Help came from mother Sharmila Tagore. “Though she was active in the 1960s, she grew up seeing Madhubala, Meena Kumari and Waheeda Rehman. She gave me a fair idea of how life was for an actress in those days.” With Nikhat are we revisiting Waheeda’s personal life? “I have heard people speculating that the film is inspired by Guru Dutt and Waheedaji’s life or a remake of Kagaz Ke Phool. This is not true. Sudhirji told me Nikhat is a combination of Meena Kumari, Madhubala, Waheeda Rehman and one more actress that he knew but didn’t want to reveal.”

We hardly see girls with a degree in International Relations, leaving a career in investment banking for acting in films. “I don’t think that acting is a dumb profession and today I am not the only one with a good educational background in the industry.” At the same time she admits that her father had reservations about her acting career.

Soha says her study of the industry shows that though the social stigma associated with the actresses in the 1950s is no longer there, the quality of roles has gone down. “Acting as a career for girls has found acceptance in society but there are no scripts like Aan or Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam being written these days.

On her recent statement that her mother made a mistake by wearing a bikini on screen, Soha says the media has been asking her when she is going to reveal in films. “I asked my mother and she said I should tell the media that she made a mistake.” And what’s her personal take? “I don’t want to be an accessory in the film. Madhubala’s eyes were enough to make hearts beat.”

And what about her famous surname? “I am waiting for the moment when people will stop calling me Sharmila’s daughter or Saif’s sister. Only one or two call me Pataudi’s daughter.”


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