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Updated: March 31, 2012 20:45 IST

Now for the big one

Sangeetha Devi Dunoo
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new look Amrita Puri
new look Amrita Puri

Amrita Puri, the shy girl from ‘Ayesha', is poised for a big leap with ‘Blood Money'

Remember the doe-eyed newcomer Amrita Puri, or should we refer to her by her character name Shefali, from Ayesha? The 2010 release was panned for being high on style and shallow in substance but Amrita was uniformly lauded by critics for her portrayal of Shefali, the middle-class girl who transforms into a diva. Mention Ayesha and Amrita breaks into a smile, “I feel so happy when people tell me till date that they loved my performance in the movie. It means a lot to me.”

Amrita has moved on from being Shefali. She is the leading lady in Mahesh Bhatt production Blood Money, opposite Kunal Khemu. “After Ayesha, I got offers for character roles. I wanted to be careful with what I choose. I didn't want to be stereotyped. Vishal, the director of the film, was looking out for an actress and Parveen Hashmi, Emraan Hashmi's wife, told him about me. I auditioned for the role and he felt I was apt for the part. This is my first film as a heroine and it's a great feeling to be a part of a Bhatt film,” she says.

The enthusiasm is hard to miss when Amrita talks about her role and the film, “I play a simple, middle class girl from Mumbai who gets married to Kunal Khemu and moves to Cape Town. Her husband means the world to her and while everything is going fine, her womanly instincts tell her that something is amiss. Their relationship takes a toll when Kunal comes in touch with the dark side of the diamond industry.”

Her character, Amrita reveals, was modelled after Parveen Hashmi. “Vishal made me interact more with Parveen so that my character will have a similar vibe. Parveen used to be a school teacher earlier,” adds Amrita.

She is upbeat about the film because the audience will finally be able to see the real Amrita. “The Shefali you saw in Ayesha is so unlike me. They worked a lot on my looks to make me look like Shefali,” she says.

Amrita doesn't come from a film family and worked her way through auditions. Remembering the two-year journey before her debut, she says, “It's not easy. You get ready, go for an audition and find at least 200 others waiting to audition for the same role. I've faced a lot of rejection but giving up was not an option. My family was supportive, which kept me motivated.” When the debut finally came through, what worked in her favour was her training in theatre, believes the petite girl. “I love theatre and still manage to do plays. It's a creative medium where you don't have to work under restrictive parameters. A background in theatre does reflect on your performance,” she says, signing off.

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