Vishakha Singh on playing a loud Punjaban in the just released Bajatey Raho
Vishakha Singh is in a rather upbeat mood. The actor has begun this year with a hit Tamil film, Kanna Laddu Thinna Aasaiya, and has had two Hindi releases (Fukrey and Ankur Arora Murder Case) that have given her a good share of the spotlight. “I think it is a happy moment for me. I have received positive feedback for all my films. I have signed another film with the Kanna Laddu Thinna Aasaiya team and there is a Malayalam and a Telugu film on the anvil. At the same time, I am working on some interesting Hindi films too,” says Vishakha, whose latest Hindi film to hit the screens (released this Friday) is Shashant Shah’s Bajatey Raho.
Terming Bajatey Raho as a breather for her, Vishakha says, “Ankur Arora… was a very emotional film and in Fukrey, my character was a serious one. But Manpreet Kaur of Bajatey Raho let me be the way I am. She is strong, loud and street smart — she is a Sikhni from purani Dilli.” The actor who is from UP but never lived there says director Shashant had apprehensions about whether she would be able to pull off the role of a loud Punjaban, and she retorted, “If I can manage Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam, Hindi is my mother tongue!” The film is about a few common people who mobilise their strength to take revenge on a conman who has thrown their lives off the track.
Vishakha says that after her Ashutosh Gowariker film Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey (KHJJS, 2010) didn’t do well, she was upset and went off to London to her father’s office as a ‘glorified assistant’. Strangely that’s when things started progressing in cinema for her. “I was Facebook friends with Guneet Monga who had shared an update about a film that required funding. I thought it was a great story and I pitched in as co-producer of Peddlers.” The film was selected for screening at the Critics’ Week at Cannes. “I even got Bajatey Raho through FB! I networked with Shashant Shah and he came back when he wanted someone for this film and my first question to him was, ‘Okay, who backed out?’” she laughs. Incidentally, KHJJS’s fate at the box office may not have been good, but Vishakha got Fukrey, Ankur Arora… and Bajatey Raho because the directors were convinced of her acting skills after watching her performance in the period film about the Indian uprising.
Vishakha confesses she can barely dance and that the response to her first ever (and ‘hopefully last’) item number ‘Golden Choly’ in Kanna Laddu Thinna Aasaiya has surprised her. “Given a chance I would never dance! It takes quite some effort,” says the actor, adding she’d rather produce films instead. “I believe I have a good sense of screenplay.”