Chat Nargis Fakhri says she has found her calling in cinema
N argis Fakhri has been a drifter all her life. Born and bred in New York, this half-Czech-half-Pakistani model-turned-actor studied fine arts, and was happy being a painter and a sculptor until Imtiaz Ali signed her up for “Rockstar”. As a model, she's pretty much been there done that. “I've lived in New York, Greece, Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Bangkok, London and Sydney, learning about new cultures, meeting new people through work and earning some money,” she laughs.
But, the drifter has found her calling — cinema. “Let's see where this takes me,” she says, flush with the success of “Rockstar”. She has moved bag and baggage to Mumbai. Prior to the film's release, she was barred from talking to the media. Now, she is basking in attention. “I am overwhelmed. From keeping to myself to being talked about everywhere, it's been quite a journey,” she says.
Not all the responses towards her performance have been adulatory. If critics pointed out her difficulty in ‘fitting in' and dismissed her histrionics as an ‘exaggerated pout', she takes it with a smile. “I have never spoken Hindi before. My father is Pakistani and spoke Urdu; but he and my mom broke up when I was young. I grew up speaking English. The audience will not know that I've been plucked out of a different culture. I will take the criticism in a positive way and work on it,” she says.
She never trained to be an actor. “In fact, I am thinking if I should look out for acting coaches and train myself,” she says. Looking back at the film, she reflects: “From emoting to dancing, everything was a struggle for me. I love dancing, and could pick up the rhythm. But dancing to ‘Hawaa Hawaa' was tough. I was given the steps a few hours before the shoot, and there was chaos on the sets. I broke down. Imtiaz had also given a few exercises to work on my dialogues. I cherish working with Imtiaz, Ranbir and others.”
There are film offers knocking at her door. “A whole team is working with me. I haven't yet decided on which film I will be doing next,” she says. There are no such hesitations when it comes to brand endorsements. She's already been signed for Van Heusen women and Tata Jaquar. Where does that leave her as a painter? “For now, acting is the new art form I'm exploring. But, given a canvas and some paint, who knows?” she signs off.
SANGEETHA DEVI DUNDOO