FRIDAY REVIEW

Julie turns journalist

QUOTE QUEEN Neha Dhupia says she still stands by

QUOTE QUEEN Neha Dhupia says she still stands by "Julie". PHOTO: R.V. MOORTHY  

As "Siskiyan" opens this Friday, one feature we already know. We are again going to see Neha Dhupia in a power-packed role but this time fully clothed! And Neha admits this.

"I didn't sign it for being a woman-oriented film. I went for `Siskiyan' because I haven't seen myself on camera like this before. Also I wanted to be part of new age cinema which films like `Siskiyan' are promoting."

Neha plays a journalist Ayesha in the film set in the aftermath of the Gujarat riots.

"The film doesn't delve into the working of a journalist but is a sort of metaphor to present the strength of the character. Earlier it used to be an Army background or cop, today it is journalist." She says its good time for Hindi cinema for women are getting to play different roles. "We no longer get stereotypical roles. Today we are second only to Hollywood in terms of films. We have a huge television and radio industry. This gives birth to new characters be it radio jockey or a journalist."

In the one night story, based on the play "Death and the Maiden", Ayesha happens to meet Dr. Vishwas (played by Sonu Sood) in her house. Now Ayesha believes that the doctor had raped her during the unrest and wants to take revenge. However, her husband played by Sachin Khedekar doesn't back her for he believes she can't be sure as she was blindfolded. Neha says for once rape has not been used for titillation. "Also in a country where taking the names of Hindu and Muslim together raises eyebrows, director Ashwini Choudhary has dealt with the subject sensitively. It questions the basic trust in humanity." She also gives full credit to Sachin for making her understand the nuances of serious cinema.

So does she regret that once she was a "Julie"? "Not at all. It was a strong character but in the course of publicity of the film, out of 60 scenes, three bold ones were highlighted while the audience were expected to see the rest in theatres. It was something not in my control. Still I stand by `Julie' for without her I wouldn't have progressed to Ayesha." Isn't it ironic that in times of so-called new age cinema, we need skin to sell a subject? "It is, but I believe that was a phase and we are through it."

Not really. We just saw her in "Kya Kool Hain Hum", where rib tickling got a whole new meaning. "The film has done remarkably well at the box office. First the media asks whether a particular film or subject will work. When it works it again questions why it has worked... bachche ki jaan loge kya?"

Well, that's what they call getting into the skin of the character!

ANUJ KUMAR

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