Amisha on her `high road' to success

SHE CAN give a professional orator a run for his money, and Bill Gates a reason to blush. Bollywood starlet Amisha Patel splashes a genuine pearly grin welcoming questions that allow her "to be herself". She is among those few lucky faces in tinsel town who do not seem to be stepping out of modesty even if sporting the skimpiest of outfits. Her innocent looks and traditional Indian countenance forgive her the cost of shedding all inhibitions on screen. The mega success of "Kaho Na Pyar Hai" and "Ghadar" luckily helped her swim across to the shore safely with the image of a fine actress despite giving continuous flops like "Ye Zindagi ka Safar", "Kya Yahi Pyar Hai" and rather unnoticed "Aap Mujhe Acche Lagne Lage". In Delhi for the promotion of her latest flick "Humraaz" this past week, Amisha was all too ready for picture-perfect pose as well as a deep search within.

Amisha gets her name from a blend of Amit and Asha, her parents. She always had the privilege to be surrounded by who's who of political and artistic arena right from her childhood. "My grandmother Sushma Patel was a close associate and an ardent admirer of Mahatma Gandhi who made several dolls depicting almost each aspect of Gandhiji and prepared a museum based on them in Mumbai.

Beauty speaks... brain guides. Amisha at her glamorous best.

Beauty speaks... brain guides. Amisha at her glamorous best.  

"Be it M. F. Hussain, Sharad Pawar or other eminent personalities, I had always been lucky to have intellectual company of political and artistic giants at my home," recalls Amisha fondly. Little Amisha's renowned lawyer father made her come around when she started growing up realising the importance of people around her. "My father always advised me to maintain a balance and never feel overawed but to establish a rapport with them. The lesson that came handy when I worked with famed directors and actors later." She was made to cultivate best of tastes in literature and art to learn to associate herself with great people. In an attempt to build a strong base, she was sent to the historic Cathedral Girls School in Mumbai and to further groom her up, Massachusetts University was a natural choice. Here she graduated in Economics. Amisha was a Head Girl in the school and a gold medallist at university.. At five, she had started learning Bharatnatyam too.

"A politically and educationally charged atmosphere at home made me learn to shed my inhibitions before best of creatures in the world and Bharatnatyam took away my stage-fright," she assigns reasons for her confidence opposite any big hero, heroine or canvas of a film.

An avid reader of "anything from a junk to classics" Amisha, however, loves R. K. Narayan and Khalil Gibran. A good knower of Latin and Arabic, she gives you bouts of surprises with her unsurpassed vocabulary, intelligent mind and a quick pick up of queries that repeatedly reminds one that she is not just a beauty without brain and make you even more surprised at her choice of career in films when she could have been an economist or more substantial being. "Don't you think that I can use my intelligence in the character I play? In fact, an inclination for arts and literature helps me delve deep into the character's psyche. Hence, the role I play is just not a director's imagination but mine also." When she is reminded of the films like "Ye Zindagi... " and "Kya Yahi... ", she asserts that the flicks conveyed good, moral messages though they bombed at the box office.

If she could apply her mind in choosing roles then what she had been doing in "Kranti" where she comes out with two item songs of the worst sort? Amisha heaves a sad sigh, "Sometimes the role that is narrated to you is chopped off at the editor's table without your knowledge. "Kranti' was one such mistake that I would not like to repeat."

Amisha on her `high road' to success

Ask her about her passions and she flings another surprise, "stuffed toys, salwar kameez, and Bill Gates! Given a chance, I would like to date Bill Gates. He is the ultimate in intelligence," she gushes. "Nothing embellishes a women more than her long hair and traditional wear like salwar-kameez. I am sure my hair makes me stand unique in the crowd," she ruffles them unconsciously but she does not like to be touched upon this dress she nearly abandons in films. She well realises that her stardom has made her pay a lot both at professional and personal level. "My personal life is virtually non-existent. I can't enjoy Mumbai as I would when a non-entity in filmdom - those bhailpuri, paanipuri, chaupati and friends. People have stopped realising that I am after all like any other human being on road. Everyone wants me to behave like a perfect diva posing beautifully even in hardest of times," a wide display of gloom sophisticatedly hidden by an attempted smile. But she is quick to acknowledge what she received in return, "what the film industry has granted me in one year, even four years of education abroad could not - the name, fame, money, adulation, love, respect and individuality that I can always boast of". She is all the more quick into describing herself: "short tempered to the extent of being diplomatic. Many people find me arrogant also. But what do I do? It is the structure of my big nose that leaves such an impression," and she laughs.

Waiting to play a role like Rekha in "Umrao Jaan", Amisha will be seen in "Humko Tumse Pyar Hai" opposite Bobby Deol and Arjun Rampal and "Mere Jeevan Saathi" and "Rahain Na Rahin Hum", both opposite Ajay Devgan, where her real mother plays her reel mother for the first time. "We coaxed her into it," she gives it honestly.

Photo : S. Subramanium

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