OTHERS

A double blessing for her

`After having worked with Aamir Khan I feel I have achieved more than what I wanted to....'

Brought up on a diet of Aamir Khan's films, little did she realise that one day she would be acting opposite this highly talented actor in ``Lagaan''. Not only has it been like a dream come true for Gracy Singh but now that the hour of reckoning has finally arrived, this young girl with her ``classic Indian looks'' is confident that she will continue with her innings in films.

Playing the role of a simple village girl has not been easy but then the trust and confidence that the perfectionist Aamir reposed in her has ensured that she has risen up to his expectations. No wonder then that she has a word of praise for her co-actor. ``Aamir has been my favourite hero and I still like many of his films. On the sets of `Lagaan', I realised why people call him a perfectionist. As a new-comer, I was much inspired by the fact that he was meticulously involved with each and every detail -- right from the sets and costumes to the dialogue and cinematography,'' says Gracy.

Coming as she does from a television background and having done some serials including ``Amanat'' for Zee -- which too came her way by chance -- Gracy found ``Lagaan'' a learning experience. Receiving a call for a screen test when the cast was being finalised was a pleasant surprise for her, though.``The final screen test was taken by Aamir himself and I was thrilled when I was told I had been selected,'' Gracy recalls.

While Aamir asserts that Gracy was an ideal choice for ``Lagaan'' as the script demanded a ``rural looking face'', it is also a fact that many established heroines who fitted the role of Gauri -- daughter of a vaid in love with her childhood friend, Bhuvan -- did not have the required dates as the shooting was to be completed at one stretch.``It was an honour for me to work with the `Lagaan' team. We started shooting on January 1 last year and finished it in six months flat.''

On the sets of ``Lagaan'', Gracy realised that film-making was indeed a tough job. ``Much of the shooting took place in Bhuj and we had this apartment in which the entire cast and crew was staying. Initially, I felt I was in a hostel,'' she discloses. ``Every shot has been taken with a lot of passion and watching everyone labour hard inspired me to give my best.''

On the personal front, shifting from the idiot box to films needed a lot of discipline and it took sometime for her to master the rudiments.``Television is more fun and there is a very relaxed atmosphere. Films was a new area for me. When I started, I was very nervous. But then my seniors were very helpful and co- operative,'' says the ``Lagaan'' girl.

A product of Delhi's Manavsthali School, Gracy's dancing capabilities -- she was part of a western dance troupe called Planets -- has been exploited to the hilt in ``Lagaan''. ``It was more of classical dancing in this film,'' she informs, adding: ``It actually gave me a chance to learn Bharatanatyam and while I was awaiting its release, I took lessons under Sunil Mazumdar, Hema Malini's Guruji. I even had my `arangetram' on March 25 this year.''

While she would like to pursue her film career and do ``more meaningful'' roles, Gracy asserts she would also like to practice her Bharatanatyam alongside.``I feel blessed that I have done a film like `Lagaan'. Waiting for its release has turned me into a Bharatanatyam dancer and it is like a double blessing,'' she says.

Even as she is keeping her fingers crossed vis-a-vis her role in ``Lagaan'' and the opportunities that it might bring in the future, Gracy feels she has already made it big.``After having worked in a film with Aamir Khan, I feel I have achieved more than what I wanted to.''