There’s no doubt that Monica Dogra is a talent to watch
out for. She’s not only one of the most popular rock ‘n’ roll singers today but also holds tremendous promise as an actress. Her debut opposite superstar Aamir Khan in Dhobi Ghat was proof enough of that. Currently gearing up for her second release – David, Monica is thrilled to be back on the big screen. Ask her if she’s happy to be a part of this film and she states excitedly, “Of course! For me, 2013 is the year of reinvention. My character in David is just that. I play Noor, a Muslim girl. My part of the film is a period drama based in UK. I was excited to play the character because it’s something completely new for me.”
The actress will be seen opposite Neil Nitin Mukesh in the film.Apparently, the duo got along like a house on fire while shooting for the flick. Is that true?
|She nods in agreement, “We did. But I don’t think anyone knows that we went from having cold feet about each other to completely loving one another. Usually, you meet someone and get them right but we got each other wrong,” she takes a breather and adds, “But eventually it was okay. He has an extensive background in films. I consider him one of my greatest teachers. Aamir (Khan) taught me a lot as well and now, I have furthered my knowledge through Neil. He’s closer to my age. He gave me useful advice while we were filming.”
So when did they break the ice and become such good friends? “Things changed through workshops when we were interacting. The first time I met him, I had to lie on top of his body and recite gaalis. The coach was trying to break all our barriers and insecurities. That’s hard to do with a stranger. I felt so conscious. But I really trusted Bejoy (Nambiar) as a director. I respect him as an artiste. Neil, being my co-star, was very supportive too. You know, there’s a part of me that really admires the way Neil looks. He’s a beautiful man,” she admits.
So was she attracted to him at any point while shooting? She laughs, “I find him incredibly attractive. But there’s nothing happening between us. However, I can understand why many women would be interested in him.”
Monica’s debut in Dhobi Ghat had won her plenty of critical acclaim. What took her so long to sign a second film? She explains, “Many scripts came my way even before Dhobi Ghat was out. People heard I was in a film with Aamir Khan and everyone wanted to cast me. Even after that, I got many interesting scripts but I couldn’t manage things. I’m committed to my band and to The Dewarists (her musical TV series). It’s time-consuming. When 2012 hit, I was wishing to do some films. So then I signed Fireflies and David.”
Monica never dreamt of being a Bollywood heroine. In fact, the actress had even stated in one of her interviews to the media that her parents were rather surprised when she took to acting. Now that she’s a part of movies, are they proud of the way her career is shaping up? “They’re really happy. My parents are typical Bollywood lovers. My dad would love it if I was Priyanka Chopra. He keeps telling me to do more work and that I’m not big enough yet. My parents were worried about what I was going to do in life. I’ve grown up from the trenches. I’m self-made. I think in order to become fully self-made without compromising, you experience many years of failure. I have seen it. So I’m glad about where I have reached today,” she shares.
Monica was one of the lucky few to get an opportunity to work with Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao in her very first film. Ask her if she’s in touch with them and she states, “Yes, I hear from them every now and then. They’ve got their new baby. We’re not like the best of friends but I do hear from them. I have major respect for them as artistes and as individuals. I think in the world of Indian cinema, they are two people whom I would like to keep going back to.”
The paparazzi has often spotted Monica with a mystery guy. But the actress has never really opened up about her personal life. Is she in a relationship? She states with a glint in her eyes, “Yes. It has been three years. I asked him if he wants me to talk about him to the media and he said no. Before I signed Dhobi Ghat, he said that he didn’t like girls who are in the spotlight. I just laughed at that. I quietly let him fall in love with me. Then I was like, ‘By the way, I’m in a movie with Aamir Khan’! Too bad ‘coz he was already in love with me by then,” she signs off on a fun note.