2008 was an eventful year for Amrita Rao. She started off with My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves which in spite of not doing well at the box office, at least helped showcase a different (read glam) side of hers. A special appearance in Shaurya followed but the role was so small that it went relatively unnoticed. However, she bounced back with Welcome To Sajjanpur where in her 'gaon ki gori' role, she went on to win hearts all over again. From a village setting, she graduated to playing a small time girl in Victory which is now finally getting ready to hit the screens this Friday.
Even though the film primarily belongs to Harman Baweja and the dozens of cricketers who have consented to be a part of the project, Victory does promise to have something meaty for Amrita Rao also to showcase her acting skills. The pretty girl with a characteristic laugh gets on a free wheeling chat with us as she talks about Victory being primarily a Harman Baweja film and how he was fully prepared for the role before facing the camera.
Amrita, first things first, there have been quite a few talks about real life references for Harman's character in the film. Yuvraj, Dhoni - number of names have been thrown around! Do you want to shed light on this? Also, were you too given any reference points when you read through the script?
Let me say that Victory is a Vijay Shekhawat story that could speak of every cricketer who hails from a small town and goes on to be a part of the Indian cricket team. The film talks about any aspiring cricketer who rises to the top. And no, even I didn't receive any reference points before the shoot. I play the character of a medical student from a small town who is a friend of this young boy who goes on to be a cricketer. However, in the process of getting rich and famous, he starts losing his bearings. I act as his conscience when he is down in the dumps.
So how did you go about approaching the role?
It was quite interesting because I could easily identify with Vijay's character here. In real life, I have some shades of him because I have gained reasonable popularity and hence have to watch every step that I take in my life. I come from a profession which is so challenging and demanding. The whole world judges you on every move of yours and I realize that how important it is to be surrounded by good company of real friends. There are chances of fake people around you who could be responsible for you being pulled down.
You sound emotional about the importance of real friends...
That's right, because there are only a few who could call one. These are the real friends who matter most to you because eventually they bring with them positive influences. How eventually you are going to transfer such positive influences in your work is something that is of utmost importance. In this sense, I am playing that other side in Vijay's life who tries to bring to him those positive influences. Since I could identify Vijay's situation very well and empathize with what he was going through, it became an interesting experience.
So what was that strong factor in Victory that made you sign the film?
Its script and the canvas. For the first time in Bollywood history, there is this film coming which literally has 45 international sports people coming together. In Manmohan Shetty, we have one of the biggest producers associated with the project. And then of course there is Harman. Clearly, Victory had number of reasons for me to go for the film.
You have worked in around 10 odd films while for Harman it was just his second film. Did you two have a mutual bond that allowed you to give him suggestions or point out areas of improvements due to your prior experience?
I didn't actually have to come up with suggestions since Harman himself comes from an industry background. He has assisted his father and wasn't a newcomer at all when he worked in Victory or for that matter Love Story 2050. He was very much aware about the whole operation and the works. He was fully prepared when he stepped in to shoot for Victory. This is why, never once did I feel that I had to interfere or help him.
You seem to be impressed with your co-star...
I truly am because he is so very good. I will give him 100% marks for his act in the film; he is just so correct there. I didn't once find him conscious or nervous. I have worked with so many established actors but even when I was working with him; it all seemed just the same. He is very energetic and has a great sense of humour. He keeps everyone laughing on the sets but once the director begins to call the shots, he knows when to get serious and perform.