Unlike her contemporaries from the world of glamour and beauty pageants, Gul Panag doesn't believe in being a part of the rat race. Here she states the reason why?
"I would rather enjoy life and explore so many different things that the world has to offer rather than worry 24 hours of my day planning my next move in Bollywood", says Gul whose film Manorama Six Feet Under has just released. "Being the daughter of an Army man, I have moved around the country and stayed in places like Leh and Laddakh. Guess it's hard for me to settle down into anything which may be monotonous or unexciting."
Was Manorama Six Feet Under the kind of opportunity that came her way which broke the monotony? "The film sounded so novel in the first read itself. Also, I got to play the role of a middle class housewife which allowed me to explore different traits of being someone who I am not", says Gul whose moment of glory came with Nagesh Kukunoor's Dor last year.
While each and every actor in the town today is talking about Hollywood, Gul doesn't have any qualm in admitting that she could possibly recollect names of only a couple of Hollywood directors.
"No point pretending to be someone who you are not. With most of my life spent in travelling across the country with stay at hard stations, the last thing you are exposed to is cinema. In fact I have been in situations when even a regular Hindi movie has been screened a year after being released in Mumbai. In such a scenario, even if you have basic awareness about Bollywood, it is a bonus."
Talking about the debutant film maker, she says, "To think of it, director Navdeep Singh is really a genius. He knew the nuances of the script and the characters inside out. I can vouch for the fact that he was aware not just about what the protagonists had to do in the film but even the background of their siblings and parents who may in fact be non-existant in the film."
Her Manorama Six Feet Under does look a little bizarre. "I don't know whether bizarre is the right word for the film. Also, you can't categorise or quantify something like Manorama.... There is a unique treatment to the film right from art direction to camerawork to sound. Even the wardrobe has been stitched by local tailors to lend an authenticity to the characters."
So what keeps her busy apart from films? "I travel and also write a lot. In fact I was writing for HT for almost 3 years. I have already come up with a collection of short stories and into the process of coming up with one more. I contribute to a lot of discussion groups amongst a closed group set of people though blogging may be just round the corner", she divulges.
Is Manorama Six Feet Under the film on which she is pining all her hopes? "To be honest I don't really expect anything from any of the films. Yes, it does sound a little unbelievable but that's me", laughs Gul, "I may better utilise my energy into the work I do rather than sitting and thinking about what I have done and start expecting a moon later."
But audience does expect a good act from her, especially after Dor that is a solid DVD watch today!
"And I respect my audience for that", she says quickly, "I am not saying that people should expecting anything from me. It is just me as I choose to follow the path where I don't fret about what I have done or start painting the town red on achieving something. I approach my work with integrity. That's my motto. As things stand today, I am very happy with where I am."