By Dibyojyoti Baksi
Mumbai, Nov 6 (IANS) Monikangana Dutta, the tall model, never planned to step out of the modelling world, but she says the opportunity to work with director Sanjay Leela Bhansali enticed her to sign up for "Guzaarish".
"I signed 'Guzaarish' because it was a Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie. I was shocked when he called me himself and the other shock was when he offered me the movie. I readily agreed," Monikangana told IANS.
"I am paired opposite Hrithik and I play his love interest."
Releasing Nov 19, the love story touches the issue of euthanasia and also stars Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Roy Kapoor.
Before "Guzaarish", she had refused movie offers because she didn't want to risk her modelling career by changing professions.
"I didn't want to get involved into movie because I was so involved with my dreamland, my fantasy world, which is modelling. Even when I got plum offers for movies before 'Guzaarish', I didn't say yes because I was never in India, I was travelling across the world.
"For me, to sacrifice all that and come down here was a huge decision. When you are at the peak of something and you are offered to change your profession, it's really a big step," she said.
While taking acting classes, the model discovered her acting talent.
"It took me more than a year to decide to join movies. Much before Sanjay Leela Bhansali called me, I decided to join Anupam Kher's acting school (Actor Prepares). I believe that one should know what one could do. I wasn't sure whether I would be able to do justice to both modelling and acting. After attending a couple of acting classes, I got to know that I want to be an actor and that's when I got this offer," said Monikangana.
She learnt to face the camera as a model, but was nervous while shooting "Guzaarish".
"I was very nervous. Facing the camera was not a big thing for me, the pressure was how well I can act and how well I can do justice to my role," said Monikangana.
Working in the film has introduced Monikangana to some of her personality traits that she wasn't aware of. "I wasn't aware of the fact that I was such an emotional person and so hypersensitive. I didn't realise these things until I played Estella. It has opened a completely new life for me."
But she regrets sacrificing several modelling assignments for the film. As a model she would only be seen in lingerie brand Victoria's Secret show.
"It's a lot of sacrifice. I haven't done any modelling assignment in the last two years. I have left everything for this movie, literally. I am going on a different direction all together. I don't think I will be seen in any other show except Victoria's Secret now," said Dutta.
"I am the first Indian to be one among the six Victoria's Secret angels," she added.
(Dibyojyoti Baksi can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)