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Picture perfect

The bubbly girl from Mumbai, Gazala is a rare combination of talent and glamour


PRETTY AS a picture, Gazala has that rare quality of combining talent with glamour. Like most Mumbai stars, she too descended on the Telugu film firmament via the modelling way, awaiting her big break. She made her debut with the Jagapathi Babu-starrer, "Naalo Unna Prema" with a screen name Raji. However, she met with success only after reverting to her original name with "Student No.1", a film that took Nandamuri Tarakarama Rao to the top rung. Since then, she has done about half-a-dozen movies including "O Chinadaana" with Srikanth, "Kalusukovalani" with Uday Kiran, Dasari's "Fools", Singeetham Srinivasa Rao's "Vijayam" and the recent "Janaki Weds Sriram" besides a couple of films in Tamil. Her current Telugu assignments include "Rambabugaadi Pellam" and an untitled film with Srikanth for K. Raghavendra Rao.

A brief encounter with the teenage heartthrob who hops between Mumbai and Hyderabad, on the sets of "Rambabugaadi Pellam".

How different is the role in this film from your recent release, as you are playing a village girl once again?

In my recent film, "Janaki Weds Sriram", the village girl is soft in nature. But in "Rambabugaadi Pellam", the girl is bubbly, naughty and tries to impress her bava. The nature and behaviour of these two girls is quite different.

After a signing spree in the first two years of your career in Telugu films, your screen appearances have become rare. Are you choosy now?

Yeah... I have become very choosy. Because I wanted to do good and quality work.

So you are not getting quality work in Telugu films these days?

It is not like that. When I was busy in Telugu films, I was getting offers in Tamil films too. But, at that time, I was not concentrating on that front. Later, I signed a couple of films in Tamil that I found extremely interesting. One of the films, "University", had a very powerful heroine-oriented role. I played a college student as well as a singer who cuts albums for private satellite channels. She meets a deglamourised boy who suffers from inferiority complex and turns violent. She brings in a change in him. My performance was appreciated in the film. The Telugu dubbed version "Priyathama Nuvvekkada" will be releasing shortly. Now I have signed two more films, one with Sibi, veteran actor Satyaraj's son, and another with Jeeva for Super Good films. When the technicians are good, you really love to work with them. In Telugu, I have signed a film with Srikanth for K. Raghavendra Rao.

Are there any offers from Hindi film field?

I haven't tried. When I am getting good work in the South, let me concentrate here. I am being recognised here. People are good and very cooperative. I have been around here for the past two-and-a-half years and I know most technicians and artistes. Maybe in future if a good role is offered, then I can think of Hindi films (smiles).

Have you picked up Telugu?

I can understand up to 80 per cent of the language. I can communicate.

Don't you think that knowing the language helps to perform better and delivering the dialogue yourself will be an added advantage?

If an artiste can understand the language, that is enough. I don't think I need to dub myself. It is not all that important. The main thing is the performance. From my first movie, Sunita is dubbing for me. People say that she manages my lip movement very effectively. If they get a good performer, then it is very easy for them to dub.

What kind of homework goes into your roles?

Frankly speaking, I don't do any homework. I just come to the sets and listen to the director. I believe in spontaneous acting. Of course, I get involved in the character I play. If the entire movie is focused on me where I really have to concentrate a lot on my looks, the way I talk, and continuity from the first frame to the last, then, perhaps, I may have to do some homework. But if it is a bubbly character, the way I am in real life, it is very easy for me. And if it is a very soft role like in "Janaki Weds Sriram", I have to be constantly reminded by my director `Gazala come down from your natural self. Your role is very soft' (laughs).

When did you think of getting into films?

I was never interested in films as a career. I had just completed my plus two in Bhavan's College, Mumbai. I had done my portfolio just for the sake of my cousin who said that I was photogenic. That took me to modelling and I had done modelling for four or five months in Mumbai. Modelling brought me to Telugu films.

Who are your first and worst critics?

My friends in Mumbai are my worst critics. They were shocked when I entered into this industry. They wonder how I manage in a field where I do not know the language. The more they criticise me, the more I become stronger in my resolve to prove myself here.

Do you have any dream role?

I am waiting for something really offbeat and interesting role to come my way. I don't know what it is. I know it will come one day. People should say that `Gazala is different in this movie'.

M.L. NARASIMHAM

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