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Irresistible Isha

`Kisna' is here. How does Isha Sharvani feel about her debut in Bollywood?


FOR AN actress whose first film will be premiered on January 11, Isha Sharvani is anything but nervous. Subhash Ghai's new heroine may be from the backwaters of Thiruvananthapuram but she has managed to make bigwigs in Bollywood sit up and take notice of her talent as a dancer and actor.

Her success as a dancer is not surprising as she happens to be the daughter of dancer and choreographer Daksha Seth. Isha is all smiles as she talks about her first film `Kisna' opposite Vivek Oberoi. A.R. Rahman has composed the music for the film that has been scripted by Javed Akhtar.

Clad in jeans and a black top, her girl-next door image is emphasised by her lack of airs. Flopping on a chattai on the floor, she says, "It is ages since I have been home. I have been rushing around from one place to the other and now I am totally confused."

A mixture of Malayalam, Gujarati and English enlivens the conversation. "I was born in Gujarat, lived in Bangalore and Rishi Valley before we settled down in Thiruvananthapuram. I speak in Gujarati with my mother and English with my father," she explains as she settles down between her parents to talk about her life before and after `Kisna.'

It was an e-mail from Mukta Arts that took this petite Libran to Mumbai. "It was perfect timing. We had a programme in Mumbai and Subhash Ghai came down from the U.K.to see the performance." Soon he met her and "I signed for the film here in this house. It was just a few days before my birthday in September last year."

"I was an ardent fan of Vivek Oberoi and had seen both "Company" and "Saathiya". So, I said `yes' when Subhash Ghai asked me if I would be interested in his film."

No audition or screen test was done. "Well, he was looking for a dancer, as Laxmi, the character I play is a village belle who is a dancer," points out Isha.

Unlike Ghai's other heroines, Isha was not asked to change her name to one beginning with `M.' "It is not true that he is superstitious. Since, there are two other Ishas (Isha Koppikar and Esha Deol) in the film industry, I was asked if I wanted to change my name. But since I already had my identity as a dancer, I did not want to change my name," she says. As sure as she was when she decided to drop out of school at the age of 13.

"I am fortune to have parents who are open minded. They have always tried to facilitate things to enable us to achieve what my brother Tau and I are interested in. I wanted to pursue dance and dedicate my time for that. It was not meant to be a hobby or something I did as my mother is a renowned dancer. If I were attending a school, I would not be able to devote all my time to dance. You don't get anywhere if you try to do that."

"My parents felt that I could try it out for a year and if I wanted to go back to school, I could do that. What is a year in the bigger scheme of things?" she asks.

Did she miss the school life, the friends... ?

"Not really. One has to make the choice. You can't have everything," she reasons. This much-sought-after dancer never returned to school.

"Dancing requires you to be fit. Your body has to cope with the wear and tear. I do yoga for three hours every day. If we were shooting at 8 a.m., I would be up at 3 a.m., finish my yoga and be ready for 7 a.m."

She says her brush with the film industry has taught her patience.

"I am used to the hard work. My mother is a perfectionist. Once, we were rehearsing in Mumbai and there were many celebrities in the audience. I was unable to concentrate and kept making a lot of mistakes. Suddenly, in front of everyone my mother slapped me," she says. After that, the long shooting schedules must have been a cakewalk for her. "It was hectic. I first faced the camera for a dance and the next day we shot the climax of the film," she says with a smile.

SARASWATHY NAGARAJAN

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