ACTRESS GEETA Basra, who has done two films so far, Dil Diya Hai and The Train, originally hails from Portsmouth on the south coast of England and grew up in London.
“I’m invariably asked why I chose Bollywood rather than the British film industry,” she told City Times in an exclusive interview recently in Dubai, her first visit to the city. She came here as an invited guest for the launch programme of Santorini, an exclusive Greek themed lifestyle resort on Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah.
“I opted for Bollywood because I always had a passion for Hindi films. I simply love Hindi movies.”
She actually got her first break when she was not in Bombay. She had gone back to London, leaving her photos with her manager who showed them to Aditya Datt, Director of Dil Diya Hai. “He liked the photos and called me for an audition and I was selected,” she said.
What prompted her decision to be an actor, she said, was her absolute idol and role model: Madhuri Dixit. “I’m a huge fan of Madhuri Dixit. As a child I used to love watching her movies,” she pointed out. “I think she had the complete package: beauty, talent, dancing... everything. She has been my biggest inspiration to be where I am. It’s a great privilege for me to be a part of the same industry that she has been.”
The dusky beauty had acted on stage as a child and has been dancing all her life. She also used to love singing and took up classical singing to enter in the Sa Re Ga Ma singing programme in London but later stopped. “I guess I’m just a bathroom singer now,” she joked.
The actress believes that acting is inside you. “You may sharpen your talent, brush it up, make it better but acting has to come from within you. And with each role, I’m learning more and more.”
She has done some intense love scenes in The Train with her co-star Emraan Hashmi, giving the impression that she is ready to bare all. The film itself centres around the controversial issue of an extramarital affair.
When asked whether it was a wise move on her part to do such scenes at the beginning of her career, as that would typecast her as a raunchy girl, the actress said, “I don’t think there is a danger of being typecasted. Even Madhuri Dixit did some hot scenes at the start of her career and it never harmed her.”
But she conceded that she later realised it was a mistake on her part. “I’m now going to be more selective about what scenes I shoot and what I don’t,” she said. This was apparent even during the filming of The Train when Geeta Basra and Raksha Mistry, the film’s director, traded minor punches over the issue.
In a report, Mistry alleged that Geeta was “unprofessional” on the sets of The Train in Bangkok, claiming that she went shopping on a crucial day when they had to rehearse for an important scene.
In response, Geeta Basra claimed that she was being labelled “unprofessional”
because she refused to do extra intimate scenes with her co-star Emraan. She had already shot some scenes with Emraan which were part of the original script. Apparently, she said the director wanted to add sex appeal to the film and asked her to do more of such scenes.
“So I already showed that I am not willing to go beyond a particular limit in exposure and intimate scenes,” she said.