Yamaha Fascino Miss Diva 2015 Urvashi Rautela has got the looks to set the big screen on fire. The gorgeous lady who was in Kolkata is doing just that in her latest film, Hate Story IV. In a freewheeling chat she spoke about her tryst with beauty pageants, her foray into films and more. Excerpts:
From beauty pageants to Bollywood films, how was the journey towards fame?
Before I won Miss Diva in 2015, I had won the pageant once before in 2012. Back then it was called Miss Universe India. So, between the two titles I had worked in three films - Singh Saab the Great opposite Sunny Deol, Sanam Re and Great Grand Masti. And I feel really happy for the kind of love I’ve been receiving, especially for my latest release. There was a lot of pressure to perform, as I was carrying the film on my shoulders. Doing a woman-centric film so early on in my career in a male-dominated industry like Bollywood makes me feel proud.
It’s difficult for a girl from a non-film background to make a mark in the industry. Did winning the beauty pageants help or just add to the pressure?
Of course it helped. It gave me the opportunity to work with a lot of good filmmakers. Moreover, I had won two back-to-back international titles — in South Korea and China - before winning beauty pageants in India. So, the first film just fell into my lap. I didn’t have to give any auditions. So yes, beauty pageants do help. As a winner, you’re treated with respect.
What was your family’s reaction on seeing you on the big screen?
They were happy and excited, but they always knew this was going to happen.
Did you tell them you wanted to become an actor?
No, but it was taken for granted after I was offered Parineeti Chopra’s role in Ishaqzaade. I didn’t take it up because I wanted to focus on beauty pageants at that time.
How are you coping with the ways of the industry?
It’s quite challenging and I love that when people appreciate my work, that’s satisfying as an artiste. Also, opportunities to do good dance numbers - be it in films or music videos — is something I enjoy. I’ve done some unusual choreographed steps in my songs so far. And I think I’ve brought something new to the table because I’m trained in more than 11 different dance forms.
Is doing bold films like Hate Story IV a natural choice or are you still waiting for a much-desired Bollywood heroine role?
I’ve been offered big-banner films opposite stars, but I had nothing to do in them. I don’t want to play a prop in a film. I’d rather do a film with meaty role, like in my latest release. Of course, I would want to star in a magnum opus. But everything takes time, you know. It took Deepika Padukone 11 years to reach where she is today. My career is at its initial stage, so I should try to do as many different roles as possible. Also, big-budget films or period dramas revolving around the leading lady are not made that often. I want a good balance in my choice of films. My character in my latest release is a supermodel and a strong woman. I felt it was tailor-made for me. I also got to do a little bit of action in the film.
Since objectification of women is an issue we’re constantly fighting against, do you think bold and glamorous female roles add fuel to the fire?
I think for an actor, variety is the spice of life. They should do all kinds of roles, so I don’t believe in limiting myself. I don’t think one has to keep doing de-glam roles to create a desirable impact. Take, for instance, Vidya Balan in Dirty Picture or Priyanka Chopra in Fashion. These were roles that made a mark and even won awards. So, I’d say it’s a wrong perception.
What would you tell your Kolkata audience about your films?
I love my Kolkata audience. Whatever I’ve achieved so far is because of them. I’d want all of them to watch my films and share their views on my social media handles. My latest film is from a franchise that started with Bengali actress Paoli. So, there’s an obvious Kolkata connect.