has just set her foot in B'Town and she talks like she has been here forever. She finds the concept of doing a film to get another film very strange. According to her doing a film is work in itself and being on set makes her the happiest. She very confidently says, " You don't have control over what happens after, so better enjoy the process of making a film and acting in it". India Forums gets Elena Kazan
to talk in an exclusive interview.
How did films happen to you?
It was completely by co-incidence. I was working in Callcutta in the Indo-German Chamber Of Commerce. Nothing to do with films at all, but I had done some theatre previously. Someone asked me to come to a film set, it was an Australian film. There i met an associate director and he asked me if I would want to do such a film and I said why not. That is how I landed up with my first Bengali film role. The film's name was Clerk. I liked working there and then I thought, why not try for a Hindi film. I moved to Mumbai and started auditioning. I grew up in the US and watched alot of Hindi films and that is how I learned Hindi. I am pretty good with languages. I know French, German, Russian so by watching films I picked up the language easily. I was staying in New York and there were alot of people from Pakistan and India who spoke in Hindi so I gradually learned the language.
Which Hindi films had a great influence on you?
Well, I watched a lot of Hindi films but I never thought that I would be acting in them. I mean i loved the films, the music but never really thought I would be there. I really like Guru Dutt's Pyaasa, Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam. This has some connection with this film as well. When I came to audition for John Day, there was a CD of Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam there on the shelf and I got to know that there is an essence of Meena Kumari's character in my character as well. Mughal-E-Azam, I remember, I loved the songs and the visuals. I have seen a lot of Waheeda Rehman's films. I somehow like black and white films. This is something that I can relate to. I just love Guru Dutt. He has this innocence and the pain. I think Pyaasa is something that exemplifies the world for me.
Tell us about your role in John Day
I play an Iranian woman, Tabassum Habibi who was involved with the underworld, so she has a dark past and has an uncertain future. She's drowned in love and alcohol. There is a lot of sadness in the character but she is not a depressed woman who is wallowing. She is very headstrong, very optimistic. She wants to live and she wants to love. She is a symbol of love and hope.
Do you think that it takes a little longer for a foreign actor to make a mark for herself in Bollywood?
That is normal for any kind of profession I think. If you want to excel at your job, it takes time. A doctor also is not made in 1 year. It only depends on where you want to see yourself. Its not necessary that I want to be a top heroine and I don't even know if its possible. All I want to do is good work and that is happening now. I feel that I have made a place for myself. I even shot for a film called Prague
that is coming out on the 27th September before John Day.
In Prague and John Day you have played a foreign character. Are you ready to play an out-n-out Indian character?
Absolutely. I am finishing a film in which I play a Kashmiri girl. Its called Aasma.
Which actor do you dream to work with in Bollywood?
What do you do when you're not acting?
I love travelling,, meeting new people. Before I moved to Mumbai, I went to Pakistan for a month. I wanted to make a documentary there but its a long process. These days I am growing some vegetables for my rooftop garden. I mean there are so many things to do in this world.