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Isha Sharvani
Dancer/actress Isha Sharvani makes her Bollywood debut in Subhash Ghaiís Kisna. Playing a small town girl comes naturally to this 20-year-old who has spent most of her life shuttling between her tranquil home in remote Kerala to cities all over the world, as she performs with her mother Daksha Shethís dance troupe. On screen she makes a stunning first impression, and in person she is a livewire, enthusiastic and passionate about her art and life. The Record brings you an exclusive conversation.

The Record: How did you come to star in the movie Kisna?
Isha: I got an email from Mukta Arts saying that they had been searching for a choreographer who did a completely different style of dance and they had heard about me and realised that we lived in Kerala so whenever we came to Bombay if we could meet up with them. So two weeks later I met Mr. Ghai in his office and the next thing I know Mr. Ghai is in Kerala with my family and Iím signing Kisna in my lounge room!

TR: Were you prepared for it?
Isha: Absolutely unprepared! I had no clue, I didnít realise what a big deal it was, it is sinking in now. And I donít even think itís fully sunk in now.

TR: Was it important to you that the element of dance was a part of the character you play in Kisna?
Isha: That was one of the main things that attracted me to the character and it is also I think the reason why Mr. Ghai chose me. Because they did need a dancer and he wanted a dancer who could do much more than the routine filmy type of dance.

TR: How has the experience of being an actress been for you?
Isha: I always knew that I would one day get into theatre and acting which I feel is a natural progression. If I consider myself a performing artist then theatre, dance and music combine to make a complete artist. I am learning to sing as well. I would never perform it because I donít think I have a very good voice but I am passionate about music. When I signed the movie and started it, I came into it with zero expectations, with no preconceived notions, and I have enjoyed the experience so much that I am actually in the process of finding a house in Bombay because Iím really serious and I do want to pursue both dance and acting now. I would love to do stage musicals, a movie musical even, I think there is a lot I can do as a dancer but as an actress there is so much more to do also. Even in terms of theatre, weíre working on our new production which is a complete theatre based extremely physical dance but with text and things. You use the two together and there is so much potential. It really excites me.

TR: How was it working with Subhash Ghai?
Isha: You grow up watching his movies and admiring his work and after working with him I admire him as a person. He sees the whole movie in his head! From lighting, music, acting, to even a small bindi on your forehead, he supervises it all. I had heard before I signed the movie that he was a true showman, and now I know what theyíre talking about.

TR: And what about your co-star Vivek Oberoi?
Isha: I had heard that he was a prankster and I should watch out but on our set everyone was so tired by the end of the day, and because Mr. Ghai is such a senior director, everyone was very well behaved on the set.

TR: Any interesting incidents while shooting that you can tell us about?
Isha: Obviously there is that famous horse incident where Vivek broke his hand. For some reason there were rumours that he saved my life but it didnít quite happen like that but he was really lucky, he could have broken his leg which already had an iron rod in it. It could have been a really serious accident. Actually even after he fell we sent the horse guy to get a car because Vivek couldnít walk because he was really hurt. Antonia, the English actress was in complete shock, she didnít know what to do, how to handle the situation, you know theyíre not used to Indian madness. We waited for twenty minutes and Vivek actually got up and we started walking. We walked and finally hitched a ride with a military car which dropped us to a military hospital where we got Vivek bandaged and we came back! Imagine if this had been a more serious accident! Mr. Ghai was livid. He said ĎIíve spent 30 crores on this film and my three lead actors are off on horses that canít be controlled.í And I canít horse ride at all so when my horse took off I donít think Iíve been so terrified in quite some time. There was no way I could stop the horse, I didnít know what to do. I donít think Iíll be forgetting it anytime soon.
But I went to Australia and I just came back a month ago and I can horse ride properly now. I learnt. I decided I love horses too much to get scared of riding them, I have to get my act together.


You can read the rest of our exclusive with Isha Sharvani in the January 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.
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Shibani Kashyap
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