Madhur Bhandarkar’s Calendar Girls is all set to hit the theatres, and we have more than one reason to be excited, as Avani Modi, after her stint down south makes her debut in Bollywood. You wanna know what happened when we got talking to her... don’t you?
FHM: Hey Avani, kem chho?
Avani Modi: Ekdam mast! Pajaama pahen ke majja ma.
Avani is an unusual name. What does it mean?
I know... I get asked about it a lot. It means the planet earth. It’s a combination of my parents’ initials, Alka and Vinod.
Congratulations on your first Bollywood film. How does it feel to be one of the chosen few?
Oh I feel on top of the world! To get selected out of 1,500 girls who auditioned for the role was overwhelming. And to get to work in a film with such a strong storyline and great music... it just feels amazing.
You’ve worked in Tamil movies before this. How big was the transition from there to here?
Honestly, I never transformed myself totally into the south industry. It was a good learning experience for me, but my target was always Bollywood, so I kept my roots here in Bollywood.
Your short film Gulabee fetched you the Royal Reel Award in the Canada International Film Festival. That must have given you a lot of recognition in the Indian film industry...
Well, people did start taking notice of my acting, for sure. I’m thankful for the role I was offered. But to get into the mainstream cinema was a completely different process altogether.
Calendar Girls is very different from the type of movies you’ve worked in so far. How was the experience?
The entire journey of Calendar Girls was amazing. It was a great learning experience for me, in terms of performance,style and also gossip. (Hahaha)
Madhur Bhandarkar’s films are always sort of an eye opener for the society. Did it come as a surprise to you when you were chosen for the role?
I am still in a state of shock. (Laughs) The character that I’m playing is completely different from who I really am. I could never think that someone could ever find me fit for such a role. But yes, Madhur ji saw his Nazneen in me and I’m ready to offer some surprises to the audience now. (Winks) You just need to wait and watch.
Being a Gujju do you have a list of dos and don’ts? Like, do you eat meat, do you drink wine and stuff like that... Don’t worry we won’t share this with anyone, except with our readers.
Lol. Well, I am an open minded girl. I do whatever my heart feels is right. At the same time, I would never do something that I don’t feel like doing even if you bribe me with the choicest of perks. I don’t eat non-veg, not because of my Gujju upbringing, but because I’m against animal killing. It’s an absolutely individual choice. And yes, I drink... ‘cos I don’t think it’s wrong. In fact, I drink like a fish when I’m partying with my best buddies.
What are your hobbies?
I love to read a lot, especially romantic novels. I write poetry and ghazals, and love to watch movies. And of course, like any other girl, shopping is an addiction. (Hahaha)
Whoa! It’s been a long time since we came across someone who writes poetry. Can you sharesomething with us?
I have written this about myself- Khwahishon pe meri bas itna kar tu yakeen, Avani banker hoon main asmaan chhoone chali. Now that you know the meaning of my name, it’ll be easier to understand the meaning- ‘Have enough faith on your dreams and aspirations. I am Avani (Earth), yet my desires are to touch the sky.’
That’s deep! Who inspires you the most while writing these? Do you have a favourite poet?
OMG! I have so many favourites. Ghalib is one of my all time favourites. I love Sahir Ludhiyanvi too. And by the way, inspiration comes from within, so don’t expect to start writing poetry by just reading Ghalib. (Wink)
Damn. Do you drive a car? Any favourites in that category?
Yes I drive, but I’m not crazy about automobiles. My father, on the other hand, loves them. I wish to gift him a BMW someday.
Are you dating someone right now?
Of course, I am. Why would you even think that I’m not! But I do that in my lovely dreams. So, every night I go on a romantic date.
Ya sure. So, how would you propose to a guy, if you had to?
I think my naughty smile is enough to do the job. But if I have to be filmy then I would go to the guy and say, “I don’t want your son to propose to my daughter some day. So, why not make them siblings? Hahahaha... Gawd too filmy, I know!
You bet! What is the sexiest thing about a guy?
His eyes-they should have an amazing spark in them. And then, of course, his intelligence. That’s the most important thing that lasts till the end.
Aren’t you being too smart with us? OK, tell us about your most embarrassing moment.
Really? (Laughs) I had quite a few in my childhood. Once, in school, I thought it was a free dress day and I wore a nice funky dress. But as I entered the class, I realised everyone was in their uniform, but me. They thought it was my birthday and started singing the birthday song for me. It was damn embarrassing! (Laughs)
If one day you woke up as a guy what is the first thing you’d do?
This is interesting. Wait... lemme think. The first thing I’d do is go and shave. Lol. I’ll date the most beautiful girl I know and will try not to go back to sleep again. (Hahaha)
Please teach us some cuss words in Gujarati.
Ghelsappo. It means dumb-ass. Shhh... too much for now.