After Barbara Mori in Kites another foreign beauty is all set to try her luck in Bollywood. Sarah Thompson who plays Ranbir Kapoor's American girlfriend inRaajneeti is brushing up her Hindi skills ahead of moving to Mumbai.
"When I started working on Raajneeti I knew no Hindi. That was okay. I had to play a girl who doesn't know any Hindi and all I had to do was mutter a smattering of bad Hindi."
But now Sarah has got herself a Hindi teacher. "I want to make a career in Bollywood. For that I need to know the language. So I got myself a teacher. Ab mujhe Hindi bolne aati hai."
She gushes, "I love India and love Indian films. Mumbai reminds me of New York. The same energy and bustle and now I want to be part of it."
This is Sarah's third visit to India. "I came the first time to India to shoot in Bhopal for Raajneeti and then I came to dub for the film. Now I'm back for the release, and I'm nervous and anxious, yeah! I want to do more Bollywood films, and yes I am shifting to Mumbai."
This time Sarah has come laden with a wish-list of Bollywood directors she wants to work with. "I want to meet Vishal Bhardwaj and Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra. In fact I am meeting Rakeysh Mehra shortly. I saw Rang De Basanti'and I said to myself, 'Why couldn't I have played the British girl in the film?' I've seen Vishal Bhardwaj's Kaminey twice. He's another Bollywood director I really want to work with."
Sarah admits she had not heard of Prakash Jha when he offered her the role in Raajneeti.
"But when I met him and he narrated the role of Ranbir Kapoor's American girlfriend to me I knew I had to do it. He gave me his Gangaajal and Apaharan to watch. And that's how I was introduced to a totally new facet of Bollywood," she said.
"Before watching Prakashji's films I thought Bollywood meant singing and dancing. Here was a gritty realistic cinema that I certainly wanted to be part of," she added.
The starry-eyed but grounded young actress says she has links with India.
"My parents have visited India many times, not just short touristic sightseeing visits but lengthy exploratory trips. Our home is filled with an aura and souvenirs from India. Me and my two sisters grew up hearing fascinating stories about India," she said.
Sarah says she has her parents blessings in making a career in Bollywood.
"If I do manage to make a career here my parents would be the happiest. Yes I do miss them when I am in India. Hopefully when I shift they'd come and visit me in Mumbai. I love Mumbai, just roaming around places like Colaba Causeway I feel so much at home," Sarah said.
As part of her background research for Raajneeti Sarah read up as much as she could on the internet on Indian politics. She was also made to watch Saawariya by Prakash Jha to understand her co-star's acting style.
And Sarah was hooked!
"Before working with Ranbir I had seen only Saawariya and thought he was outstanding. Then when we reached Bhopal, Katrina and Prakashji took me to watch Wake Up, Sid. And I was like... oh my God!"
"When I met Ranbir the first thing I blurted was how much I liked him in Wake Up, Sid. Then I watched all his films. That's how good I found him."
The American girl in Bollywood just can't stop raving about Ranbir. "Ranbir really took care of me. He made me feel so comfortable. Not for a minute did I feel like an outsider. If I've decided to make a career in Hindi cinema it's because of Ranbir and Prakashji who never let me feel like an outsider," she said.
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