Zoa Morani forayed into the tinsel town with 'Always Kabhi Kabhi', produced by Shah Rukh Khan's Red Chillies Entertainment. She continued with her passion for theatre and did two highly acclaimed plays- Gulzar's 'Panchhatantra' and 'Taj Mahal Ka Udghatan'. At the same time she also made her presence felt in the world of commercials apart from walking the ramp for renowned fashion designers.
As she is ready to hit the big screen again with her upcoming film, the young girl talks about how she bagged 'Bhaag Johnny', her role in the film, her future plans and more. Read on…
So how did you bag 'Bhaag Johnny'?
Vikram Bhatt called me one day and asked to come for a story he had in mind. It was really different and engaging, it kept me and my mother at the edge all along and was something I had not heard off in recent times. I said yes in an instant. Then he made me meet Shivam Nair, the director. He had a few meetings with me to know whether I suit the character and we started shooting eventually.
Your last film 'Always Kabhi Kabhi' released in 2011. What prompted the gap before your second film?
It wasn't intentional. I just chose to prepare myself better and do films where my character makes sense and a difference to the plot. Honestly, belonging to a filmy family I have seen the effort it takes to make a film and how essential it is to love what you are doing. I took time to settle for the script that would challenge me as an actor and 'Bhaag Johnny' happens to be one of them. Also films aren't the only medium of performance. Theater kept me busy in between. I worked in back to back plays, one of them written by Gulzaar Saab and the medium really changed me as an actor. But now that I am back, I would try that you see more of me in future.
Tell us something more about your character Taniya from the film
Well, she is miles away from Nandini of 'Always Kabhi Kabhi'. Nandini was a school girl. She was brash, naughty and kind of rebellious. She was immature and hadn’t seen much of life. Taniya, on the other hand is much more stable considering she lives on her own in Thailand. However, you don’t see much of her personal self in the film as the story is situational. She happens to be in a situation where she has to trust a stranger who turns up in front of her and that’s how the story moves forward.
How was it working with Kunal Kemmu as a co-actor?
Kunal has been really fun and interesting to work with. He has a remarkable wit which use to keep us on our toes always. He comes with years of experience and the best thing about him lies in his ability to switch moods. One moment he is cracking jokes and laughing at something and the next moment, when the camera is on, he is fully into his character. That is a quality I would like to master as well.
Since you have dabbled both with theatres and films, how are both the mediums different from each other?
As mediums, both are strikingly different. In theatre, everything is larger than life so you need to open up and go all out. The connect with the audience is instant and so is the feedback. Whereas on the set, things are more minimized and tightened. Most importantly, there are no retakes in theatre. You are on stage and whatever you do has to be in one go. That instils a lot of confidence in an actor. But at the end, it’s about performance and calls for the same skill sets.
So you think that you have evolved as an actor?
That’s for the audience to comment on but what I do know for sure is that I am much more confident now about myself, my work and what I portray on screen. Earlier, I use to be intimidated with so many cameras and tend to get nervous but that has died down. I continue to learn a lot from theater with every passing day, the finer nuances of acting and the ability to enjoy the art.
Since you have grown up on a staple diet of cinema, which are your favourite ones?
I have always been a fan of the Khan trinity. I love all of them, even Saif for that matter and have enjoyed watching their films. 'Hum Apke Hain Kaun', 'Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge', 'Dil Toh Pagal Hai', 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai', 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam' and many others. I have seen them all for multiple times.
Do you plan to explore other genres too apart from romance?
If you truly ask me, I would love to a comedy film next. I recently did this comedy play which I thoroughly enjoyed and that’s one genre I definitely want to do more of. But as an actor, as long as the story interests me, I am happy to explore all genres.
Which director features on your wish-list?
That’s never-ending. Every day some name or the other keeps getting added. There are so many notable film-makers in Bollywood and I would love to work with all of them. Not only the popular ones, even the new lot of directors who are making content driven films, I wish to work with them as well.