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Interview with Lisa Ray by Jeevi

Date: 14th December 2001 Venue: Saradhi Studios
Other Interviews
Sravanthi Ravi Kishore (Producer)
RP Patnaik (Music Director)
Smita (Telugu pop singer)
Shyam (Producer)
Karunakaran (Director)
Sri (Music Director)
Gudipoodi Srihari(Film Critic)
SJ Surya(Director)
AM Ratnam(Producer)
Tammareddy Bharadwaja(Producer n Director)
Jayant C Paranji(Director)
Kodi Rama Krishna(Director)
Chakri (JD Chakravarthy)(Hero)
Ramana Gogula(Music Director)
Naga Babu(Producer n Actor)


When the Sumant (executive producer of Takkari Donga) introduced to Lisa Ray and requested her to grant an interview, she was pleased. At the same time she showed her vigilance by telling that she would not mind giving interview as long as we don't ask her the age and vital statistics. Here are the excerpts of the Jeevi's interview with the sensible and eloquent Lisa Ray that happened during the shot break of Takkari Donga song shoot at Saradhi Studios.

Listen to the voice of Lisa Ray by clicking on the following links

You possess exotic looks. What is the secret behind them? Tell us about your background

My father is a Bengali and my mother is a polish. I was born and brought up in Canada. But, I have been based in Mumbai permanently for the past four years. But it's been ten years I have been working in Mumbai. I used to work in Mumbai and fly back to Canada. Finally I have taken my decision to base myself in India.

What is your educational background?

I completed my high schooling in Canada. In between, I have taken some creative writing courses at the University of Toronto. I have also worked with a lawyer and a ghostwriter in Canada. I am not formally educated, but am passionate about reading and writing. On the sets as well, I had lot of time to educated myself and read up a lot.

How did you get into movies?

I have been modeling for a long time. I have also done few things on Television. It's not been an inevitable step to enter the films for me. But, I have been getting films offers since I entered modeling industry 10 years ago. I was not too sure about entering films for a long time for many different reasons. I was not even based in India at that time. It did not make sense to make a very large commitment like movies. I had not grown up watching Hindi films or Indian films. So it was not of my sensibility. So, I was hesitant for many years. I told no to lot of so-called-prestigious-offers. I am glad that I waited for so long to get to that maturity level of doing films. It takes time to understand how to conduct yourself in movies. A year ago, I accepted the Hindi film Kasoor. The reason why I accepted is that it's not a typical masala film. It suited my sensibilities. I portrayed a character, which is fairly strong.

And then I agreed to do Jayant's film with Mahesh Babu. I was very intrigued because Jayant is a wonderful person. You need to really know him personally to understand how wonderful Jayant is. He is a great director to work with. He worked very hard on his actors. But, he also gives lot of room to improvise and innovate. And again his sensibility was the one I could relate to. We get along very well. The storyline and the concept of 'Takkari Donga' was the one that intrigued me. It's been a real ball. I am happy that I have agreed this film. I am also happy with my character as well because, she is more of a mischievous girl. There are lots of comedy streaks with my character in the film.

I have completed my film with Deepa Mehta. We shot it in Toronto for about two months. That was also another fabulous experience. I am also very excited about that. I am happy that I am doing films with the directors of sensibility. I am not doing films for the reasons I think lots of people would do, because I have seen enough of glamour and fame. I want to learn from the people with whom I am working with and enjoy doing work with. Otherwise, I am not interested. Of course, the sensibility is very important.

My future-projects are all mainly are English language films with offbeat variety.

Takkri Donga is a hero-based subject. Do you have an important role that can make a mark in the minds of moviegoers?

I have full confidence in Jayant's skill as a director and his vision as a director. Though Mahesh Babu had a very important and central role, still there is lot of scope for the other characters and there is a scope to make an impact as well. That's why I was really insistent on the character, which I am doing now. I have to tell a story that has happened. Initially when Jayant approached me, he offered me the other role of the other girl. Even though that role was very interesting, I told him that I wanted to play more comedic and bubbly character, because I have not had the opportunity to do such kind of character in the past. So I had persuaded Jayant to offer me the role I am doing now. I am very happy.

In cinematic language, they refer girls as 'first heroine', 'second heroine' etc. What heroine role you are playing?

I don't know. I don't really buy all that. Genuinely, I don't. But, as I told you my sensibility and my grammar is not typically masala kind.

How is it like working with Mr. Mahesh Babu?

I was really pleasantly surprised with him. I think he is really very talented. I had the opportunity to work with him for almost a year during the making of this film. I really admire his acting style, which is underplayed which is again that I really appreciate. He is a very talented dancer. I think he is got all the qualities, which are required to be very successful in Indian cinema and beyond as well. I think he needs to stretch himself to other types of cinema whenever he gets an opportunity. He is also really a nice human being. He was quite and reserved initially. But, when you spend so much of time on the sets, then one would tend to break that quietness. I had lot of fun. Both Jayant and Mahesh has been super supportive. Telugu is the language that I don't speak and that has been a stumbling block for me. Mahesh, in particular, has been very supportive in terms of languages and dance sequences. And I think he has got a great sense of humor, which I don't know if many people have seen that side of him. But I am sure, they would love to because, he has got a real wicked sense of humor.

How is it like running around trees in Takkari Donga?

That's also is a challenge. That is also a lot of fun. This film is been a really good experience. The whole dancing is been a hard work as well. I think, dance is lot more demanding in Telugu films compared to Hindi films. The songs in this film are very catchy. The beat is great. It required very fast coordination and hard work, which I was struggling to do. I have to tell you that I had a few dance sequences in Deepa film as well. But I could able to do them very fast, as I had enough practice with Takkari Donga dances.

Do you have any more Telugu films coming up?

No. I don't right now. I have been struggling to finish all my commitments in this year. I would like to finish all my work commitments before beginning the New Year.

How does the web site name idlebrain sound to you?

Idlebrain! I think it sounds like a complete computer nerd's fantasy come true. I think it's a really good name for a web site. I think it's really catchy. And it's a kind of techno as well. I will definitely look up for the site, because the name will remain in my mind now. I wont have trouble finding it now.

How frequently you visit Internet?

Very frequently! I try to log on to Internet on daily basis to check my mails. That's how I keep in touch with my friends all over the world. When I get a chance, I enjoy surfing net two or three times a day.

What's your favorite pastime?

I typically enjoy lots of things. I love reading. I read even when I am working at the sets. I didn't get free time in the recent months. I am not just doing films. I am also doing a number of other things as well. Now, my free time is almost zero. I am looking forward to get a nice vacation in the next few weeks. When on vacation, I enjoy going to Goa, Kerala or some sort of very secluded and peaceful place. I enjoy spending time alone.

What's your future plans when you stop acting in films.

I enjoy writing. Writing is the one thing I definitely explore in the future. I don't know in what capacity right now. But it will be definitely be a part of my future.

Do you have any published articles?

Yes I have published articles in Times of India, Indian Express and Cosmopolitan. I also would like to explore more creative formats like short stories.

Do you have any plans of directing a film?

I have been very inspired and am very lucky with all of my directors I worked with so far. I can only aspire to be having that much of focus and vision of what Jayant of Deepa Mehta had. They are very inspirational figures. The fact is also intimidating that they are so accomplished that you realize that even if you want to begin directing films, you have a long way to go. You have to train a great deal. But, I would not rule that out as well in the future. When I direct film, it would be close to my own sensibilities.

But I think the one area that I would like to explore is the satirical comedy. I have seen a film recently called 'Bollywood Calling', directed by Nagesh Kukunoor who is also from Hyderabad. I really enjoy watching that film a lot though it had low production values and no razzle-dazzle of Hindi cinema. But the script was great and the performances were great. Its really funny film and people want to laugh. And they entertain comedy as well. I think slapstick comedy is the ongoing phenomenon in India. I would like to deal with slapstick comedies in anyway that I could.

Do you take any precautions to maintain your health and fitness?

For the last one year, I have not taken any precautions. I really had been working almost every single day. To be frank, it has taken a bit of toll on my health. It's very important to have a bit of time to oneself to unwind, to meditate and to be on one own. It's a stressful profession as you deal with lot of people all the time. So, that's very important to me both mentally and health wise. I have to get back to the gym. That's also one of my ambitions. I enjoy working out. But my schedules and traveling have been very crazy. I enjoy walking. If all that times, I go for a nice long walk. And I find that combined unwinding mentally with also some physical exercise.

What kind of food you prefer eating?

I like all kinds of foods. I like exotic cuisine. I like to sample food from all over the world. I like Indian food. But, strangely when I leave India I crave for the Indian food most. When I am India, I tend to favor Italian, Thai or Chinese food. But I am very passionate about food. I love eating. I had to curb myself. If I didn't, I would have put in lot of weight. I enjoy the whole ritual of eating out with friends. I go out with my friends to restaurants in the night. That is the favorite thing I do.

Do you have any words for the visitors of

Words for the visitors! That's a hard one. To the techno geeks! Right? And it's mainly for the Telugu movie buffs.

Please come and see my film 'Takkari donga'. We had really put in a lot of hard work. And I guarantee that 'Takkari Donga' would be a visual delight. We have shot extensively in some beautiful locations. Every one of us performed very well, Mahesh in particular. Direction of this film is fantastic. You got a great package and a great incentive to come and see 'Takkari Donga'. And of course, its my first Telugu film. So, please come and see 'Takkari Donga'.

Do you have any web site?

I don't have any official web site. But there are lots of web sites on me floating around, which are created by fans.

Can you give out your email address to visitors?

I would love to get emails from them. I can give you my real email address. You can create a forwarding account at and let the visitors email me. I will respond to all my mails. Keep writing mails to [email protected]

Visit ...... the official web site of 'Takkari Donga'

Interviewed by Jeevi
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