Offcially, Nargis Fakhri made Mumbai her home in January 2012. Which gives this part Pakistani-part Czech, born and brought up in America exactly a year and half to make the city her home.
“Before that, I used to keep travelling between Copenhagen and Mumbai for work,” she tells us. So has she finally managed to settle down? “I always say home is where the heart is. I've adjusted and made my space and things are going well. So I can say I have two homes in a way,” she replies.
But still, there's one thing that bothers her a lot about Mumbai - “the traffic” -- she laughs. The unmistakable American accent, as we speak to her over the phone, is definitely there. But the actress insists that she can understand Hindi much better now.
“When I first came here, it was like asking somebody to learn a whole new language and culture in a month. After Rockstar released, I had the time to take my classes and start learning and educating myself about the industry, the language, the dancing, the culture etc. It's been a long and interesting journey, and now I can definitely say that you cannot talk bad about me because I will understand,” she laughs.
Making her debut with the star of the moment, Ranbir Kapoor would have made things easy, but the critics didn't exactly go gaga over the actress when Rockstar released in 2011. The criticism must have hurt, and the actress admits to it.
“See a human being will always be affected by such things, but what we should do is look at it in a positive way and that's what I did,” she says, “I think I was very open to the criticism. Through that, I was able to understand what I needed to work on. A lot of people didn't know that I didn't know about acting or Hindi cinema at all. I just walked into this blindly and perhaps, a little naïve. With the criticism, I got a chance to analyse how to do things better.”
And for the audience to see if Nargis has grown as an actress or not, a lot depends on her next film Madras Cafe, a political thriller set in Jaffna, that sees her playing the role of Jaya, a war correspondent.
“Becoming Jaya and trying to understand what a journalist like that goes through, I became aware of many different situations all over the world,” she says. It also made her appreciate the real war correspondents out there, who according to Nargis, don’t get enough credit for what they do. She admits she is eagerly waiting to see how the audience will react to her new role. “Rockstar was a romance and then I have this really intense role of Jaya. Next is Shaukeen, which is a comedy and I’m super excited that people are going to see me in such varied roles and see how different I can be in just two years,” she says.
For somebody who's pretty new to Bollywood, she’s already had her share of link-ups too. First it was Ranbir Kapoor, and then the actress was linked with Shahid Kapoor, Uday Chopra as well as Ness Wadia. “For somebody who's never encountered something like this, it can be traumatic and very upsetting initially,” states Nargis, who retains that she’s very much “single”.
But over time, she says she’s realised a few things and made her peace with them. “I sort of understand how it works, that people are curious, newspapers have to sell and things are made into something big. I lead a boring life. I’m glad the media is so excited about my life, making it more exciting that it actually is!” she laughs.
The one thing people don’t know about you?
That I’m really, really funny! (haha)
What are you scared of?
What’s your favourite cuisine? Are you a good cook?
It’s a tie between Indian and Japanese. I love cooking. I definitely cook when I have a day off.
What’s your perfect man like?
There’s no such thing! (laughs) But close to perfect would have to have a good sense of humour, intelligence and a passion for travelling
Are you a good liar?
No, unfortunately not!
What’s the goofiest thing you’ve ever done?
I usually dress up like a guy when I go out shopping, with tomboy clothes and a hat. One time, I was supposed to meet somebody I know and that person couldn’t find me because I was looking like a boy!