I always wanted to act, but I was never confident enough," says singer, and now actor, Sunidhi Chauhan, over the phone from New York, as she is currently touring America. We have all heard Chauhan singing ever since she was 13 (her first song was Ladki Deewani Dekho from Shastra in 1996).
Her later hits included Mehboob Mere (Fiza), Dhoom Machaale (Dhoom), Dance Pe Chance (Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi) and Girls Like To Swing (Dil Dhadakne Do). She also appeared as a judge on Indian Idol 5 and 6 and a coach recently for the Indian edition of The Voice (2015).
Chauhan is all set to play the heroine now in the short, Playing Priya, which has been produced by Humaramovie and directed by Arif Ali. "Ali had watched a couple of my shows and knew I could perform. He said I needed to start acting. When he read the script to me, I told him this was the movie I wanted to start my acting career with," says the 32-year-old.
The fantasy thriller is about a bored housewife who finally gets some alone time when her kids go to school and her husband is out of town. But, then something happens that forces her to behave a certain way. "Something happens that makes her react. But, by the time you realise how she plans to deal with it, the movie is already over," she laughs.
The singer, who faced the camera as an actor for the first time with this film, remembers thinking that it would be a cakewalk for her. "It seemed like such a simple movie, and so I thought 'itna toh main kar hi loongi'," she says. But, it was harder than she thought, as most of her scenes featured her alone, and hence, there wasn't much "reacting" but a lot of acting.
A still from Playing Priya
"There isn't much dialogue. I am playing someone who is home alone. I have to pretend as if no one is watching and be myself. That's hard," she says of the short film that was shot in 23 hours.
It would seem like she made a good impression though, even if it was her debut. Ali, who directed Chauhan, says, "She was a complete natural. She has given 20 years to singing. If she concentrates a bit on acting too and gives it a few years, she can be a full-fledged actor; she has a bright future as one." Chauhan, on her part, is ready to take on her next acting gig if a good offer comes by. "It's quite difficult and I had to mentally prepare myself for this one. But, now that I am in the groove, bring it on!" says the singer.