It's been almost a year since the release of Delhi Belly, and yet actor Poorna Jagannathan's portrayal of Maneka is fresh in audience's mind
The lady will be seen next in a couple of Hollywood projects, sharing space with the likes of Jane Fonda, Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim Robbins. Known for her bohemian sex appeal, Poorna talks to CS about work, stereotyping in Hollywood and her sartorial sense:
The time of my life
Working with Jane Fonda was the most inspiring thing ever. I have never met someone more engaged with life.
It was four in the morning during an all-night shoot and she kept everyone up and laughing with her stories. Gwyneth (Paltrow) is extremely down to earth – she directed me in her first shot and she’s lovely. All in all, I had a great time.
The stereotypes are symptomatic not only of Bollywood actors in America, but also of how America deals with non white-skinned actors. African-American or Hispanic actors are usually playing cops or drug dealers, while us Indians are playing the over-worked doctor or the over-worked technician.
The scenario is changing for sure – I was in New York last month and auditioned for roles that weren’t open to me five years ago. People love Irrfan Khan and Freida Pinto. They’re trailblazers. In fact, at the very mention of Irrfan Khan’s name, people’s faces light up.
Hollywood vs Bollywood
Any actor who actually knows their craft would fit in in Hollywood. The difference is not in levels of passion, but in how much the script is respected. In the States, the writer is put on a pedestal. Not so much the case in India.
When it comes to Bollywood, there really isn’t a type of film I want to do but there are a bunch of directors I’d love to work with like Vishal Bharadwaj, Anurag Kashyap, Kiran Rao, Anusha Rizvi, Amol Gupte among others.
My style statement
I like to dress comfortably. As far as the bohemian tag is concerned, people have called me a lot of things. Bohemian is one of the nicer labels. I love Sarah Jessica Parker. She wears amazing clothes but never lets them overshadow her. I’m also a big fan of Deepika’s (Padukone) style sense.