No one talks the way Nargis Fakhri does. Her observations are unique, her candour refreshing. Fashion Central India comes away mind blown.
She says it like it is. Her viewpoint may be quirky. But there’s no pretence, no playing to the gallery. No need to please the critics. In that sense she isn’t like other tinseltown denizens. Nargis Fakhri may be floundering at showbiz right now. But worry not. She’s confident she’ll find her bearings. She’s started taking baby steps and they will take her far. Yes, she feels curbed by her new movie star lifestyle. The wanderlust has gone missing. A free-spirited woman, stardom has taken a toll. And yet she feels she wants to make it here. More so now than ever. She’s learning the showbiz natter. The fame is tickling her. That she’s being recognised in America, Australia, Russia is a high. More of that please. Finally, she’s beginning to call India her home. She may not still be in sync with Indians. But that’s a story for another day. Right now, bring on the greasepaint. Lights! camera! action!
How’s the industry treating you?
I don’t socialise so I can’t gauge. I don’t know anyone; I mean people are like ‘Oh Nargis is so hot!’ But that means nothing. So I’ve promised myself that I’ll start going out a bit more. I like to hide in my house like a hermit. Last week, I felt that surge of energy. I’m kind of afraid of everyone. Yes people are nice but it’s difficult to connect with them. I’m not so well-versed with films and the who’s who of the industry. So I’m not able to start a conversation about the movies. My conversations are more about life, nutrition, health, fitness and the latest technology. At a filmi party, I don’t think anyone’s interested in new cures for diseases. So that why it’s hard to socialise. I don’t know what to talk about. Also everyone knows everyone, like they were born together. I can’t fit in. No one’s accepting newcomers. Now I’m willing to try. But I’m also finding it silly, trying hard to fit in. I’m one of those girls who don’t need to try so hard. I can’t stand fakeness. It’s the most revolting energy. I’ve felt it from some people and I am like ‘don’t be fake to me’. If you have nothing to say don’t try. But I’m going to be more proactive henceforth.
Do you feel you’re on firmer ground after doing three movies?
Firmer ground? What does that mean? We’re all fickle human beings. You’re in, you’re out, you’re up today and you’re down tomorrow. You don’t know how things change from one day to the next. All this can be rather unsettling. So I’ve got a footing in terms of understanding… no let me put it properly… I have a footing with myself. I want to work, I want to do more work and I want to do it better. When I look at my three films, I have come a long way. The graph is huge. It was a challenge. I had so much fun doing Main Tera Hero, I had a blast. It gave me the desire to work more. Sure I won’t be so lucky to work with cool people all the time. But who knows.
Have you got a foot in the door now?
(Laughs) Maybe a toe! There’s something there in the door, like it hasn’t yet shut. It’s my fault that I’m not pushing enough. I wasn’t as hungry as I should have been. I was laidback because I didn’t know if I really wanted this. I was going with the flow. I’ve realised now I’ll have to put extra effort. I’ve put effort with the Hindi classes, yoga classes… But I have to push more like being social, smiling, sending messages to people. I don’t send messages to people. I do think about people but I don’t send a message. I don’t reply to messages. I have been hiding in a cage for two years now. But I’ll make the effort to make friends, whether it’s guys or girls. I don’t care what the newspapers say any more, whether they’re going to link me with someone or not.
How do you analyze your films? Critics felt you were good in Madras Café but you got rapped for Main Tera Hero.
I did fine in Main Tera Hero. I don’t know what they are talking about, they need to calm down. I truly understand the criticism in Rockstar. I came to this country knowing nothing, no language, no culture, no acting skills, nothing. I was like a newborn thrown into the sea. Yet I did a good job considering the obstacles I had to face and the chances I had to take. It may not have been up to the mark for critics but it was great for me. Of course, I’m good in Madras Café. Because I f^%&ing understand what my co-star is saying. If you don’t understand what someone is saying how the hell are you going to respond? Everything sounds like blah blah blah. Now when you speak Hindi to me and I respond in English it’s a huge growth. Now, I understand the language. In Main Tera Hero, yes maybe people have criticised me, I spoke Hindi and sounded okay.
I dubbed for myself. It was tough but I did it. I’ll get better with every film. Hopefully, one day the Hindi and the acting will meld together. And I’ll be like, yay!
How do you take criticism?
I look at how Katrina Kaif has built it. Yes it took her a long time, but she has done it. She’s an inspiration. I don’t know how she did it, what her traumas were. But if she can do it, I sure as hell can. Katrina has a heart for it, she is focussed and speaks Hindi well. It’s been 15 years. So come on, I don’t even stay here, cut me some slack. Katrina doesn’t know me; I don’t think she’d want to talk to me about her journey. But as a human being, I’m sure she has gone through what I went through. It must have been tough then because things were different. I’ve heard she had a support system in her family; she had a boyfriend who helped her. All that is none of my business. With help from people you can go far. But no matter what, you have to put effort to get there. I have heard she is a machine when it comes to work.
Do you miss America?
I’m a Libran. I’m trying to find balance. I cannot overload myself with work and not have friends. I need friends, I need social network. I don’t miss America; I miss my friends, I miss my wanderlust, I’ve curbed it because I have to be responsible now and I can’t keep floating around the world forever. I love to travel to random countries and meet people. I miss that.
Doesn’t America spell freedom? You’re a known face here.
I was in New York City visiting my friends and this crazy Indian girl came screaming ‘Nargis Nargis…’ and I was like ‘Hell no! Girl are you crazy’. I went to Australia to visit my friends and there are Indians everywhere… everyone was like Nargis Fakhri, Nargis Fakhri… I was like no ways man! That’s crazy but it’s awesome because I’m not known only in India but all over the world.
I have Russian fans. I was so shocked.
What are the things you find funny about Indians?
The head bobble. You guys shake your heads but it doesn’t make sense to a foreigner, because whether it’s yes, no or maybe you make the same head gesture. Women speak in high pitched voices. Maybe people feel the same about my accent. People are sheltered here with their family. Actually, dating someone from here would be hard because I’ve been independent since I was 12. Family is important. But it’s a bit much here because the family has too much control over you. You don’t get the freedom of living your own life. In America we leave home at 17-18. Another funny thing is every child can dance to every Bollywood song. They come out of the womb dancing to Shah Rukh Khan’s numbers. It’s mind boggling. Every Indian is already prepped at a young age to be a Bollywood star. I have seen kids dancing to Sheila ki jawani (Tees Maar Khan). And they’re doing it better than me.
Do you miss your modelling days?
No I don’t. Because it’s shallow. Acting has more depth and creativity.
Name three actors you find hot.
Arjun Kapoor is hot. There’s a certain manliness about him. He’s a sweetheart. Hrithik Roshan is good-looking. Salman Khan, for his age, looks frigging hot.