British actress (of Indian descent) Suhani Gandhi, who has featured in Bollywood films and short films, is currently busy shooting for her upcoming series Fernao Lopes. This series that is set in the 16th century Portuguese colonised Goa, also stars Portuguese-American actor Diogo Morgado. Read on to know snippets of what she said below.
During our exclusive telephonic chat with her, Suhani opened up about the show, her role and prep as well as working with Diogo. She also shared her experience working with Shah Rukh Khan in Jab Harry Met Sejal. The actress is currently with the team shooting Fernao Lopes in Agueda, Portugal as owing to the coronavirus they cannot be in Goa.
Talking about how she was signed to come onboard the series, Suhani Gandhi said, “It’s actually very interesting because I was back in London. It’s been a year I’ve been back in London and I have been exploring the British industry, a little bit away from Bollywood, and because of the coronavirus, I didn’t expect to be back on set so soon. Sometimes I think, in some strange circumstances, somethings magically fall into place.”
She continued, “I have always wanted to do a period drama and an intense romantic film and in Fernao Lopes, I was able to tackle both genres. One day, out of the blue, I got a call from my agent in London saying Hugo Diogo, the director of Fernao Lopes, has seen my work online and they want to meet on Zoom.”
Suhani Gandhi added, “I feel like the project was meant to be for me, and one month later I was in Spain and Portugal shooting for this series, portraying a character I had always dreamt of. The series is based on a true story.”
Talking more about Fernao Lopes, she added, “The story is about a soldier Fernao Lopes (played by Portuguese-American actor Diogo Morgado) and a Goan girl called Adilah Farhani. He comes to conquer Goa and he is heavily affected by the atrocities against the natives. When he meets Adilah, their love story begins. He turns against his own religion and people to side with the Goan locals. However, there were severe consequences for doing it.”
Further adding about her character and prep, Suhani Gandhi added, “My preparation was research into this world, going back to the 16th century. My character knows basic Portuguese, and for me, it was a good challenge as I love learning languages. So I had to push myself to learn the language and pronunciation and everything.”
Talking about her Fernao Lopes co-star, Diogo Morgado, she said that she was aware of his work and wasn’t intimidated by him when the shooting began. “When we met, it just flowed – it was all fun and we had a great time.”
Talking about working with Shah Rukh Khan in JHMS, Suhani Gandhi said, “My first ever experience of being on a Hindi film set was with my favourite director Imtiaz Ali and Shah Rukh Khan. I was 21 at the time, and it had been just six months for me in India. It was a long audition process- first with the Mukesh Chhabra’s casting team and then with Imtiaz Ali himself. That experience of working with SRK was really interesting because it made me realise that no matter how big of a star you are when you are on set, you are in character, it doesn’t feel like your working with a star (their offscreen persona doesn’t make a difference). At that age to get that experience was amazing. If I can work with Shah Rukh Khan I can work with anyone, all the nerves just melted.”
On the professional front, Suhani, Gandhi has appeared in cameo roles in Bollywood films like Jab Harry Met Sejal and Arjun Patiala. She has also featured in the Oscar long-listed short film Aparichit.