Shyam Benegal’s latest film, Well Done Abba, which released today (March 26), has glam actress Minissha Lamba shed all the fashion accessories to get into the role of a village girl. In a conversation with KoiMoi, Minissha talks of the father-daughter-like relationship she and Boman Irani shared on the sets of the film, and why she would do any sort of roles in Bollywood as long as they entertain the audience.
You’ve never played a village girl before WELL DONE ABBA.
That’s true. In fact, I have never been to a village in real life either. But then, my character in the film, Muskaan Ali, is unlike the stereotypical village girl that you see in films. She’s educated and has a tongue as sharp as her mind.
How was it working with Shyam Benegal?
I used to be both, very nervous and excited at the same time. But then Shyam Sir told me to take it easy. Kudos to him for coming up with such a brilliantly funny story and for giving me a part in it; working in this film has given me a different high.
We’ve heard that you did a quite a bit of research for the role of Muskaan Ali.
Yes. Among other things, Shyam Sir felt, I was too fair for the character, so I had to sit out in the sun for quite some days! I also learnt quite a bit of Urdu and the Dakini dialect from Shabana Azmi’s mother, Shaukat Azmi, who was kind enough to help out.
Boman Irani, who plays your father in the film, is a fun guy to work with…
Boman was fantastic. We made it a point to call each other by our screen names, Muskaan and Abba, and even treated each other like that on the sets. In the film, however, we are more like friends… he is illiterate and has to come to me to get something read, which is when I get to reprimand him!
Do you get married off in the film?
Muskaan is just 17-18 years old when Abba comes down from Bombay to get her married off. After a while, he gets embroiled in a fiasco so huge that his plans for me take a backseat.
Are you happy with the film?
Definitely! Before this film, I didn’t associate comedy with Shyam Benegal. When I first read the script, I laughed my heart out for a couple days, reading it over and over. The film talks about serious issues but in a humorous way. The audience will take away so many things from the film; my hope is that they will leave the theatre with a belly ache from laughing.
After WELL DONE ABBA, what kind of roles are you looking forward to doing?
I want to do a variety of roles, even if I am in the film for just three scenes. I don’t have a problem with any genre of films. I have realised that I am an entertainer and as long as I do that, I am happy. You never know what sort of work you might land up with.
You’ve made a place for yourself in this highly competitive industry at a very young age. How does it feel?
It’s an amazing place to be in. You have the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in the film industry. Films make you believe you are someone, which you are really not.