Disha Patani on prepping for Malang, reuniting with Salman Khan for Radhe, and 'finding her voice irritating on camera'
Disha Patani says with Malang, it will be the first time she will play a character who is not a 'small-town girl'
Disha Patani, one of the most sought after actresses whose career graph has seen a sharp upward trend in a short span of time, is gearing up for the release of romantic action thriller Malang helmed by Mohit Suri. She will be seen in the role of a “free-spirited, wild-soul who lives life on her own terms”. Like Suri, who felt that Disha suited this role the best, the actress too feels close to her character. “I am also a very independent person though not so carefree. I am still exploring myself as to who I am. I’m very excited about Malang. I haven’t watched the film yet but I am quite eager to do so," says Disha.
Disha hit a hat-trick of Rs 100 crore with her last release, Salman Khan-starrer Bharat. Her debut film, MS Dhoni: The Untold Story and her second film Baaghi 2 had also smashed the records at the box-office hitting the numbers with Rs 100 crore collection. With around 30 million followers on Instagram, Disha also enjoys a massive fan following on social media. She constantly treats her fans with stunning clicks from photoshoots, fitness videos and candid moments and there’s often a spree of comments on her pictures. “I don’t know the reason for my popularity but most of my fans are teenagers with many of those struggling in life like how we all struggle in our teenage years,” she says.
Sounding extremely modest as to her attainments, Disha is also quite critical of herself and wonders what could be the reason for her immense popularity. “I got lucky I guess,” she merely says. “People say that I have a good screen presence but I actually don’t like watching myself on screen. I was watching the Malang trailer and I was like s***. I find my voice very irritating. Every time I am on set I feel like a newcomer. I feel I don’t know anything, and that could be probably because I didn’t have formal learning from any institute. I have learnt only through auditions,” she further adds.
Disha, who has been part of the 2017-release action-adventure comedy, Jackie Chan-starrer Kung Fu Yoga, is a huge fan of thriller and action genre and was quite excited undergoing extensive training in water sports, as her character in Malang pulls off several water-based stunts. She prepped and trained in scuba-diving and kite-surfing for almost a week before kicking off her shoot. “Aditya (Roy Kapur, her co-star) and I shot underwater for 12 hours, from 6 pm to 6 am, in the pitch dark. We also had to hold our breath at times. Swimming in a long dress was difficult, all that looks good in shots. The activities were very different and challenging because we had to learn everything in just a day or two, whereas, normally people take years of experience to learn underwater sports. But overall it was a lot of fun for me performing all those stunts because I really like sports,” says Disha.
The film also has a lot of party sequences, including rave parties that probably plays an important role in the film’s plot. “We actually shot for rave parties which is a little different from regular parties. I have never been to such parties and it was a new experience for me. There were actual hippies in the shoot who were partying with us. It was so nice to see different kinds of people from all across the world coming together and bonding. I was really mesmerized. Mohit has seen this life. He also showed me this film, The Blue Lagoon, where these two people get stuck on an island,” says Disha, furthering, “Also, Malang is the first film where I am playing a modern girl. I was earlier seen playing small-town girls, which I actually am. This is the first film where I have been styled well. Mohit presents his heroines differently. He decided the look, hair, make-up. But I don’t necessarily go looking for roles where I am looking good. I go by the script and character specifically. But right now I am aiming to do films that I like to watch,” she says.
Disha’s next is Salman Khan’s 2020 Eid release, Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai, her second film with the superstar after Bharat. During Bharat's promotions, Disha would wonder if she would get to work with Salman again, and the actress is already shooting her second film with him. “I am very fortunate. I feel I don’t belong here and I don’t go out meeting people and yet getting work, getting to do what I like, I am so fortunate for that,” she says.
Probe her further, and she says, “I am a shy person, but not in front of the camera, which is a bit weird. It is just that I feel awkward in social places. After shoots, I like being at home or get busy with practicing gymnastics, dancing, training. Overall I like leading a simple life. Small little things give me joy. I go home after work, I have four pets, two dogs and two cats. I live alone. I don't have too many friends. I rarely go to parties. I attend parties only if I have to. But I don’t go to parties for enjoyment. I am an introvert and I don’t drink. I know this profession demands all this and now I will try my best to become more social.”
But then, how does she deal with constant scrutiny and media attention considering the personality that she is? Isn’t it rattling? “What happens with introverts is they don’t really think so much (laughs). As a kid I was bullied a lot because till my 10th grade I was a tomboy. I used to sport short hair. I was tall, thin, I used to wear skirts. All this made me look a bit awkward. I was bullied with the name Jaadu which I didn’t realise only because I was so much into my own small world,” she says.
After spending four years in the industry with three Rs 100 crore films, Disha feels that the industry has now become more accepting of her. “Getting films is easier now than what it was before when I had just started out. But it takes time to find the right kind of subject. There’s always a challenge while choosing scripts, films and roles. I want to do an out-and-out action film but people’s perception has to change. They should be willing to see a girl fighting. I love Wonder Woman, Hulk, and Avengers. I don’t mind playing a female hulk, a pink hulk. My dream role is to play a superhero,” she concludes.
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