Remember Puja Gupta? Yes, the same gal who won the Miss India – Universe title four years ago. She has just made her acting debut with F.A.L.T.U. and is quite excited about her Bollywood career. The model-turned-actress firmly believes that it is fate that got her her first role. “I had been auditioning for various roles, but none of them worked out. Then one night, I attended a party where Jack (Jackky Bhagnani) was there too. He saw me and recommended me to Remo (D’Souza, director).” She recalls, “Apparently, they had been auditioning girls for the past five to six months and hadn’t found anyone yet. “I had no idea about their auditions. So anyway, they called me and after five rounds of auditions, I bagged the role.”
And no wonder, since the character and Puja share a lot of common traits. “The character is very similar to me. She is a bindaas girl who follows her heart. I too did that. I had been accepted to New York University when the Miss India organisers called me. I gave up the chance to study psychology in NYU and pursued my dream of being Miss India.” It didn’t go down very well with her mother. “I am from a totally non filmy background. My mom’s a doctor and she wanted me to take up psychology. She wasn’t very happy that I don’t enjoy medical studies. My siblings supported me. Mom then gave me a year to prove myself. And I did. I won Miss India. Now she is happy that I am happy.”
Even though Puja did have her Miss India-Universe 2007 title as a stepping stone, she had to work really hard to enter the film industry. “It is very difficult to make it when you come from a non-industry background, but everything is difficult in life. I was new to Mumbai too so it was doubly hard. But I really believe that if you work hard then nothing is difficult.”
For someone who loves to act, Puja isn’t very happy seeing herself on screen. And she has no qualms admitting it either. “I don’t like myself on screen. I only see the flaws. I think I really need to improve my acting skills. I haven’t even seen F.A.L.T.U.,yet, because I am too scared about what I would think when I see myself. If I am not happy, I don’t think I can handle it.”
Compared to other actresses, Puja does have a disadvantage – her age is public knowledge. It was revealed when she was a part of the Miss India contest, so there’s no way she can now claim to be any younger than her 25 years. That does not worry her, though. “The industry is changing. So long as you look good, keep fit and take care of yourself, it doesn’t matter. I am still a young girl. And as for the future, well, I prefer to live in the present.”
Ask whether she prefers modelling or acting and Puja is very clear. “Modelling just happened. After Miss India, I got a lot of opportunities, but I had to choose carefully. I’ve always wanted to be an actress. You can live a hundred dreams through acting.”
Her role model is the very beautiful Sridevi and she hopes to meet her soon. “I saw her at Anil Kapoor’s birthday party but it was a private event and I didn’t want to go up to her and make her feel uncomfortable. She is still so gorgeous and the way she carries herself, it’s beautiful. I hope she reads this and knows how huge a fan I am and meets me one day,” she grins.