Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Mumbai
Salman Khan somehow manages to seek out women who look like his girlfriends. After discovering Ash-lookalike Sneha Ullal and casting her in Lucky, his upcoming film Veer features Zarine Khan, who looks very similar to Katrina Kaif.
Zarine, like Sneha, maintains that her similar looks are just a coincidence. She does not think she looks like Katrina, even though she's used to people telling her so.
The Mumbai-based girl chats with Syed Firdaus Ashraf, and tells him about her journey to Veer. Excerpts:
Your resemblance to Katrina is astonishing.
Katrina is very beautiful. I take it as a compliment to be compared to her. But we're different individuals. When I look into the mirror, I see Zarine Khan, not Katrina Kaif. I look like my mother.
As far as Katrina is concerned, she has made her mark in the industry and I am yet to make mine.
'In school, I used to weigh 100 kilos'
Do people tell you that you look like Katrina?
In school, I used to weigh 100 kilos. It was only when I became a model that I lost 40 kilos. That's when the comparisons began.
But I always thought people were trying to flatter me. Believe me, I never felt that way. I always felt Katrina was very beautiful, as compared to me.
Did Salman ever tell you that you resemble Katrina?
Do you feel that your looks may work against you? Sneha Ullal, with her face resembling Ash, does not have a film career to speak of.
I don't think so. If I work hard, I will get there. My destiny has brought me here. God will take care of me.
Besides, Katrina and I are not identical twins.
When I met Katrina, she was very sweet to me. She never said I looked like her. She would advise me on my makeup and photoshoots. I had heard actresses are snobbish but she was very sweet.
'I was a small-time model; struggling to find work'
Tell us about yourself.
I was a small-time model; struggling to find work. One day I got a call from Subhash Ghai's office, telling me to meet him on the sets of Yuvvraaj, starring Salman and Katrina.
When you get a call from such a big production house, you don't ask questions. You just pack your bags and run to the sets.
I met Salman. I've always been a fan since childhood, and spoke to him like one. He asked me certain questions. Before leaving, I asked him for an autograph, to which he said: 'Sweetheart, you will be signing autographs for the world.'
I wondered why he said that. Later, I came to know that I was selected for Veer.
'My life is like Urmila Matondkar's in Rangeela'
What was Salman like? Was he like the bad boy the media likes to portray him as?
He may be a bad boy for some people but he's really an honest person. People blow things out of proportion. He has a heart of gold. He is emotional and sensitive. If you are in trouble, he will be there to help you. His life is like an open book.
Do you have a filmi background?
No. I'm the first from my family to enter Bollywood.
I live with my mother and younger sister. My father does not stay with us. I had to support my family and that's why I took up modelling. Actually, I wanted to become a doctor but I had to give up my studies. I could not complete my education. Today, if you're not educated, you can't get a good job. But God gave me looks, so he's taking care of me.
I feel my life is like Urmila Matondkar's in Rangeela. It was my destiny to be a part of the film world.
Did you take any acting training?
Whatever training I got was from (Veer director) Anil Sharma. Salman, Jackie Shroff and Mithun helped me too.
'Veer is like a dream come true'
Tell us about your role in Veer.
Veer is like a dream come true. The story is written by Salman, and I'm more than happy to be a part of it.
I play Princess Yashodra, who is in love with a Pindhari soldier, played by Salman.
I took dancing lessons for my role. I saw a lot of movies to get the body language and look right. I went through a lot of books and noticed that the queens and princesses of those times were never thin -- they were quite plump. So I had to put on 10 kilos for the role. It was like a feast for me.
When you got the role, did you ever ask Salman what made him select you?
As far as I know, they wanted a fresh face. I have two looks in the film -- one western and the other, Indian. They were probably not getting the right kind of girl, so they settled for me.
Did you think a period film is a good launch?
I don't know. I have no experience in the film industry. I will know the answer after Veer releases.