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Rediff.com  » Movies » Chatting up Ranbir Kapoor's American girlfriend in Raajneeti

Chatting up Ranbir Kapoor's American girlfriend in Raajneeti

Last updated on: June 3, 2010 11:06 IST

'Working in Raajneeti was like a dream come true for me'

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Srabanti Chakrabarti in Mumbai

Here's a question -- What is common between Mera Naam Joker, Junoon, Lagaan, Rang De Basanti, Kites and Raajneeti?

The last two are actually giveaway clues! In case you still have not got it, the correct answer lies in the foreign actors who have played a significant role in all these movies.

If it was Russian actress Kseniya Ryabinkina in Mera Naam Joker, Shashi Kapoor's Junoon saw British actress Jennifer Kendal, Rachel Shelley was seen in Lagaan, Alice Patten in Rang De Basanti, Barbara Mori and Nicholas Brown in Kites and finally Sarah Thompson in Raajneeti.

Prakash Jha's multi starrer movie will see Sarah Thompson play a key role. rediff.com's Srabanti Chakrabarti caught up with the pretty actress for freewheeling conversation. Excerpts from the meeting.

How did you land up in India?

A year back my manager in LA asked me whether I would be interested in an Indian film. I have always been fascinated about Indian culture and wanted to come to India and work here, so I said yes.

He asked me to meet Prakash Jha immediately in LA. I still remember that we had a long breakfast meeting which went on for three hours! We discussed everything -- right from from Indian politics to American politics, Indian heritage, culture, films our families and almost everything under the sun!

He watched some of my work and then offered the role in Raajneeti. Since I was so fascinated with India, it was almost like a dream come true for me.


Image: Sarah Thompson

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'I love India so much that I don't want to go back'

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Why were you fascinated with India?

My parents lived in South East Asia and used to travel quite a lot to India. Before I was born, they lived in Singapore and during their visits clicked pictures of India. They told me about India and its culture and how warm Indians are.

In fact, we have a huge number of souvenirs from India at home. So, I guess that is how the fondness for this country developed.

So when you came to India, did she match up to your expectations?

Yes of course! In fact, she exceeded my expectations. As I was telling someone the other day -- I loved it here so much that I don't want to go back. I feel like home, despite this being very different from the place where I have lived all this while.


Image: Sarah Thompson with a poster of Raajneeti in the US

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'The hysteria in India is far more than what we see in Hollywood'

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In your opinion, how is the Indian film industry different from Hollywood?

I guess the way films are made is similar. But the passion for movies is more here. In the US, people are crazy for stars, but the hysteria in India is far more than what we see in Hollywood.

As Prakash Jha had told me when I met him first -- Indians are passionate about three things -- cinema, cricket and politics. It is so true!

Prior to Raajneeti, what have been your career highlights?

I have done a number of shows in the US for the last eight years. I have worked in extremely popular shows like Angel and Seventh Heaven. I have also done a film with Richard Gere recently called Brooklyn's Finest.


Image: Sarah Thompson

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'Nana Patekar and I sang together'

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Tell us something about your character in Raajneeti?

I play Sarah, a student from Harvard University. She is Ranbir's American girlfriend. Sarah accompanies him after he is forced to return to India because of his family's political commitments. The story is about how things change after he moves back to India with Sarah.

You have shared screen with Katrina Kaif and Ranbir Kapoor -- one of the most popular and commercially successful faces in India. How was your experience?

Working with Katrina was awesome. We used to chat on how different it is here. I used to give my perception of Hollywood, while she used tell me about the Indian film industry. We really got along well.

About Ranbir, all I can say is from the moment I landed in India, I saw his face everywhere -- commercials, billboards and magazine covers! His heartthrob status was known to me right from day one. He is charming, good looking and who would not want to act with him! I had seen Wake Up Sid before I met him.

I also have some scenes with Nana Patekar. One day he was singing in the car and I also started humming. So he asked me if I can sing, I told him yes and I am a trained singer. We sang together for a long time. He was really very sweet. And, I don't need to tell anyone that he is an incredible actor!


Image: Sarah Thompson

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'Despite this being my third trip to India, I have not seen the Taj Mahal!'

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There are few bold scenes in Raajneeti...

Both Ranbir and I were quite nervous before the scenes. He was continuously checking if everything was alright and that I was comfortable. We talked about it at length and managed those shots professionally.

How was your experience working with Prakash Jha?

He is also an amazing person to work with. I have seen most of his films and am a big fan. I liked Gangajal a lot. I am sure you are aware that he is busy with a lot of charitable work. His passion for films and people is truly admirable.

Back in LA, is politics a good word?

I think so! Expectations are very high from Barack Obama. I think we just need to give him a little time for that. We have to be patient. He can't change everything in one day.

Apart from Bhopal, where else have you been in India?

It has been just Bhopal and Mumbai. It's sad my India trips have been just for work! Everyone back home asked me whether I have seen Taj Mahal. Despite this being my third trip to India, I have not!


Image: Sarah Thompson

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'I want to do another Hindi film'

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Did you like Indian food?

Since my parents are big fans of India, they had warned me about the spicy food available here. But I liked Indian food a lot. My favourites are Shahi Paneer, Chicken Tikki masala, Paneer Tikka and Murgh Malai Tikka. Everyone was surprised to see my knowledge of Indian cuisine!

Any favourite Hindi movies?

Recently I have seen Kites. I liked it. I have also liked Rang De Basanti and Kaminey. I like Vishal Bharadwaj's films a lot. I loved Lagaan too. All Hindi movies release in American multiplexes, so I make it a point to watch them!

Are you taking Hindi lessons?

Ji haan... main Hindi bol sakti hoon! (Yes, I can speak Hindi.) But I really wish I could speak the language more easily. It is always important to know the local language wherever you are. Though one can get away with speaking in English here, it is difficult to participate in jokes and all the fun stuff!

I also want to do another Hindi film. I want to learn Hindi and that is why I am taking lessons from a lovely Indian teacher in LA!


Image: Sarah Thompson

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