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December 4, 2001
Amisha Patel is pacing up and down in a posh hotel lobby, cell phone clutched in hand.
The phone rings suddenly, startling the actress.
She speaks in an urgent tone.
Cut, calls out director David Dhawan.
This, readers, is the scene being scanned for Dhawan's latest entertainer Yeh Hai Jalwa. The film also stars David's other favourite (first being Govinda), Salman Khan.
Coming back to the leading lady of the film, Amisha -- clad in a short, midriff-showing top and blue pants -- is attracting admiring gazes from the guests in the hotel.
A bunch of giggling teenagers approach her, while she chit-chats on her cellular phone inbetween shots. They are anxious, as they wait for the actress to finish her call.
Seeing her fans wait, Amisha puts the caller on hold and signs autographs before resuming her conversation.
Needless to say, the fans are amazed by the consideration shown to them.
Sinking into the sofa while the clutter in the lobby is cleared, both of us sip from tall glasses of iced tea.
Smiling warmly, Amisha talks about her fans and career.
"When I see my fans waiting endlessly for me during shooting, I try to accommodate them as much as I can. There are times when I have felt guilty about signing an autograph. It's not that I'm not worthy yet. It's just that I'm at the start of a long journey. It overwhelms me quite a lot. I have enjoyed doing the films that have released and also the ones, which will soon release."
Though she is not looking to cast herself in any particular image presently, "I want to do good roles with good filmmakers who can tap my potential. I want a versatile image. People should love me and want to see me on screen. And get respectability - there's nothing else I am looking for. I am going with the flow."
Wisely enough, Amisha hasn't allowed success go to her head.
"I think have handled my success sensibly. I think what we have today will go tomorrow and I feel I have achieved nothing yet. I have miles to go." A la Robert Frost.
The successful actress is eagerly looking forward to the release of Yeh Hai Jalwa.
"It is my attempt at slapstick comedy. I did have portions of comedy in my previous films like Kaho Naa...Pyar Hai, Gadar and Yeh Zindagi Ka Safar, but you know how David's films are. They are roaring with laughter and fun. Plus, Salman has been a good co-star."
David's assistant comes up and reminds her that they have shifted the entourage to the fifth floor where they will shoot rest of the scenes. Amisha gets up promptly and follows him.
The shot takes some time to be readied so Amisha goes through her scene and dialogues again.
Someone is playing a prank on her by calling her to the hotel suite. She wants to get hold of the concerned person, therefore she agress to play along.
Shot is ready. Amisha is beckoned.
Once again, she grasps her cell phone and keeps a keen eye on both sides of the corridor whilst keeping the conversation going.
She is guided through a maze of corridors while the steady camera captures the movements. Finally she reaches a door.
Cut. Shot is fine.
However, David needs another take. This time around a porter is added to the scene.
Also, Amisha has to look embarrassed and surprised. So the scene is elongated. She does the whole scene without further ado.
After the scene is done, a pleased David gets a huge smile and hug from a relieved Amisha.
India News Feature Service
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