Gul Panag is getting excited as the launch date for Hello approaches. “I play the character of Priyanka who is a very glamorous and a modern girl of today,” she says, “She is someone who is very attractive and is completely aware of her power over the opposite sex…She has to make the choice of marrying a well-settled NRI in an arranged marriage or marrying someone like Sharman who is the person she’s been dating for quite some time but doesn’t see any future in. This is a choice which today so many urban Indian women have to make.”
Gul has appeared in good movies such as Dhoop, Dor and the underrated Manorama Six Feet Under. She will also soon be seen in Hello Darling. She’s a former Miss India, a Maths graduate and has a Masters in Political Science – so she’s well up there with the Bollywood beauty-and-brains brigade that includes actresses like Lara Dutta and Soha Ali Khan.
She’s currently very angry with the censor for bleeping out a reference to ‘condom’ in the movie Hello – this is at a time when India is supposed to be working hard to prevent the Aids epidemic from getting out of control within the country. “I think that’s very ridiculous. It’s a very simple question I ask Sharman before we go into this lovemaking scene, ‘Do you have a condom?’ And that’s the word ‘condom’ which the censor board is going to beep out. This is when the NACO, which is the National Aids Control Organisation, runs adverts all over the country for prevention and awareness of aids. We have ringtones that are being released by the public health department, which go like ‘Condom condom condom…’ But when such a word is used within a film the censors have a problem.”