Nargis Fakhri: “Banjo has this really beautiful story. It really touched my heart”

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Starring Riteish Deshmukh and Nargis Fakhri, the musical tale Banjo directed by Ravi Jadhav, is set to hit theaters on September 23rd.

First, to set the scene, check out the trailer

The film is even more than the trailer lets us see according to Nargis, who says it is a romance, a drama, an adventure and so much more! The actress talked to Stacey about her character, the heart of Banjo and her thoughts on being an actress in a wonderful, fun, cool and very open conversation. Read on!

Nargis Fakhri BanjoWhat was it that attracted you to this role and this film?
First off, the girl was from New York so I was like ‘Oh Yeah! Hell Yeah!’ That is me right there! It was a combination of things for sure, the character being from New York and being a music student and being a DJ. When I heard the story and heard the part about her experiences in Mumbai because it is her first time there – I was just laughing because I remembered my first time there and all the things that went wrong. The story itself is this really beautiful story. It really touched my heart. I remember coming out of the office and telling my manager please say yes right away because it is so beautiful! You just know sometimes.

How would you describe the story of the film, you know we see the trailer but we only get glimpses we don’t really know the essence of the film…
I think there are so many layers. I don’t really have a summary in my head that I can give everyone. For me, it is two totally different worlds coming together and colliding. There is a combination of love, drama, comedy, adventure. There is so much going on, but it is still real. It is something that I think that we all could identify with or there is going to be something in there that we could identify with. I feel it is a very real adventure. Everyone says it is a musical extravaganza, yeah okay; it is a musical because people are playing music but it is more. It has depth. It has layers. It has so many things happening that make sense. It is funny when I said that the two worlds collide and when you see the movie you see the characters and the relationship between the characters and how different they are. Also, you know, I love how love does not discriminate and the barriers come down. There is so much to it and it depends on what kind of person you are and what you take away. I could go on and on forever.

What did you enjoy most about playing your character?
I love my character and I feel very close to her. When you are choosing a film, you have to connect to the character you are going to play. That is really important to me that I feel some kind of connection when I hear her story. I really felt her!

16aug_banjolaunch-02What was it like to work with Riteish?
I am really blessed that I have worked with such amazing actors. He is an amazing actor; he is also an amazing human being. He is very easy to work with. He is a pleasure to work with. He is down to earth and funny and smart and very helpful. Gotta say I am blessed!

Of course this is all about music, did you know of the Banjo before this?
For me it was so different! What the hell is a Banjo? It is called a bulbul tarang—look that up! It was all new to me, girl. Then when I saw a real guy playing it and his fingers were moving so fast and he was moving that blade up and down I was like that is mad skills yo! The sound is really cool!

Your favorite song in the movie?
I really loved Udaan Choo. The one where I am all dressed up in the different avatars and Riteish is daydream singing a love song. For that one, for the lavani parts, someone just showed me some dance moves. They were like hey do this and I was like Okay I will do it! It is not like I had to take lessons or anything. On set the choreographer shows you the moves.

So how was it working on the set where they were all speaking Marathi?
It was horrible. It was like coming to India for the first time again. I could not understand anything that anyone was saying. I am hearing them speak and some of them sound like Hindi words and I am like Yo! Is something wrong with me? Did I somehow loose the language? At first I was really confused it was like I went and had amnesia. I just could not understand what was happening…(laughs) but then I started to pick up more and more and understand some words but it was difficult.

Nargis Fakhri, Riteish Deshmukh, Krishika Lulla & Ravi Jadhav on the set of BanjoWhat about working with the director, what do you feel he brought out in you as an actress?
Oh Ravi is so cool. I think that he directed me, but he also let me be very free. When he felt that something was not right he would say it and he would ask me to do it a different way. I think he gives you a lot of freedom to be creative and to be in the moment so that was really nice. So easy to work with. He’s great.

And for that character you would almost need that…
Yeah, exactly. He was great at letting me just be. It was great.

What do you think audiences are going to love about this film?
Oh gosh! I think there are so many things. Definitely the music. But I feel that the story is something that is really beautiful and interesting. I like how two different worlds come together; I like the layers that you’ll see and the different stories within this one film. How you will get to know these characters. It so realistic. I think that the audience will connect with everyone, which I love, I love when a film is super realistic and we can connect as humans to another human.

Nargis FakhriWhat do you love about being an actress?
I don’t know what I love about it actually, to be honest! I don’t know what I am doing half the time! Honestly! (Laughs). This job is so friggin’ hard. It is so hard; I cannot even begin to explain. I am sure other jobs are hard, but this job is hard! It is hard for me and maybe it is extra hard for me because it is a language barrier, where I have to study and practice and actually commit my entire life where I don’t see my family, I don’t see my friends. I don’t see my mom for 4 or 5 years in a stretch at one time. Thank God for Skype! Forget about my friends I don’t know where half of them are anymore. I committed myself because it was a challenge, it seemed interesting, and it was a great opportunity. Look how far I have gotten without knowing anyone or having family in the business so I am very proud of myself.

I think that drives me also. This is like the biggest challenge of my life, you know? To keep going, not to be a wuss and not to give up! Though I am tired, I am not going to lie. But the thing is after all that, after the crying and all the emotional ups and downs, the feeling lonely, the getting depressed, the getting sick because I am always sick because we work really hard, when I see the final product and I know that people loved it and they tell me these wonderful things that they really loved the story and they loved the character and they really felt connected, then I am like oh that is so nice! Okay fine, I will give it another year! And here I am every year! (Laughs!)

I have a feeling after this one, you will be saying that again!
I don’t know, I am a little scared. Let’s see. I always say, ‘oh I don’t know, maybe it is my last film or I am going to leave now because I miss home’, but then you never know. You get a second wind. You get a little bit of extra hope in your heart and you stay. Who knows what the future holds.

This was one of my favorite interviews because it was real and raw and full of laughter as well and I loved speaking with her! I wish her the best of luck and say we hope to see you in many more films to come!

Banjo hits theaters on September 23rd!

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