She was the Pakistani import who was first introduced to Indian viewers with the name Mona Lizza in Himesh Reshammiya’s Kajra Re. And more recently, she was seen in Mahesh Bhatt’s Murder 3 under her new screen name Sara Loren.
In a free-wheeling interview, she speaks boldly about crossing borders, religion and films…
Did you always want to become an actress?
I never thought I would become an actress. It just happened. When my father expired, I went back to Pakistan. I did a modelling stint for Fair And Lovely back home. I got a good pay and I was really happy to see the money. So I just thought that I should give acting a shot too. I did some plays in Delhi and also started learning Kathak. I decided that I should seriously concentrate on acting and that’s when I shifted to Mumbai.
Why did Kajra Re never get a proper release?
I spoke to Bhushan Kumar about it and they were not sure if their money (16 Crore – the film’s budget) would be recovered. They decided to sell the film separately in separate territories. But for me, it was an interesting experiment.
It’s rumoured that Salman Khan was pretty upset (in those days) with Himesh Reshammiya and made sure Kajra Re didn’t see the light of the day?
I really have no idea, but I have heard the producers didn’t release the film because of some technical and business issues. Maybe God had some different plans for me and I was destined to make my debut with Murder 3.
Are you happy with your debut in Murder 3?
I always keep myself happy. I am a person who hardly gets upset. If I get upset, I go to a Temple. As I said earlier, Murder 3 was in my destiny.
Why are you keeping such a low profile these days?
That’s because the Fox people and Vishesh Films didn’t want me to interact with the media and other people before Murder 3 released. But I think that was their strategy of marketing and now since the film has released, I am slowly opening up to people.
Your voice has so much resemblance to Meena Kumari, the legendary actress…
Yes, people do come up to me and say that I have the same huskiness as Meena Kumari used to have. That was the main and most important reason why the makers decided to use my own voice in Murder 3.
And how do you maintain your figure?
I do a lot of dieting. Water and milk are my favorite drinks. I have lived mostly on ceaser salads and juices and different varieties of fish.