An Intense Act
She had no acting experience whatsoever. And she was a model to boot! Not the best of reasons for director, Sudhir Mishra, to select Chitrangda Singh for a passionate, performance-oriented role for his film, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi. But he did, while giving the thumbs down to competing aspirants from the National School of Drama. “The initial auditions – and there were many – of Chitrangda were not so good,” recalls Mishra. “But her face kept coming back to me – there was an intense intelligence and a searing sensuality that I found fascinating, so I decided to follow my instinct,” says the director who has worked before with Deepti Naval, Shabana Azmi and Kareena Kapoor.
The sultry newcomer doesn’t mind being identified with the late actress. “I take it as a huge compliment. I’ve grown up watching her films as my mother is a very big fan of Smita Patil. But, I think the comparisons have got more to do with looks and the fact that I have her kind of earthy complexion rather than with talent. I have a long way to go before I can achieve her standard of performance.”
What a long way this Home Science student of Lady Irwin College, New Delhi, has come from the time when she got rejected by three airlines for the position of an airhostess! She had no luck also when she applied for the job of a newsreader. “I am so glad now that I didn’t get those jobs!” she exclaims, happy with her choice of modelling. Numerous ads later, she did a video film for film-maker Gulzar. (“I was so scared I’d make a hash of it, I was hoping he wouldn’t take me!”)