Mumbai, March 24 (Calcutta Tube) Sofia Hayat, a Britain-based singer-actor of Pakistani origin, rues the lack of professionalism in the Indian film industry, alleging some producers were unpleasant to her. India can churn out many hits like ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, says she, provided directors up the quality of their work.
‘I can bring more professionalism to the table. You need to be the character and can’t pretend to be one. When I act, I am not pretending, I have the tool. You can’t say I am an actor when you don’t have any tool. You can learn. I learnt for six years through different courses in universities in England. We can bring more professionalism, more colour,’ Sofia, 26, told IANS in an exclusive interview.
She says Bollywood producers wanted to get personal before signing her up for any project, unlike in Britain or the US.
‘I find sex is like a commodity you just trade here. If you need it, why don’t you hire a prostitute?’ asked Sofia who is here to shoot for ‘Diary Of A Butterfly’ directed by Vinod Mukhi.
Back home, Sofia worked in both television serials and movies. She featured in the BBC’s ‘Waterloo Road’ and ‘Jonathan Creek’ and had a role in the BAFTA winning series ‘Fur TV’ that came on MTV.
Her movie stint includes ‘The Unforgettable’, where she had a role opposite Raji James, ‘Exitz’ that also stars Malcolm Mcdowell and Stephen Billington, as well as ‘Cash and Curry’, which sees her as the gun-toting wife of a gangster.
Sofia, who was kidnapped by her parents at knife point when she was in university, has scripted a film called ‘Dishonoured’, about the trials and tribulations of Asians in Britain. She says it is inspired by her own life. The film will go on the floors by the end of this year and major parts of the movie will be filmed in India.
Though she came here to do some good movies, she believes the craft of acting is not important here.
‘I am not making films for money. I have made huge money in Britain. I am here to do some good films, but it is like a factory here. They ignore the craft of acting. If you pay heed to the craft, they would be appreciated in Britain and America,’ she said.
She feels if the filmmakers here won’t pull up their socks and show professionalism, foreign producers won’t engage them in their projects as directors.
‘I fear producers would come here and make films, using your lighting guys, your editors, but not your directors. Directors from Britain and the US would involve a high level of money, but they would bring some professionalism with them,’ said the actress.
‘People say ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ put India on the global map. Sorry, it’s Danny Boyle who put India on the global map. He is a British guy. You can have millions of films like ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ if producers and directors put that level of professionalism to the table,’ added the actress.
Another problem that Sofia complains about is that the entire script is not disclosed to an artist until one signs on the dotted line.
‘The problem in India is they don’t show you the whole script. Recently, I signed one film looking at my character, but when I read the whole script (I decided) to cancel it,’ she said.
‘I don’t want to do a film where people would exclaim ‘wow! She looks good’. Rather, would love to do films where people would say ‘wow! She can act’. That’s why I didn’t do the role though it was the lead role,’ she said.
(Dibyojyoti Baksi can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)