Britain-based Indian origin actress and fashion designer Fagun Thakrar says she takes rumours of her link-up with internationally acclaimed filmmaker Shekhar Kapur with a pinch of salt."I find these reports amusing as I've known Shekhar for a long time and we're good friends. The man is truly a genius. I always look up to him for guidance. Probably even he would be laughing on these reports linking us... However, I have been taking this link-up with a pinch of salt," Fagun said.
She walked the red carpet at Cannes Film Festival this year for Kapur's upcoming project ‘Bollywood: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told’, a film that celebrates the dazzling world of Hindi cinema.
"It was an honour to be chosen out of all the young actresses available - to lead the entourage. I didn't suffer from any nerves at all precisely because the dance fit so well with premiere. But at that moment, I didn't quite realize what a worldwide sensation it was going to become," said the actress.
But there is more to her than just her link-up with Kapur. Fagun, who was born and bought up in Leceister, took a 360 degree turn from being a medical student to pursuing a career in the entertainment industry.
"After schooling, I moved to London to study medicine at the University College London. After that, I studied acting at the Royal Academy of the Dramatic Arts. Then I decided to compete in a BBC competition 'Bolly Idol' and won amongst thousands of contenders around the UK. And now I have started my own fashion line, the Fagun collection," she said.
As an actress, Fagun has worked in some good Hollywood films like ‘Brick Lane’ (2003) and ‘Zohra’ (2006) and a television drama series, ‘Holby City’. She also featured in Bollywood productions like ‘Shukriya: Till Death Do Us Apart’ (2004) and ‘Love Aaj Kal’ (2009).
The actress will next be seen in Ravi Kumar's ‘Bhopal - Prayer For Rain’, which also stars Martin Sheen. She says she read about 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy in her school curriculum.
“‘Bhopal - Prayer For Rain' is inspired by true events around the Bhopal gas disaster. My acting training in Shakespeare helped me through the character development and motivation. In school, we were taught about the Bhopal disaster and I knew the statistics. But when I visited Bhopal and met the victims, I realised the human scale of the disaster. Unless we see a human face of the tragedy personally, a disaster becomes just a number," she said.
"When I was offered the part, I was overwhelmed with the responsibility and the weight of history on the shoulder of Rekha, the character I play. But once I realised it's not about an epic film, it's about a young woman's personal search for truth and justice. I did a lot of research with survivors and mapped out my own personal journey that I tried to translate with my acting," she said.
So, how was the experience working with Sheen?
"Martin Sheen is an incredible actor to work with. He is just so talented, definitely one of the greatest actors of our generation," said Fagun.
There is one other aspect to the actress - she is a trained dancer.
"I'm a trained dancer in both Indian and Western styles. I trained in contemporary ballet, tap, modern jazz, and also classical Indian dance Kathak and have worked with bands like Black Eyed Peas and with some well-known choreographers in the US and the UK."
Asked if she is keen on doing an item number in Bollywood, she said, "Yes! Those song numbers are just too much fun. I really love music and dance. It's such a beautiful physical expression of emotion, so subtle and sensual. I would love the chance to be part of the ongoing tradition. I would like to do a number with Hrithik Roshan!"
Fagun has a couple of projects in hand but refused to give details. "Also, I have something worthwhile in Bollywood too," she concluded.