'It Was an Emotionally Challenging Role'

Pooja Batra, whose character goes to Mars in Hollywood sci-fi One Under the Sun, done numerous Hindi films, she shares what it’s like to act in the US

Published: 11th February 2016 04:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th February 2016 04:31 AM   |  A+A-


Back in 1997, Pooja Batra made a splash in Bollywood with Virasaat, but after a mixed bag of films, got married in 2002 and settled in the United States. After a dozen years, she popped up in a cameo in ABCD2 (2015). Now she has bagged a biggie — the lead role in the Hollywood sci-fi film One Under the Sun. She plays an astronaut and is cast opposite Gene Farber.


How did you bag the lead role in a Hollywood film?

Ever since I moved to America, I have been trying to land a good role; but it’s very difficult here. For this film, I went for the audition and I performed three scenes — one with my on-screen husband who tries to convince me to go to the mission, the second, in which I am in the shuttle and talking to command, and the last in which I am reunited with my daughter. They liked my acting and fortunately I got selected.


Tell us about your role in this film.

I play Kathryn, who is one of the five astronauts selected to go to Mars. She is also the sole survivor of the space shuttle moment, a distraught mother who is waiting to reunite with her terminally ill, cancer-afflicted daughter.


Sounds like an emotionally challenging role.

Yes, there is a situation when my daughter is dying but they don’t allow me to see her...it was so emotional, I imagined myself in her place and it was like being in a pressure cooker. There was another challenging scene — when I come back to earth and people are interrogating me.


Considering you have done a dozen odd Hindi films, what was it like to shoot a Hollywood movie?

There is hardly any difference besides the language. I have worked here with many actors and I looked forward to the shooting. I applied no makeup; I was in a room which made me sweat because of the heat.


Did you do any research for the role?

I have looked up to astronauts since my childhood. You don’t get such inspiring and strong roles in India. There is no revenge angle here like in Bollywood movies; she is a power woman. I am lucky to get it.


Which was the last Bollywood movie you loved?

Bajirao Mastani (2015). Everyone was amazing in the movie.


How did the break from work affect you?

After I left India, sadly, the number of  roles offered to me diminished. Moving to a different country does affect your career. I did a cameo in ABCD 2 recently.


Any other projects you look forward to?

I will come to India for the release of Punjabi film Killer Punjabi which I co-produced. In Mirror Games, I play a psychiatrist.

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