Govinda’s daughter Tina Ahuja was in the news for a much-speculated debut with Salman Khan that did not materialise. She is finally making her debut with a Punjabi director Smeep Kang in Second Hand Husband. Unlike the voluble Govinda who gives quotes by the dozen, Tina speaks very guardedly.
What took you so long to join the industry?
I had a lot of offers but I didn’t want to take up anything just because there was a lot of pressure on me - many articles about my debut were being written. I know where I come from, the legacy I have to take forward and the comparisons that are bound to be made. So unless I was sure about the script, I didn’t want to do a film. If I hadn’t got a film as good as Second Hand Husband, I would have happily sat at home.
What is so special about this film?
SHH is an extremely light-hearted comedy. In this strong concept-based film, I play a naive and pampered lawyer who is the leading man Gippy Garewal’s girlfriend.
You were supposed to make your debut with Salman Khan. What misfired?
That was just a rumour. I was never going to be launched by him (Salman). I have met Salman Khan only three or four times in my life and I am too shy to even talk to him. When I was a kid, he was my favourite actor.
Weren’t you also doing a film directed by Lovely Singh?
Yes, I was but things went wrong between the producer and him; and Lovely decided he will not direct the film anymore. So, I took a break and six months later started meeting people again for work.
How did you bag SHH?
I was the one who called Smeep Kang (director of Second Hand Husband) after I saw one of his Punjabi films. I got Smeep’s number from a friend, called him and told him that I wanted to work with him. A few months later, Smeep called me as he was planning to make his debut in Bollywood. He offered me the film at a time when I was in two minds about getting into movies at all.
What your first reaction when you were told that you would be working with Dharmendra?
When I heard that I was going to be acting with Dharmendraji in my very first film, I was thrilled. It is not very often that actors get an opportunity to work with a legend. It was an extremely enriching experience that I will always cherish. I spent a lot of time observing him on the set and he gave me some valuable tips as well.
Many young actresses are on a roll. Do you feel the heat of competition?
I am not scared of the competition at all. My father told me, you do your work and don’t get caught up in the competition.
Why did you change your name from Narmada to Tina?
I haven’t changed my name. I am officially known as Narmada while Tina is my nickname which was given to me by my friends. Before joining the industry, I thought I will use this name as it sounds cool.
Govinda is known for his superb dancing and comic timing. What is your stroing point?
You’ll have to watch my film to know that. It has me dancing as well as doing comedy.
How is Govinda as a father?
He is a very cool man. Anytime I have a problem, or am not too confident about something, he sorts it out in two minutes. He is not strict, but there are certain things he doesn’t like and I don’t go there.
Will we see you and Govinda together in a film?
If the script is good, sure!