Interviewer & Text : Daya Kingston | Camera: Hemananth.B & P. Ganesh Babu
Bubbly Piaa Bajpai was the model who charmed her way into our hearts with the Kitkat chocolate campaign. The pretty actress is as effervescent on the big screen. She brings together the rare combination of wide-eyed innocence with seduction, a lethal weapon! So when curly locks and a mischievous glint in the eye meet, who can resist! Her much awaited fun film Goa is soon to hit the screens and we catch up with her.



BW:
What was your childhood like?

Piaa: My childhood was different, I was a typical tomboy. I was nothing like a girl. I always competed with the boys. I used to ride a Bullet, Suzuki, Yamaha and so on. I could ride a cycle better than the guys, climb on a tree, jump into a swimming pool. I am the youngest in my house so my parents pampered me. In school, I got special permission from the principal to wear the uniform that boys wore, trouser and shirt while the other girls wore skirts. I have a younger brother, so if someone dared to beat him, I would rush to his defense. I fought a lot on the streets, so much that my dad said if someone comes back to beat me, he will not be there to save me and I would have to handle myself.

How did you enter modeling?

I am from a very small town in UP. When I was in my 12th standard, I told my parents that I wanted to go to Mumbai and become an actress. Initially, my parents were not for it but I wanted to give it a try. I convinced them and got myself a job in Delhi. I took tuitions for 6th standard children and did some jobs to convince my dad I could support myself. Then I shifted to Mumbai and started giving auditions for ads and slowly I got big brands.

What are the major brands you have modeled for?

Vodafone, Liril, KFC Chicken, ICICI Bank, Kitkat, Cadbury’s Selection, Westside, Pantaloon, Idea and others.

How did you get into Poi Solla Porom?

I was working on a commercial with Priyadarshan Sir and he told me he was doing a Tamil film and wondered if I could manage Tamil. I will never say no to something like that and I said I can. After 10 days, I got a call for the audition. Vijay, the director of PSP was doing an audition in Mumbai and he asked me to come without makeup and in simple clothes. I went in denim and a simple top, but when I went there I found that there were 100 girls in mini skirts, deep neck tops and full make up. I was the only girl like this and was a little taken aback. However, Vijay asked me to just give my audition. After two days, I got a message that I was on for the project. It was a dream come true.

What was it like working with director Vijay?

The first time I met him in the audition, he gave me a particular scene to enact and that’s it. However, after two days on the set, I got to know him better. It was lovely working with him. In fact, I tell him to make PSP Part II. Whenever there is an opportunity, Vijay advises me and I blindly follow him. He is responsible for my working in Aegan, Bale Pandiya and Goa. He is promoting me by giving my number to other directors and that is the best thing that has happened to me.

" Vijay advises me

and

I blindly follow him
"


Have you picked up Tamil now?

While doing Poi Solla Porom, I was so scared. I had told Priyan Sir that I could manage Tamil but when I saw the first sheet of the script, I had second thoughts. I told him I was so nervous I could not do it. He reassured me that I would do well and asked me not to worry as all newcomers go through it. Every morning I would ask the assistant directors if I have any lines for the day. They would reply, “Yes, of course! You are the heroine”. I would even wish someone made a film where I had no dialogues, maybe a role as a dumb girl! I have improved my Tamil a lot now, I can understand but not speak. However, I don’t tell that to anyone on the sets and quietly listen to what they are saying not realizing that I can follow.

How was your experience working with Ajith?

Ajith is a wonderful person. I respect him from the heart; he is grounded and knows how to handle a newcomer. I never felt like a newcomer, he would advise me when I got depressed on the sets or nervous. He would also tell me to give my best and that everything will be fine.

" Ajith called me

the Shakira
"

Is there any specific interesting advice he gave you?

Ajith called me the Shakira. I was the baby on the sets and got pampered a lot. He said if I can manage the way I am right now, in my entire career and life, it will help me in every point. He told me, “don’t change yourself, be yourself and you will be successful”.


How did you get the opportunity to work in Goa?

On the last day of my Aegan schedule, I was talking to Ajith and he introduced me to Venkat Prabhu. I just wished him. PSP and Saroja got released within weeks of each other and I had seen his interview on TV. I saw his fun-loving team and wanted to work with him at least once. I called him once or twice but at that point he was not doing a project. Then, after 6 months, when I was in Mumbai, director Vijay called me and said Venkat will call me and told me that he was doing a film called Goa. Then I got a call from Venkat, he narrated the line and on the phone itself I agreed. When you know who the director is and trust him, you don't need to listen to the whole film and within fifteen days I was shooting.

What is your role in Goa like?

Goa is my fourth film and in every film of mine I am playing something close to my real life. I am there in every film. In Goa, I can relate to the character. I am a very romantic, happy and uncomplicated person. The way I laugh, cry and listen to advice, it’s all there.

" I am there in every film "


What pranks did you play on the sets?

If the other person can take it, I can go to any level, otherwise I keep quiet.
We were in Langkawi and I had no shoot. I was roaming on the beach here and there with my friend Jerome. I saw an empty can of beer and filled it with some tasteless tea I had. I pretended to drink and everyone was surprised because I was drinking in daytime and am a non-drinker. They told me, wow, you have changed a lot. I said I have no shoot, I am getting bored and so I am drinking. I asked a friend on the set if he wanted a sip. He said ok and when he found it to be tasteless tea, he was irritated. The whole day I did not go near him!

" You need guts to

survive the Goa team
"

Did anyone play a prank on you?

In Langkawi, I was the only girl on the set. You need guts to survive the Goa team because everyone is very naughty. I took some time to understand what kind of people they were. They teased me a lot.


Do tell us about your co-stars?

Premji, Jai, Sampath and Jai Akash were my co-stars. Premji and I fight a lot; we had a fight and did not talk to each other for a month. However, in the New Year, we have made up. Jai tries to talk Hindi but is a pathetic Hindi speaker, so when he starts to speak in Hindi, I ask him to shut up. Vaibhav is a good cook; he collects leftover food and makes a new dish. Arvind Akash is a good choreographer, actor and has a good physique. Sampath is spontaneous and suddenly says something new. Each of them is unique.

What is your role exactly?

You have to watch the film

What did you learn from Venkat Prabhu?

I had always believed that if you work you should be sincere and concentrate. I learnt how you can have fun while working. While on his sets, between action and cut there is no fun at all. Once he says cut, everything changes. He never shouts or gets angry on the sets. Neither does he get frustrated or irritated. There were no tense moments; he was always happy and energetic. In every film I had worked, I got lines few hours before and I was happy and was sure this trend would continue. But in Goa, I got lines before 30 minutes. Suddenly, I saw Venkat Prabhu cutting the lines and then I heard the words camera ready. He gave me just ten minutes and I was about to cry! I was nervous but managed it in one take, a wonderful take. Now I have learnt to manage Tamil in ten minutes.

" I have learnt

to manage Tamil

in ten minutes
"


What’s your take on glamour?

Everybody has a different definition of glamour. To me, it means something that I am comfortable with; if I am comfortable with my makeup, hair and everything, that’s glamour for me. I never copy any fashion, it depends on my mood. There is a very fine line between glamour and vulgarity and everyone should understand it.

What is your personal style?

I love denim and T-shirts. I carry short dresses very easily. Usually I wear denim, t-shirt and shoes.

What are your hobbies?

Styling is my hobby especially for my photo shoots. I never hire anyone for them. I write a lot of poems. Gymming is a necessity for my career and a hobby too. I love swimming, power yoga, weight training and of course shopping, every girl loves it.

What was the last thing you shopped for?

A Nokia E72, the latest.

Are you a gadget freak?

No not at all! For my car for instance I would go for comfort and not the latest launched.

What are your plans for the future?

Bale Pandiya and Goa. I do not make plans for the future; I don’t know what I will eat for dinner and how can I plan. I have a goal but let me finish step by step.

Who inspired you to be an actress?

I love Kajol and Madhuri Dixit. When I was young, I used to watch them dance and think let me try acting once.

Did you train in dance or acting?

No. I suddenly came into this line and have picked those up along with other skills. Once I had to swim and I told them I don’t know swimming. I thought they would cheat but they really threw me into the lake. So I thought Piaa you must learn swimming or one of these days these people will really kill you in a film! A few months ago I started learning swimming.

What do you think about Yuvan Shankar Raja’s music?

I heard all the songs of Goa and though I don’t know the language and lyrics and yet I could understand everything because of the music. I love his music, the kind of person he is, the kind of music he makes is mind-blowing and awesome. I am too small to talk about him. He’s wonderful in his job and as a person. The music is rocking.

Do tell us about Bale Pandiya

I am playing an NRI girl, bubbly, chubby, good looking and cute. We shot songs in Phuket, Thailand. It was a good experience with the team. Once we went 30 to 40 kms into the sea for a fight sequence. I found it tough as I was unable to stand in the yacht because of the waves and it was scary. My villain and hero were fighting on it. However, the way the fight turned out was unbelievable. Vishnu, my co-star was very helpful and as he knows Hindi it was an advantage for me, we could bitch about others. My villain also knows Hindi. We had fun in Thailand and Chennai and the film will be a good one.

Is this a romance?

Romantic comedy.

How was it working with Nayantara?

She is gorgeous and very beautiful, glamorous, hot, sexy and a good actress. Before Aegan I had never worked with any star in a film and was ready to handle some attitude but she never showed any. If there was anything wrong with my make-up or costume, she would ask me to take care of it. When we had no shoot, we gossiped. I was very happy.

"Sneha is very

childish from

the heart
"

What was your experience working with Sneha?

Sneha is very childish from the heart. To make a career, sometimes we lose our innocence. She never made me feel she was a star but I respect her a lot. She never felt anything like why should she mingle with others and a newcomer. I was happy working with her.


How about your producer Soundarya Rajinikanth?

I met her first when I was shooting in Malaysia. She is a beauty with brains. She is not taking help from her family or background and that is tough. She is so young and yet she has taken a big project like Goa which comes with so much of responsibility.

Have you met Rajinikanth

Not yet.

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