Mumba: US-born Nargis Fakhri, whose poised confident screen presence and a deep understanding of her role in Shoojit Sircar`s `Madras Cafe` is winning praise for her, says she was "clueless" after her Bollywood debut `Rockstar`.
The period of exile after her 2011 debut was confusing for the actress. Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali, actor Ranbir Kapoor and the rest of the `Rockstar` team had taken Nargis under their wings. But after the release, when she and performance were rejected, Nargis found herself isolated and disoriented in a city and profession she knew nothing about.
"I was clueless," she said.
"It was a disappointing time for me. I couldn`t share it with my mother. Because she would`ve just ordered me home. But there was no dearth of work. I was getting these endorsements, shooting magazine covers. But very frankly, `Rockstar` was too vast an experience and culturally too distanced from where I come from, for me to handle," said Nargis, who was born in New York.
"I didn`t understand the culture or the milieu. Just imagine - if tomorrow you`re offered the main lead in a big Chinese film where they tell you, you are the ideal choice. That`s exactly how I felt when I was did `Rockstar`," she added.
Nevertheless, the deglamourised role of a war correspondent in the recently released John Abraham-starrer "Madras Cafe" fitted Nargis` personality, she believes.
"I play a journalist. And I was required to speak only in English. My Hindi is still rusty. But at least now I understand Hindi, so when John Abraham speaks to me I am not lost.
"And I got to speak in my voice in `Madras Cafe`. So it`s one consistent performance visually and vocally. Speaking in someone else`s voice in `Rockstar` was very confusing for my performance. I should`ve insisted on using my own voice. I guess I am not the kind of who girl who throws a tantrum to get her away," she said.
What Nargis enjoyed most in `Madras Cafe` was her role`s austere minimalist approach.
"The girl I play is a no-nonsense professional.I didn`t have to wear heavy makeup and false eyelashes. I was required to behave as naturally as possible," she added.
The movie, based on the Sri Lankan civil war, released Aug 23.