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Bollywood Stardust by Mituri Sharma
Mituri Pradip Sharma is a freelance journalist who has worked on a variety of print mediums in diverse fortes. Armed with a pen and paper, this print medium enthusiast has written for local papers, online mediums, university papers & magazines, in the press operations section for the Sydney 2000 Olympics and for Australia's second largest magazine publishing house, Express Publications as a PR representative and journalist.

A full time Marketing/Business Analyst for SPKM International Pty Ltd and Karepet Australia, Mituri loves to sink her teeth into the print arena whenever she has the inclination, time and escapes "Writer's Block!"

Mituri relishes in bridging the gap between India and Australia and looks forward to bringing deliciously scrumptious article for you to review in the coming months…so watch this space!
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Smiley Suri Interview
Smiling all the Way to Fame!
By Mituri Pradip Sharma

Smiley Suri may not be a household name yet, but she has certainly ruffled some feathers. 

In a world increasingly running on stereotypes, this bold young lady has managed to make a mark for herself in a non conventional role in an even more nonconformist movie.

Armed with limited time on screen for her debut launch pad, Kalyug, Smiley has nevertheless left her mark in a similar fashion to Rani Mukherji's role in the legendary Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.

Although comparing Kalyug to Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is like comparing, in fear of implementing the overused, tiresome slogan, apples to oranges in many respects, this expose on the porn industry and its ruthlessness with all its participants has managed to carve a niche for itself in the much sought after category of promising movies in 2005.

"We were quite scared about how Kalyug was going to be received by audiences, as the film debuts many newcomers, and we were up against the likes of YashRaj's Neal "N" Nikki and Ek Ajnabee" gushes the professional jazz and Latin ballroom dancer. 

Although much of the media introduces Smiley as the sister of promising young Bollywood Director Mohit Suri, who debuted with Zeher, there is a hint of ambition and unbound talent that is often overlooked and slightly undiscovered at present. 

As the interview progressed, it was easy to forget that you were talking to a celebrity of the future, someone who has been immersed in the film fraternity since the time she was born, with family links to the Bhatt clan. With effortlessness, one is able to get lost in Smiley's easy, friendly attitude and fun loving nature.

"Although many think it is easier to work with family, it is honestly quite tough! It is very difficult to perform and take shots in front of your brother. Mohit was quite hard on me, probably because I was his sister, either I wouldn't be crying properly or laughing with enough emotion! The rest of the unit stays clear of you and has a don't talk to her attitude because she's the director's sister," protests the fine actor.

However, if you are searching for the infamous back stabbing associated with many Bollywood films, especially one filled with newcomers grappling to make their niche, you're barking up the wrong tree.

"Even though I was really scared on the first day of shoot," I soon realised that I was a part of this great, young team, inform Smiley, "I was quite scared of Kunal [Kunal Khemu, Mahesh Bhatt's Golden Boy from films such as Hum Hai Rahein Pyar Ke and Zakhm], as he had won all of these theatre awards as well as the National Award, but we vibe really well. Deepal Shaw [India's famous Item Girl] is very sweet, I don't know much about hair and makeup so she would help me. On the days that I would shoot and she didn't have any scenes she would come and support me and vice versa," explains Smiley. 

"We were a very young and sweet unit," reiterates Smiley, "people would expect a lot of cat fights with two actresses, but we didn't try to outwit each other…it was all fun yaar" Smiley ends with the characteristic Indian cliché. 

One gets the distinct impression that Smiley is "jam packed" with talent threatening to overflow as she relishes in communicating her future goals and aspirations.

"Acting is not as glamorous or as easy as it looks," ponders Smiley, not wishing to rebel future actors of Bollywood, it is not impossible though "you need to work hard, think big and believe in your dreams. Contrary to popular belief, skin show is not that important. There's a place for everybody in Bollywood, carve a niche for yourself,' advises Smiley.

"There's a good slot for everyone in this industry, keep at it, and always believe in yourself. Never give up. All the stuff actors do like diction and dance class are all very important, do anything to keep your confidence levels up," Smiley asserts.

Speaking about her own journey into the dark realms of acting and the testing of her own nerves of steel when taking her first shot receives a quick, yet quirky reply. "Of course I was nervous for my first shot," laughs Smiley, "I still remember I had to run through these pigeons, I was so nervous. But I think that fear transcends and makes your work better. I was extremely scared but I channeled that fear into energy to get a better outcome."

The self-confessed lover of dance enjoys the quiet company of herself and friends outlining her favourite activities as devouring the famous Indian "chai with friends, or sitting in my room alone reading a good book or watching a great film."

A youngster of this age, Smiley often delves into dance, a secret few know about her, even dabbling in dance teaching during her college days and grooving with the likes of famous Shiamak Davar, who recently performed at the Australian Commonwealth Games' Closing Ceremony welcoming the Games to India. 

The dance enthusiast claims to have grown up on jive oriented films such as Flash Dance and Australian home grown Strictly Ballroom. "I would love to do a film revolved around dancing, something like Devdas, in fact I absolutely love everything Madhuri [Dixit] has done! Of course the dream role for any actress in Bollywood would have to be Rani Mukherji's character in Black. However, I would even love to do the Audrey Hepburn type films - A Breakfast at Tiffany's, but that may not be able to be copied in India, though Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin is an adaptation of A Roman Holiday," Smiley ponders.

Probed on the worst and best aspects of acting, Smiley thoughtfully answers that for her it's comparable to two sides of the one coin. In acting you must "strip in front of everybody from an emotional point of view, you reveal your inside insecurities and point of views. You almost live in a fishbowl where everything is out in the open for everyone to see. However, after all the hard work, the fame and what you get in the end is also the best thing about it."

As we near the close of the interview, it is plain to see that this is a young lady with her "head screwed on well," confident of the direction of her life and her chosen path towards her objectives, "After Kalyug I only look out for good roles. I am being a bit picky and choosy, the banner I work for next has to be on par or better. I don't want to be type caste into the same types of roles. Everyone saw me in a salwar kameez, so they think that's all I can do. This is not true, in my next film I want to dance!" Smiley asserts.

As a final question, Smiley confidently affirms that her mentor has been her father, Daksh Suri. The loving daughter humbly reiterates that he always told me that "success needs a little bit of intelligence and imagination. The key ingredient is confidence in your abilities and failure. Every time you fall and fail it's a stepping stone to your final goal. My father always told me this when I was down."
Extremely eager to visit Australia, Smiley is hoping that she can shoot a film down under in the near future, and the message all her fans are waiting for;

"Thank you so much for enjoying Kalyug and appreciating our work. I think audiences are extremely intelligent nowadays and they appreciate good scripts. Their encouragement gets the best from their actors. What they tell us sets the standards which are set higher thanks to them. Thank you for all your love and I hope to see you soon!" 

With that Smiley signed of the interview, and so shall I till the next time I have another debut to interview for you.

This feature article is part of a series of articles written on debuts in the last year in Bollywood. The first part done on Kalyug's Smiley Suri tracks the actress's feelings on Bollywood, her aspirations, future goals, emotions during the making of her launch pad film, mentor and her relationship with her brother, director Mohit Suri and the rest of her cast. A candid conversation on little known facts about the actress and her life interviewed by Australian based freelance journalist, Mituri Pradip Sharma.

The journalist has worked on a number of print journalism mediums including local Australian papers, University press materials, reporting on the Press Operations during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and the lead up to the Games, and as a PR representative and journalist for Australia's second largest magazine publications house on a variety of magazines under Express Publications.
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