Mumbai,Chaya Unnikrishnan: Tina Ahuja talks about everything from her much publicised debut, the ensuing delay and being Govinda’s daughter
She is young, pretty and raring to go. Narmmadaa aka Tina Ahuja who will be making her debut with Second Hand Husband shows none of the jitters expected from a debutante, nor is she frazzled by her much-delayed debut. “If I hadn’t got a good script I would have happily sat at home,” she shrugs. This is one star kid who seems to have her feet firmly planted on the ground. Having been written about for years over her Bollywood debut, Govinda’s daughter has learnt to take the controversies in her stride. “I know the truth and don’t get affected by whatever is written.”
Dressed in blue jeans teamed with a black tee, Tina (it was her friends who gave her the pet name and insisted that she use it as her screen name) is ready to be grilled and takes every question on her chin giving some sweet and delightful answers. Read on…
Relieved that finally your debut film is ready to hit the theatres?
I wouldn’t say that, but I am very happy and looking forward to the release of Second Hand Husband. Earlier too, 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 as articles about my debut were being written. I know where I come from, the legacy I have to take forward and the comparisons that will be made. So, unless I was sure about the script I didn’t want to do a film. If I wouldn’t have got something as good as Second Hand Husband, I would have happily sat at home. It’s not as if age is an issue, I am still young!
Weren’t you doing a film directed by Lovely Singh?
Yes, I was, but things went wrong between him and the producer. They had some issues 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.
But your father could have easily got you in touch with people in the industry…
He always told me to do things my way. Moreover, I don’t ever want my dad to call up producers and recommend me. He is a superstar and I don’t want to bring him down. I have seen other people calling him to recommend them! If I want work, I have no issues calling up or meeting producers. I have already told a few producers that I would like to work with them. In fact, 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 said 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 actually getting into movies or not. I was like, ‘Accha hoga toh theek hai, nahi hoga toh I am happy at home.’
What went wrong with Dabangg? Weren’t you supposed to do the film before Sonakshi Sinha?
Not at all. I have met Salman Khan only three or four times in my life and I am too shy of him. When I was a kid, he was my favourite actor. There would be articles about how despite being Govinda’s daughter, I liked Salman! I don’t have the guts to ask him to launch me.
It was your father, who approached him and later there were issues between them.
These were just rumours. He never told Salman to launch me. He always said, ‘If Salman has supported me to get back into films (Partner) after I quit politics, it doesn’t mean meri beti ko bhi launch karega. Usne theka nahi leke rakha hai hamara. We should be grateful for what he has done and not expect too much’.
Who are your close friends from the industry?
Nobody. My father never gave filmi dinners or parties. Once he came home he switched off from films. Yes, as a kid I used to go to birthday parties and the others would come to mine, but growing up I had normal non-filmi friends. As a kid, I used to eat in the school canteen, watch movies in theatres without security even then. All these things keep you grounded and make you more real.
Govinda is known for his superb dancing and comic timing. What have you imbibed from him?
You’ll have to watch my film to know that. It has me dancing as well as doing comedy (laughs).
Any do’s and dont’s that he has told you?
When I told him I wanted to be an actress he sat me down and explained the pros and cons of the profession. He told me it involves a lot of hard work. He has always treated me like a princess at home, so he was a little concerned. The rest, he said, handle it your way.
What kind of father is he?
Very chilled out. Earlier, he did not have much time at home, because he was shooting for films. We had to adjust according to his schedules. We would go on his sets, and grab some time to meet him. Summer vacations used to be spent abroad because he would be shooting in foreign locales. 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 – drugs, drinking and smoking, which I refrain from in any case.
Is he okay with you kissing on screen and wearing swimsuits?
I don’t know because we haven’t discussed it. Second Hand Husband is a neat and clean film, so that question didn’t arise. Jab hoga tab dekhungi kya reaction hai! This film is a romcom with a social concept, that of alimony. I am playing Gippy Grewal’s lawyer and girlfriend.
What have you learnt from your father?
Being passionate about work, giving your 100 per cent and doing justice to the character. For my character Gurpreet who is shown as girl from Punjab, I gained seven kilos to look like one. I worked a lot on how would she look and dress up. And now, I am trying to get back to my size six. This is something I learnt from my dad, as well as being a thorough professional. I know people used to talk about his late-coming on the sets, but he was right in his own way. He was doing six-seven shifts a day, so you can’t expect him to be on time. I have also learnt to not take anything to heart. If there is one hit, there will be one failure. Even superstars have equal stress after giving blockbusters. So, better not to give unnecessary importance to it.
Any producers and actors on your wishlist?
I love a lot of them, but my favourite producer director is Vipul Shah. Among actors I want to work with Akshay Kumar.
Will we see you and Govinda together in a film?
If the script is good, definitely. However, I don’t want him to play my father. It will be too emotional. I want him be my chacha or mama in a fun film (grins).
When will he produce a film for you?
It all depends on his mood! One film (Abhinay Chakra) that he has produced is still to release. It will hit the theatres this August. I don’t want to stress him out more. He should concentrate on one movie at a time.