This is Part 2 of Gul Panag’s interview taken on 5th April 2008. Read about Gul’s journey so far and how she chooses scripts in Part 1
A motoring enthusiast, an adventure sport lover, an avid traveler and of course an actor who has impressed us with movies like Dor and Manorama Six Feet Under, Gul Panag doesn’t really have time to watch a lot of movies. Though she tries to keep herself up-to-date with the latest releases and has thoroughly enjoyed Race and Jodhaa Akbar.
Intelligence in the industry…
When Gul started in the industry, she used to think that people do get intimidated by intelligent women in the industry, and now -
I genuinely and firmly believe that my intelligence levels have dropped. It really has…I find it difficult to grasp basic things. Because intelligence is like a machine, your mind is like a machine, the less you use it, the less of it remains.
But then, over the years she has also realized that there is more to people than just intelligence.
…till the time I realized there is a lot more to people than intelligence. That’s when I began making friends…
At some stage, when you are young and you are indulgent you are self-indulgent. I always thought I was more intelligent than everybody else. I remember when I was 20-21 I had such an attitude towards everyone else (It was very concealed, because I was a great actor from day 1, even when I was not acting.) And I would look at all these people and say, “Oh my god, am I ever going to meet anyone who will match my intelligence level ever - I mean ever, ever, ever?”.
And it was a huge problem. Till the time I realized there is a lot more to people than intelligence. That’s when I began making friends. I just realized quite some time back that if somebody isn’t intelligent, that’s not the end of the world. They could be caring people, they could be people who are kind at heart, they could be people who are funny, they could be people with immense moral fiber. There are lots of things that are good about people. So this terrible attitude that I used to have a couple of years ago was a hangover from college and from high school.
I just feel that intelligence is when you make maximum utilization of your brain.
Trying out comedy…
On the shoot of Hello Darling, I must say that I was heartbroken when I saw Gul Panag in a set with an office door that had the name plate saying “Mr. Harddick” (instead of Hardik, Gul’s character’s boss.) What is she doing in a movie with a slapsticky sense of humor? But she surely comforted me that it was a woman oriented movie, and dealt with a topic not yet touched upon by Hindi cinema - sexual harassment in the workplace. And, she is really excited about being molded to do something she hasn’t tried before - comedy.
I found a director who liked me, who was very keen to put me in a different mould. That doesn’t happen very often. It’s easy for directors to put me in a role that they are comfortable seeing me in. It takes a lot more for a director to put me in a mould that no one else has seen me in before. Everyday everybody on the set says oh my god you look so good. That’s a fact. We’ve shot for this film for about 30 days now and I hear this every day on the film…
… Its extremely good for my ego and my self-esteem because I get to hear this every single day.
It came as a surprise to me that there weren’t enough people complimenting Miss India (1999) till Hello darling! But it’s true. The glamorous, corporate look is a far cry from the “wife” roles we’ve seen her dong. She too is excited about her looks, and also that her character is not the one that is mouthing silly lines, but is an intelligent career woman who is stuck in a bad situation.
While browsing the net, to know a little more about Gul, I came across this article that said that she likes pulpy vegetable juice. I was very curious to know what a seemingly intelligent person like her thinks about the state of journalism.
…Celina is somebody very intelligent, very very well-spoken, extremely articulate…I call her a walking encyclopedia…
Well, India is gearing slowly but steadily towards tabloid journalism. But what is sad is that mainstream newspapers also indulge in tabloid journalism. It’s wonderful to have a Midday or a Mirror, but it’s sad that some things make front page news even in national dailies.
Celina and I were talking about her dog getting into a fight with the neighbor’s dog becoming a news item. Celina is somebody very intelligent, very very well-spoken, extremely articulate…I call her a walking encyclopedia. But that doesn’t make it to the newspapers, does it? You understand where it is coming from. It’s coming from the need to fill pages.
Rapid fire -
…cinema is a much forgiving medium…
Theater vs. Movies
Movies because its less hard work, it is a much forgiving medium, theater is very tough. You can correct your work in movies, you are not responsible for your performance, some else is. Some one is constantly watching over you, constantly fixing you.
Cars vs. Films?
Films because they are the means to buy the cars
What’s easier? Crying or comic timing?
crying…comic timing involves too many things to coordinate. And you are too dependent on your co-actor. If the co-actor doesn’t give you the right cues, you can’t do it. You can’t do it alone. Also you’ve got to keep a straight face while saying the line, the whole time.
What do you like to emote the most?
What’s the easiest to emote?
Anger again….there are enough things in the world to be angry about, I can vent them all out in a performance.
And for all the directors and producers out there, Gul is still waiting for her first offer to do an item number.
No one calls me…they all probably think that I’d bang the phone down.