MUMBAI — She plays the girlfriend of the hero in “Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon,” Kapil Sharma’s debut film. On a humid afternoon, we meet up at the Sun N Sand hotel with Elli Avram. The Scandinavian beauty speaks in good, almost accent-free Hindi. After that pleasant shock, I compliment her and a pleased, wide smile follows.
Here are excerpts from the interview:
Q: You are talking in Hindi that is almost accent-free!
A (Smiles): I think it is very important to converse as much as possible in Hindi. When you are comfortable with the language and know the meaning of each and every word, you can put stress on the right word and bring in the right feeling. This makes your acting natural!
Q: You have obviously made a huge effort. Did you have a tutor?
A: Not at all. I practiced to myself with my staff at home, outside my house, and on sets. It was all about how to move your tongue! When I did “Mickey Virus,” I learned Manish Paul’s dialogues too, so that his last sentence and word could be a quick cue. However, sometimes Manish would improvise, but, by then, I knew enough Hindi to react correctly. With Kapil, who was even more spontaneous, I had to be in flow — so much more alertness was needed.
Q: When did your fascination with Hindi cinema begin?
A (Laughs): When I was five, I first recall watching Hindi movies in my godparents’ house, and I remember thinking “Wow!” Hindi cinema was so different, so magical — with all the energy and the color! My godparents were enamored by India — their house would be full of Indian stuff, and I would love the incense sticks (agarbattis) and the Sufi music. But I could never imagine coming down to India! And then I watched “Devdas,” and that was the moment when I decided I wanted nothing else!
Two years later, I was thrilled to find an institute nearby that taught “Bollywood Dance.” When I watched “Love Aaj Kal” and saw Giselle Monteiro playing an Indian girl, I thought, “If she can do it, why not me?” And Dad said, “Show me a plan, and I will support you!”
Q: Where did your godparents’ love for India originate?
A: There are a lot of Greeks in Sweden, and a lot of interaction happens culturally with them. And you must already know that Greek music has a lot of India in their songs, as they have copied so much from old Indian film music. In fact, my father, who is actually into IT, is also a musician on the side and loves Indian music as well. And like in real life, in “Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon,” I play dad’s little girl.
Q: So how has the Indian experience been so far — as good as you had thought, better, or worse?
A: The film industry is nicer than the stories I heard. Maybe I am lucky to have met only the right people. Like Abbas-Mustan.
Q: So who’s on your wish-list of co-stars and directors?
A: Oh, everyone! But I would love to do a period film with Sanjay Leela Bhansali and work with Tiger Shroff and Sooraj Pancholi.