Debutante Jiah set for Bollywood entry

Nov 20, 2006 Swati R. Chaudhary

Mumbai, Nov 21 (IANS) Director Ram Gopal Varma's latest protege Jiah Khan, set to woo audiences with "Nishabd", is being touted as his best discovery since Urmila Matondkar.

Jiah is completely smitten by co-star Amitabh Bachchan.

"I had never imagined something like this. Working with the legendary Amitabh Bachchan is too big even for dreams. Working with him and being complimented by him is a big thing," Jiah was quoted as saying by Bollywood Trade.

"I was taken aback when he told me that I'd acted really well. He said no one would've guessed it was my first film," said an elated Jiah.

She also has high regards for Varma. "He is truly chilled out. He never yelled at me and gave me complete creative freedom. I was never asked to sit in a particular way or emote in a certain way. He confided in me and left everything to me."

"Nishabd" is apparently based on Vladimir Nabokov's well-known novel "Lolita" and Jiah says she is proud to be a part of the film.

"I've read 'Lolita' twice but 'Nishabd' is a beautiful love story and not sexually explicit like 'Lolita'. My character is a rebel without a cause. She is like this wild animal enclosed in a young girl, full of laughter, who doesn't care about the society. It was a tough role for a simple girl like me."

Doesn't she feel "Nishabd" is a bold role to essay at the very onset of her career?

"Luckily, the director has beautifully balanced my role in the film. There are multiple shades to my character. I am glamorous and funny. I laugh, I crack jokes and I cry. I am more than happy with the way it has shaped up," the newcomer added.

Not many know that Jiah declined director Anurag Basu's "Tumsa Nahin Dekha".

"I was 16 when I was offered the film. I had no experience and I was required to essay the role of a 24-year-old in the film. It was difficult coping with something like that at such a young age," said the actress.

A few big banners have reportedly approached her but she is first waiting for "Nishabd" to release.

"I am very much a newcomer right now. I think the directors, producers and audience first see my film and decide what I am capable of," she said.

For Jiah, becoming an actress was a childhood dream.

"I always wanted to be an actress. I was born in New York and brought up in London. I did my English literature and studied acting at Lee Strasberg's institute. I took a break and came down to Mumbai. I met Ram Gopal Varma and after a few months he offered me 'Nishabd'," said Jiah.

If the grapevine is to be believed, those who've seen the rushes of the film say Jiah is sensational and will definitely go a long way.

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