India Today - - COVER STORY -

For ac­tor Kul­raj Rand­hawa from Chandigarh, the jour­ney into films has been straight out of a movie script. The 30-year-old was study­ing Busi­ness Man­age­ment in Ban­ga­lore and had gone to in­ter­view act­ing guru Kishore Namit Kapoor as part of a free­lance as­sign­ment for a na­tional daily, when her life changed com­pletely. “I was get­ting film of­fers from the South In­dian film in­dus­try even be­fore that, but had re­fused as I wanted to con­cen­trate on my stud­ies and wasn’t sure how my fam­ily would re­act. He pushed me to take up act­ing lessons from him and even con­vinced my fa­ther. I ar­rived in Bom­bay and there’s been no look­ing back ever since,” says Rand­hawa. The ac­tor, who shot to fame with the very pop­u­lar soap opera Ka­reena-Ka­reena, says that tele­vi­sion of­fered her tremen­dous ex­po­sure and she learnt a lot on the sets, some­thing which she will value all her life. “It wasn’t just about act­ing but also about cam­era, edit­ing and pro­duc­tion.” Rand­hawa re­calls she was spend­ing 15 hours ev­ery day on TV sets for more than a year, some­thing which ex­hausted her. “That’s how things were those days. Now, the work­ing hours are more reg­u­lated.” Af­ter TV, the next step for the ac­tor was films, and she opted for Pun­jabi cin­ema. That was the time when Pun­jabi films were go­ing through a lean patch and ev­ery­body stressed that it wasn’t a great move on her part to leave suc­cess­ful TV shows and en­ter an alien ter­ri­tory. But Rand­hawa is happy that she did it, for it not only wet her feet in the gram­mar of cin­ema but also taught her how things worked on a big­ger can­vas. Her first Pun­jabi film was Man­nat with Jimmy Shergill, which she says was an awe­some ex­pe­ri­ence. “It was some­thing to­tally dif­fer­ent from tele­vi­sion. That’s when I re­alised that I had found the medium of my choice.” Now was the time for her to ex­plore the Hindi film ter­ri­tory. “I started with Chin­tuji. It may not have done well at the box of­fice, but it def­i­nitely gath­ered some great re­views. I am happy that people liked my work.” The ac­tor, who was praised for her role in Yamla Pagla Dee­wana where she was cast op­po­site Bobby Deol, says she was thrilled to work with the De­ols. “You know the kind of re­spect the De­ols en­joy in Pun­jab. Of course, it wasn’t easy and there were a num­ber of au­di­tion rounds I had to clear be­fore I was selected for the role.”

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