Monica Dogra, candidly accepts that when Kiran Rao first approached her to play Shai, in Dhobi Ghat, she grasped the opportunity with both hands. She knew well that it would bring a lot of visibility to her and her music band that she has been a part of since the last few years. Monica who has been a part of Shaa’ir n Func has toured more than 20 countries with her music and is all set to play an investment banker from New York who comes to Mumbai on a sabbatical, in the film.
The singer-turned-actor admits that since playing a photographer in Dhobi Ghat, she has taken an immense liking for the camera. She says, “I have always had an interest in photography. While working in the film, I have learned a lot.” In fact, she also states that two of the photographs that she clicked have been actually used in the film.
Monica found herself extremely lucky to have landed a role in Kiran Rao’s film, especially when she came to know that Aamir Khan was also acting in it. She recalls, “I feel so, so lucky. I don’t know what I had done to deserve this.” She goes on to add, “I feel like the music scene in India is quite niche. When I agreed to do this film, I knew it would increase my visibility as a musician and would also get me bigger shows. After all, it is everyone’s goal to grow bigger.”
Monica also says she was both excited and nervous to be acting alongside Aamir. She says, “When they auditioned me, I had no idea Aamir was also in the film. When you have names like Aamir and Kiran in the film, you already know what kind of influence and affluence it would bring to the movie.”
Monica who went to school to study acting and music finds herself very similar to her screen character Shai. She too returned from New York to discover several aspects of her own personality in Mumbai. She states, “I am equally adventurous and curious, just like Shai. I think I was cast for the same reason.”
Now that Dhobi Ghat is all set to release soon, Monica feels not only has the film shaped up great but its music is also soulful. A professional musician herself, she praises music director Gustavo Santaolalla’s contributions. “The film doesn’t have songs and dances. But yet, Gustavo has managed to create music wonderfully. The music is so melodious that many of my friends have memorised it completely.”