While her contemporaries continue to chase fame in skyscraper heels and risqué dresses; newcomer Alaya Furniturewala (F) has glided on the covers of couture mags with her innate dressing style. Suddenly, she has become the talk of the town. Alaya makes her screen debut with Saif Ali Khan and Tabu in Nitin Kakkar’s Jawaani Jaaneman. In an age of nepotism and social media catfights, Alaya talks about her cinematic lineage (mom Pooja Bedi, grandparents Kabir Bedi-Protima Bedi) and her new film.
Did you always want to act in movies?
No, I wanted to be a director. I went to study movie direction in New York, but there was a class that taught acting as well. I fell in love with that class and told my folks that I wanted to learn acting. So I went back to learn acting at the New York Academy. After returning to Mumbai I took up acting and diction classes as well. I also learnt dance and gymnastics. I went ahead and learnt whatever I could to enhance my acting skills. I enjoyed the whole process very much. I also did lots of auditions and then Jawaani Jaaneman happened.
So will you stick to acting or move on to direction?
I enjoy being in front of the camera. Direction maybe at some point and time in future. As of now, I just want to do some good work.
Did your family lineage help you bag Jawaani Jaaneman?
Not directly, I guess. I heard about this film from my agency. They asked me to do the auditions. They liked my audition and I told my family. I was shortlisted and had to go to Kashmir to meet Nitin Sir (director Nitin Kakkar). I called my family and informed them that I have got the film. They congratulated me. I like to do things all by myself but I won’t deny that family lineage helps. There was no direct help from my family for this film.
You play Saif Ali Khan’s daughter in this film. What kind of a father is he in the movie?
He is a father who does not want to be a father at all. He is forced to become a father because he is a womaniser, a party animal who has been living this kind of life for 20 years. He refuses to grow up. Tabu mam is the mother. They have never lived together. They had a one-night stand. I think I should not disclose much (smiles).
What was your experience working with Saif and Tabu?
I was so scared and I told this to Saif sir. But Tabu and he are wonderful people. After the first day jitters, they made it very easygoing. Tabu ma’am is so nuanced with her skills. She is a warm and amazing person. I had a great time and learnt a lot from them.
The film has a bold approach towards dating and parenting. Did you ever meet your grandmother (Protima Bedi) who was very bold for her time?
I was very young when I lost her so I do not remember anything about her. I wear this ring all the time (shows ring on finger), which my grandmother gave to my mother. It’s a good luck charm. My mother gave this to me when I graduated from the New York Film Academy three years ago. I have never removed it even for a single day since.
Did your luck change when you put the ring on?
Actually, the day I wore it, everything went wrong. I fell sick, lots of bad things were happening to me, after which I removed it. My mother told me to keep it aside. She prayed and made me wear it again. I told her I would wear it only for a week but my life has gone from strength to strength after that day. I feel happy, determined, and focused now.
Is there any interesting or funny story that your mom told you about this ring when it was hers?
My mom told me it’s a powerful ring. She would tell me the story about how she lost it in random places and the ring found its way back to her. One time she was at a wedding with many people when this ring fell off. She called the hotel staff to find the ring but they denied having found any ring that day. She presumed it was lost. About six months later, she was discussing some jewellery with a friend when she mentioned losing the ring. Her friend immediately got up and brought the ring out from her closet. Her son had found the ring at the wedding.
Do you have any on-screen reservations?
I have not chalked out on the dos and don’ts yet. But maybe if the character demands bold scenes and if they are essential then I will decide at that point and time. I like to follow my impulses.