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'I wasn't stalking Nagesh'

September 21, 2006
Gul found the film fantastic and, after getting the director's number, began calling him. Quite frequently. "I wasn't really stalking him, but I really wanted to work with him. He must get these requests all the time, so maybe he was putting me off," she jokes. Finally, he talked about Dor. "I immediately told him I'd like to test for the film. Nagesh is completely true to the cast his script demands, so he would never compromise."

Dor is the story of Zeenat, an independent, liberated girl from rural Rajasthan, and how a particular incident forces her to meet a girl called Meera. The film has two female leads, and Gul tested for both roles. She was initially cast as Meera (the role eventually going to Ayesha Takia), but always preferred Zeenat. "She is a more spirited character," says Gul, "and I just had to play her."

But it wasn't easy. "The way Nagesh sketched her out, she was a very difficult character. Very liberated, somebody who knows what she wants and how to get it."

Zeenat had a love marriage. She's very outspoken but knows her limits -- in terms of respect for elders, etc. She is fiercely independent, but also innocent and vulnerable, with a degree of self-doubt. "Circumstances force her into going on this journey," says Gul. "She doesn't know anything about Meera, or where she lives. All she knows is that this girl lives in Rajasthan, which is a pretty big state! But she takes a spur of the moment decision, gets up and leaves. She is filled with hope and apprehension, faith and, ultimately, resignation."

Meera, on the other hand, is a very simple girl, living in an orthodox family. Zeenat, with her gamut of emotions, seemed more of a challenge to Gul. "Zeenat is a nice girl, but has a concealed agenda, an ulterior motive, and all her emotions -- despair, anger, guilt, and hope -- have to come out constantly."

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