Shahrukh was a God-like figure to most: Kristina Akheeva
You are making a foray into acting with Yamla Pagla Deewana 2. Do you have any kind of formal training?
When I was very young, I was into dancing; I did ballroom dancing, went for championship and won loads of trophies. But I had to stop as it got too expensive—we had to buy gowns worth thousands of dollars apart from other things. But I loved dancing and had experimented with various forms. I also did several homemade movies by the age of 12 and wrote scripts for those. After 17, I did full-time acting in Melbourne for some time.
What brought you to India?
I first came to India on a backpacking trip way back in 2007 and travelled to Rajasthan, Kerala, Goa, Delhi, Agra, Chennai, and the Himalayas. When I used to stand in my balcony and look at the hills, the beauty of it fascinated me. I was a hippie. It was during this time I watched my Indian film, Om Shanti Om.
Did you have any idea about the lead actor who worked in that film?
Not really, I just remember walking into the theatre. It was while travelling afterwards that I asked some people about Shah Rukh Khan and I was surprised to know the kind of euphoria that surrounds him. People would call him King Khan, he was a God-like figure to most.
Tell us your experience working with the Deol family.
I find Sunny’s shyness cute. He is such a big guy and with the kind of films he has done, he has this image of a real tough guy—but he is so soft-spoken and shy! And when he is doing a romantic scene, this very thing works towards his advantage. Even Dharamji is so nice. On the first day of the shoot, he came to me and put his hand on my head and said: “Don’t worry, you are a star.” The gesture immediately made me feel comfortable.
What according to you would be the biggest hurdle for you in this industry?
Honestly, the biggest hurdle is to convince people to look past what they think. A lot of them refused to meet me, thinking I was no good since I don’t know Hindi. I totally get that, but when I got a chance I proved myself. Guess what, I have done my own dubbing in YPD2.