While she attributes her foray into movies a natural progression, having trained in music, dance and drama, Monica Dogra asserts that there are many reasons why she chose to debut in Kiran Rao’s Dhobi Ghat. “The first being that what Shai goes through is a similar experience as I went through after coming to Mumbai from New York,” she says.
The Maryland born gal goes on to say that although she aspired to make it to the movies, she didn’t anticipate as big a break as an Aamir Khan production with the actor himself. And not to forget an offbeat non-commercial subject when anyone else would have opted for a safe debut. “I suppose that’s because I’m not normal. Even though I’m a singer, I’ve never done playback. And while I’ve been offered many songs, I’ve only sang Dooriyaan for Break Ke Baad,” says Dogra who is otherwise known as the singer of Shaa’ir n Func, until she signed Dhobi Ghat.
“This is one movie where I felt that not being a part of it, would be a sin, it’s such a beautiful script,” says the actor who was first spotted by Rao on a magazine cover, and who she consequently contacted on Facebook. After the first audition, when she was called for the second, she recalls being shocked and surprised when informed that Khan would be present. “I couldn’t believe this was happening. A few days after I tested with him, I got the role,” Dogra says, and goes on to talk about the workshops with the filmmakers, Rao and Khan. “It was an awesome experience to have my opinions considered. It makes you feel more a part of the movie than a puppet. Besides, we also got an opportunity to know each other better,” recalls Dogra.
When asked about the most important lesson she learnt from Khan, the actor replies: “That your job is never finished. In spite of being such an accomplished actor-filmmaker, he’s constantly learning and wanting to be better. That chal, ho gaya moment never comes when working with Aamir,” she asserts, adding that her most thrilling moment came when the perfectionist praised her performance after she completed her dubbing. “Whatever Aamir says carries a lot of weight. So I’ll definitely carry that till the day I die,” she says.