'Abhay Deol is a gem to work with,' says Jungle Cry actress Emily Shah

The American debutante gets candid about her Bollywood debut, Jungle Cry, co-actor, and more

Lipika VarmaUpdated: Thursday, June 02, 2022, 04:00 PM IST
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Pic: Instagram/emilyshahofficial

Emily Shah is all set to make her Bollywood debut opposite Abhay Deol in Jungle Cry. The film is directed by Sagar Ballary and began streaming on a digital platform on June 3. The Free Press Journal spoke exclusively to the actress.

Emily is all praise for co-star Abhay. “Honestly, Abhay is a gem to work with because he was so open to working in my ways, and I was also open to working in his ways. And so, for us, we thought that rehearsing too much would just spoil the essence of spontaneity or this unique, very realistic type of relationship and conversation. For that reason, we just decided that we would rehearse once and then take it from there. Every single take we did was different from the next,” she gushes.

The film is based on 12 kids from Odisha who went on to win the prestigious U14 Rugby World Cup in 2007, and it doesn’t have a romantic angle. “At the end of the day, it’s about the kids, and that’s one thing we had decided when we were writing the script… Do we want my character Roshni Thakkar and Rudra (played by Abhay) to have a romantic relationship? And ultimately, we decided that because the story is focused on the kids, it doesn’t matter whether we have a romantic relationship or not. Roshni was brought into the script to really soften the script, soften Rudra and be compassionate towards the kids, and that’s what we achieved,” she explains.

Working in Hollywood and Bollywood has been a very different experience for most actors. However, Emily doesn’t see a stark contrast. “It’s unique. If you’d asked me this question 10 years ago, I would have said it’s extremely different, but the way that Bollywood is going today is very much like Hollywood. Maybe it’s because all these studios are coming in and capitalising on the fact that India has such a powerful, strong entertainment industry hub. I do see that a lot of those ways from the western world are intertwining with the eastern world. So, there are agents and managers here now. Even makeup artists and hair artists have representation now, which never was the case back in the day. I do think Bollywood is transforming into the work ethic of Hollywood,” she shares.

Emily is excited about what the future has in store for her showbiz career. “During the pandemic, I took to writing. I took a couple of classes at UCLA in Los Angeles for screenwriting. I was able to develop a series as well as two feature films that I wrote. I am working again with Shabbir Boxwala on developing those,” she concludes.

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