Iranian-German actor Elnaaz Norouzi turned a number of heads with her class act as Jameela in Sacred Games. She has also worked as a supermodel for international brands while simultaneously making waves in regional Punjabi cinema. In her kitty are a slew of exciting projects including one where she is all set to repeat her crackling chemistry with Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Excerpts from the interview:
How has life changed since Sacred Games?
Life has changed a lot after Sacred Games. Before the show, producers and filmmakers didn’t think of me as an actor but only as a pretty foreign model. The show helped me break that perception people had about me. Often, the first films are not viewed by many people, but Sacred Games was an international success as well. So, that opened a lot of doors for me.
Tell us about your new project, Sangeen, with Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
Sangeen has been fabulous. I just loved working with Nawaz sir again. It is such a crazy thriller and something I always wanted to do. It was my dream character and script. I just cannot wait for it to be ready for release.
Nawaz sir’s style of acting is incredible. I just have to look at him and I learn so much from him. I can’t really explain but the way he is on set is simply a lovely experience. We have worked together in the past. So, there already was great chemistry between us. We both enjoy being around each other and working with each other. The chemistry on screen is pretty apparent.
What prompted you to say yes to Hello Charlie?
It was a tempting offer because of the fact that senior director Pankaj Saraswat and Excel Entertainment were associated with the project. Another big reason was the script. When I read the script, I realised if you remove Mona from the story there won’t be a Hello Charlie. She is the driving force of the whole narration. Since my character didn’t just demand me to look only pretty and was pivotal to the story, I knew I had to do it.
Has Bollywood been able to look at women beyond their looks?
For a long time, I think Bollywood actually refused to look at women beyond their looks. But things are changing now and for the better. Today, Bollywood is looking at women differently for sure. That is something I am glad about.
Do you feel any pressure to meet beauty standards at all times?
Sadly, the answer is yes! We are made to wear thousands of hair extensions because that’s a particular beauty standard a heroine is supposed to meet. One expects an actress to have full length hair and look great all the time. All these apps are being made to make your body look thinner and more attractive. Everything can be edited and nothing you see on social media is real. Even actresses feel this pressure. Just imagine how young girls feel, since they are being made to believe that they have to meet these unrealistic beauty standards. It is unfortunate and I wish there was a way to change that.
How have you dealt with fashion police?
On the contrary, my fashion game is really strong. My lift looks on Instagram are pretty famous now. I have a whole highlight section of my lift looks and fashion since I do all the styling by myself. So, till now I haven’t dealt with the fashion police and I hope I won’t have to deal with them in future as well. But you never know, no one in Bollywood has actually been safe from fashion police.