They say that there are very few great celebrities who are sometimes known as the “jack of various trades”. And, apparently, Kalpana Pandit is one among them. Well, if you are having a hard time figuring out the name, Kalpana has acted in pretty good number of Bollywood movies like Love Khichdi, Padmashree Laloo Prasad Yadav, Pyar Kiya Nahi Jata, Pran Jaye Par Shaan Na Jaye, Deha, and Anubhav.
An actor, independent producer, an entrepreneur, and a Board Certified Doctor – what more could have been expected from a celebrity? Kalpana Pandit has also served on the celebrity judge panel at multiple events in the US, notably “Miss India International 2011” in New Jersey, “Mrs. America 2012” in Tucson, Arizona, “Mrs. World 2013” in Guangzhou, China. She has also judged the Bollywood-based dance competition “Naach Revolution” in New Jersey in 2013. The passionate diva has rocked every sphere that she has set her foot in. Here are answers to some quick questions from the Mysore girl (precisely Nanjangud, Karnataka), who is practicing as a Physician in the US, in an IAD exclusive!
Please tell us about your passions?
I am simple person with lot of dreams in my eyes. My goal is to create classic films as an actor/ producer with timeless stories that multiple generations can watch, and also to spread awareness on Social and Medical issues with each film, so that we are able to touch every corner of the globe with important messages, but garbed in an entertaining commercial story line. Apart from movies, my other great passion is expanding my network marketing business with a global firm.
What pushed you to take up acting as a career?
Ever since I was a child, the larger than life, magical world of 70 mm movies drew me like a moth to a flame! (laughs) I reveled in getting completely absorbed into the mesmerizing world of fantasy created by the stories of Bollywood and they transported me to a world of mystery, music, dance, emotions, romance and action. After watching a movie, I would come home thoroughly energized.
As I grew… my education took precedence over everything and I became a doctor. But somewhere inside me laid the actor, waiting to express herself on the silver screen! Once I had completed my higher medical education, I decided to take up acting, and here I am talking to you! 🙂
You have your own production house. Tell us about your home banner and its inception?
Well, about 3 years ago, after acting in 12 feature films, I realized that I truly love the magical world of Cinema and wished for more creative control so that I could work hard at creating great stories of human interest. At that point, I decided to put more time and consistent effort into this amazing profession of movies. That was when I established my own Production Banner House of Pandit as a tribute to my illustrious Grand Father Sri B. V. Pandit of Nanjangud who was someone I treasured and respected as an ideal person. Since 2010, four movies have come out from my banner. The very successful, multiple award winning HIV/ AIDS awareness film Jo Jo Laali; a full-fledged Bollywood feature film, a timeless romantic thriller Janleva 555; two co-productions with Dreams on Frames: Panithuli (Tamil) and Tum Ho Yaara (Hindi). I am so proud that all of these films have been released and appreciated for their creative appeal.
Who and what inspires you?
All Human Beings inspire me. I love people. I love to make people happy watching my films. I love to create great stories on celluloid which will impact Humanity for the better but also bring in the “wow” factor which is possible only through the medium of film. So, every single time I get appreciation from my fans and well-wishers, I get inspired to work harder, to create better cinemas, and impact life positively as a whole.
Who are your icons in the cinema industry?
I have several global icons in the world of movies… From our very own industry, there is Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, a complete legend; Ms. Sridevi, who is a complete actress and is one of the finest artists in the history of Indian cinema. I love the work of Mr. Shah Rukh Khan, Mr. Aamir Khan, Mr. Salman Khan, Mr. Saif Ali Khan as well as Ranbir Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif.
In Hollywood, I am a big fan of all-time greats like Sean Connery, Julia Roberts, Demi Moore, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Angelina Jolie, George Clooney and many others. It is an endless list because each of these actors have tremendous strengths and screen presence in their roles.
Share with us about your unforgettable moments and joy of working with the greats.
Tons of great, unforgettable moments have happened to me because of cinemas. I was truly blessed to have worked in my very first film Gaja Gamini with the timeless legends, including Ms. Madhuri Dixit, Ms. Shabana Azmi, Mr. Naseeruddin Shah, Mr. Shah Rukh Khan, Ms. Farida Jalal, Ms. Shilpa Shirodkar under the direction of the great Artist/ Painter M. F. Hussain Sahab, Cinematography of Mr. Ashok Mehta and one of the best producers, Mr. Rikku Rakesh Nath and their family who treated a newcomer like me as their family member. I am ever grateful to them for this magnificent break they gave me!
Just standing quietly on the sets and observing all the legendary actors at work was one of the biggest learning experiences of my life. They were all so nice and wonderful to me even though I was a complete newcomer.
My second film Moksha was also a fabulous experience as I got to work with two stalwarts of cinema Mr. Arjun Rampal and Ms. Manisha Koirala. Again, this film is a classic because the Cinematography by Mr. Ashok Mehta is unparalleled. It was his dream project and I worked hard to do justice to the role he gave me. My dance number from Moksha, “Jaan Leva” is a blockbuster and is remembered even today! My Choreographer was the super-talented Mr. Longines Fernandez, who went on to create history with “Jai Ho” in Slumdog Millionaire.
Do you follow any changing trends or movement is terms of fashion?
Fashion is most appealing to me when “I” create a trend…. 🙂 I don’t follow trends. I create my own style based on the current phase in my life and my comfort! I believe that every single girl has an innate sense of fashion within her based on her own life experiences and should be creative within her own budget, and be unique and individual. Fashion is fun if it’s creative. It’s boring if you blindly follow trends! 🙂
Tell us some things that you’re working on?
I believe in creating timeless classic projects that can be watched forever by all. So that’s my goal and I know it’s a daunting task but I am starting small and growing in the right direction, one solid step at a time. Last year in 2013, I made my debut in the American acting arena with the short film The Chinaman as leading lady which debuted in the A3F Film Festival Top 20 in Phoenix Arizona and that was a landmark moment for me!
As to what is coming up… I love to announce things at the right time and would rather not blow my trumpet before concrete projects start flowing. All I can say is that I am excited about what’s cooking! 🙂
What would you say are some milestones that you’re especially proud of?
Of course, every single film, commercial and music video I have done is something I am immensely proud of and cherish, because these projects have made me what I am today!
Is there anything that you haven’t done yet, that you really are looking forward to?
I hope you are kidding with this question! (laughs) I am only a beginner. There is a long and difficult road ahead. The moment an artist feels she has done everything, it means she is on her way down. I feel I have only touched the tip of the artistic iceberg whether as an actor or a producer.
An actress, model and emergency physician, what is your favorite professional and why?
My favorite profession is “LIFE”! Is there anything more valuable, exciting and challenging as our day to day life no matter what profession we are in? I think everybody will agree with me on that one! For me each day I take with full gratitude to the Almighty and try to do the very best that I can do at that moment and I think that is all that we as humans have control over. Each day is a new adventure in whatever is given to me and I attempt to do a sincere job of it. In my work as an Emergency Physician, I pray that I have the fortitude and strength to save lives and help as many people as I can.
As a model, I strive towards creating ultimate glamor so that people can enjoy watching the beauty of the printed image. In my work as an actress, I work toward creating incredible interesting characters, which in some cases are inspired from real life and in some cases just fantasy.
I believe that as you achieve a goal, set a new one, and work towards it and your life will be smarter, challenging and rewarding!
What comes first in your mind if I ask you about your film production company House of Pandit, and any film you are coming up with?
I aim at providing a platform to high quality work for as many talented newcomers as possible. Yes, I would be honored to work with all-time greats as well, but my focus would be to help unearth great talent that needs limelight.
Working towards that vision, we first created Jo Jo Laali: A Heart Wrenching Lullaby; then Janleva 555, then co-produced Panithuli, and now Tum Ho Yaara. I am beyond thrilled and humbled to receive not one but THREE best actress awards for my first home production Jo Jo Laali, and not only that, the film itself has garnered 12 awards in the Indian film festival circuit! It was directed ably by Sandeep Malani who also directed Janleva 555. Please give us blessings as we are collaborating on the next co-production which we will reveal hopefully very soon. 🙂
Special appearance in Meri Jawani… want to say something about the song?
I was honored to film the super hit Mujra style dance number Meri Jawaani for the movie Pitaah. The sets were elaborately created in beautiful Panvel and the Choreographer was none other than the great legend Saroj Khan Masterji! We filmed steadily for five nights in a row! My designer for the beautiful outfits was Neeta Lullaji and I was so proud to work with such renowned names so early in my career. It was a great experience sharing screen space with an artist of world caliber Mr. Om Puriji and I will never forget this awesome experience thanks to Director Mahesh Manjrekar!
You worked with many top advertisements. As we’re Indian Ad Divas we want to know about the advertisements you have worked in and one of your memorable ads?
Oh, I absolutely adored the experience of working in TV advertisement campaigns! Although I was very busy with shooting my films, I always filmed my commercials on the free days between shoots. I worked for Mysore Sandal Talc, Dakshinotri, Ranipal Stain Off, Wheel Detergent, Nyle Shampoo, among others. We filmed Nyle Shampoo ads in the fabulous locales of New Zealand. I had an amazing time shooting there!!
Some more nostalgic videos to follow:
Ranipal Stain Off TVC:
Mysore Sandal Talc:
Hope you remember this Saamne music video:
Khuda Ke Liye Video: