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I am not dating Tiger Shroff

She’s as pretty as a picture. Well, almost, because Disha Patani is prettier than all her pictures you have seen. She is demure and dainty too, with a dreamy haze softly settling on her brown eyes. But the gal is made of strong stuff. The kind you need to make larger-than-life dreams come true. She once imagined she’d be an Air Forcepilot, but the arclights wooed her and Bollywood beckoned. Only three years in the city of dreams, and she’s already done an international film with Jackie Chan and is awaiting the release of her first Bollywood film ‘MS Dhoni – The Untold Story’. And of course, she’s been the talk of the town for supposedly dating Tiger Shroff. In her first full-blown interview, she sits pretty and tells me all about living a life with starry dreams. And yes, at the end of it, pilot or not, she’ll still be flying.

Disha

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You are very new to Bollywood. Did anyone help you get a foot into the door?
Well, I have had no one showing me the way around here. I have auditioned for everything that I have got, yes of course, I have been lucky too. I know that there is no easy way here, and have worked for every bit of it. I came to Mumbai when I was 19, and I didn’t know anything or anybody. You know how it is when you don’t come from a filmi background, and your family doesn’t know anyone here. My father is an ACP and my brother is a captain in the Indian Army, so my whole life before this has been drastically different. When I started out I didn’t know anything about acting. I am a shy person, so facing the camera was a big deal for me. I dropped my inhibitions and learnt a lot about acting while auditioning for roles and commercials. Also, during the last three years while I was struggling to be an actress I realised how much I really wanted it. I love the camera, and the only time I am not shy is when I am facing it. I love dancing too, though interestingly, I feel more comfortable dancing in front of the camera than in front of people.

But you didn’t always want to be an actress, right?
Yes, while growing up I thought I would be an Air Force pilot. I guess it is also because of my upbringing. I come from a family where most people are in the civil services. So I was tuned to think that way. I always wanted to be a strong and independent woman and I think I am. I grew up doing mostly everything that boys could do and I have a tough backbone.

Your parents didn’t resist your choice to be a part of the glam industry?
In the beginning when I told my parents that I wanted to be an actress they were confused, but gradually they got used to the idea. Since the time I moved to Mumbai, I haven’t asked them for anything, so they are proud of how I am taking care of myself. I live in an apartment with other firangi models; some of them are as young as 15-16 years old. They come from different countries and don’t know English too well, yet, they manage to work here and live by themselves. There is so much to learn from them. We all do our own work like cooking, laundry, etc. So basically, I am living the life of an actor who is just starting out (smiles).

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‘MS Dhoni – An Untold Story’ is your first Bollywood film. Did Sushant Singh Rajput bowl you over?
He is so adorable. I remember that our first day of shoot was a romantic song, and it was also the first time when I met him. It is a wee bit awkward when you have just met someone and you have to start shooting a romantic scene right away. But Sushant was really cool and friendly, and I guess we bonded well as both of us are Rajputs and we come from similar backgrounds.

What about the international film with Jackie Chan? How did you bag that?
I auditioned for the role. I think it was an open audition for a lot of girls in Mumbai. They gave me a long scene and asked me if I could do action. I showed them my gymnastics videos too. I used to really look up to Jackie Chan. So for me it’s like a dream come true; I never thought in my wildest dreams that one day I would be doing an action film (‘Kung Fu Yoga’) with him. When I met him I wasn’t intimidated, instead I was just terribly excited. He is a legend, but when you see him you will know how grounded he is. Every day he would get cake, ice cream or chocolates for everyone on the set, including the spot boy and light man. He loves feeding people. He told me that he has never been on a vacation in his entire life because he works every day. While we were shooting for the movie, he had simultaneously completed three other films. He loves telling stories and sharing his experiences — with full on drama and action. I would listen to his stories in awe, like the way you listen to stories as a child. Jackie Chan is the best storyteller on this planet.

You made news even before your Bollywood debut. Everyone believes that you are Tiger Shroff’s girlfriend?
I think because I am a newcomer, I am written about for the wrong reasons. Nobody knows me; no one knows what I am doing, so when they see me with someone that is the only story that they have about me. They have seen me with Tiger, so they linked us. Tomorrow, if they see me having dinner with Sushant, they will link us too. I don’t give so much importance to what people say, but I don’t want to be spoken about only because of the people I hang out with.

So are you dating Tiger Shroff?
I am not dating Tiger Shroff; we are good friends (smiles).

Apparently, you were supposed to do ‘Baaghi’ with him?
No, I was never supposed to do ‘Baaghi’ with him, but there was another film that I was supposed to do with Tiger. Talks are still on but nothing is confirmed yet.

Did Tiger’s passion for martial arts rub off on you?
I started gymnastics because I used to watch his team called Team Tiger Shroff. I first saw them on Instagram and I was interested in joining them, so he got me a trainer and that’s how I started learning. Tiger Shroff is an amazing dancer. Nobody can dance with him, it’s a torture to dance or stand next to him and match his moves. I have my own teacher and he has his own, but sometimes, we get together with friends to practise some dance routines.

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Have you made more friends in Bollywood?

I haven’t made any friends. Other than Tiger, I only know Sushant for now. I am not outgoing and I am too shy to socialise. My daily routine is set — I wake up and go for gymnastics, then dance class, gym and come back home. That’s my life. I am very boring. I can’t even remember the last time that I partied; it was probably when I was 19. I like dancing but not in crowded clubs. I would rather dance alone than go to a club. I also don’t drink, so for me there is not much point going out partying.

Other than Tiger, has any other actor in Bollywood impressed you with their dancing style?
 I like Priyanka Chopra and Katrina Kaif, though my style is more hip hop. When you start dancing you find your own groove and style, so I think this is my style. I follow dancers like Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce as they are in my zone, but when it comes to Indian dancing I am a huge Madhuri Dixit fan.

you look up to Priyanka Chopra as a role model, right?

Yes, I love Priyanka, she’s amazing and she can do everything. But I don’t want to be another Priyanka Chopra. I want to make my own identity

I haven’t made any friends. Other than Tiger, I only know Sushant for now. I am not outgoing and I am too shy to socialise. My daily routine is set — I wake up and go for gymnastics, then dance class, gym and come back home. That’s my life. I am very boring. I can’t even remember the last time that I partied; it was probably when I was 19. I like dancing but not in crowded clubs. I would rather dance alone than go to a club. I also don’t drink, so for me there is not much point going out partying.

Other than Tiger, has any other actor in Bollywood impressed you with their dancing style?

I like Priyanka Chopra and Katrina Kaif, though my style is more hip hop. When you start dancing you find your own groove and style, so I think this is my style. I follow dancers like Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce as they are in my zone, but when it comes to Indian dancing I am a huge Madhuri Dixit fan.

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