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Ayesha Dharkar on a cinematic odyssey
15th Feb 2001   20.04 IST
By N K Deoshi  

Ayesha Dharkar is having the time of her life working with some of the best directors on the international film circuit.

This dusky damsel forayed into international cinema at the tender age of nine with the French film "Manika: The girl who lived twice". Since then, Ayesha has won accolades for her roles in the films like "The Arabian Queen" and Santosh Sivan's "Terrorist".

Not at all enamored of the glamour of Bollywood, Ayesha lives life on her terms. An actress who keeps trotting the globe working with the likes of George Lucas and Ismail Merchant, Ayesha has carved out her own little niche.

Currently she is in Trinidad shooting for Ismail Merchant's "Mystic Masseur". The film, based on V.S. Naipaul's novel of the same title, has Ayesha playing the character Leela, wife of the main protagonist, the masseur (played by Asif Mandvi, a young Indian actor based in New York) whose life the film traces.

There are many aspects to Ayesha's character in the film, which she found "interesting and challenging to bring about". She reveals how challenging it was for her to identify with Naipaul's Leela-- a simple woman madly in love with her husband only because he can read and write while she can't. Besides this nuance, she had to authenticate the Trinidad accent to lend authenticity to her character.

The film, also casting Om Puri, Prayag Raj and Sakina Jaffery, is all but wrapped up. After this she will be shooting for George Lucas' "Star Wars".

Could she have asked for more? In such a short span, her life has turned out to be an odyssey of unforgettable experiences. Well, with the beauty and talent like hers, the whole world could be her oyster.