‘I'M PROUD OF MY ITEM NUMBERS’

She's hot, she's got the oomph that's got Bollywood to sit up and take notice and is known as the best import 'item girl', a term she loves immensely. That's Nigar Khan for you — but unlike the other 'items' she struts her stuff with confidence...

By Blessing Johnson (Staff Reporter)

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Published: Sat 23 Apr 2005, 12:01 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:49 PM

— she's got a bachelor's in advertising and marketing, a master's in international business and speaks Persian, Turkish, Norwegian, English and, of course, Hindi.

Nigar was in the city to take part in a show with Daler Mehndi. City Times caught up with Nigar at the Regent Palace Hotel at Bur Dubai. She talked about her life, family, films and the visa episode that made headlines. Excerpts:

Tell us about the immigration problem you had with the Indian authorities.

I was very hurt. I love India and the Indian people, the culture and that is why I married an Indian. I was very hurt by what happened. I was sad because, the person who was incharge, Deven Bharati at the Foreign Registration Office, he was guiding me the whole way. They gave me and ‘X visa', saying that I could work on its strength, later they told me that I was on a wrong visa. When I protested, he told me that I couldn't stay in the country. My marriage or marriage papers didn't make a difference either, though they were stamped by the Indian government.

It was traumatic for me, as I was taken to a room and asked to sign some papers. I just wanted my lawyer. If I had done something wrong they should've taken me to court or put me in jail but keeping me in a room was pathetic. Then he said 'I don't want you here'. They dragged me into a taxi and four people dragged me even at the airport. I was shivering, crying and very scared. Do you think I need four people to take me somewhere? Anyway I want to put this episode behind me and start afresh.

Where was your husband when you were going through all this?

He was with me all through. We always went to the Foreign Registration Office together.

But you could've just gone back on the proper visa.

No, the Indian embassy in Norway is refusing me a visa now. My lawyers are looking into it. My husband is also looking into it — how can they keep two married people apart?

Why are you talking to the media about this episode every chance you get?

I just do not want anyone else to go through what I have gone through what I have.

I understand you are well educated too.

I have a master’s degree in advertising and marketing, a master's in international business and also got an award in business from the business school.

Then how come you landed in Bollywood?

I was modelling since I was 12 years old. Acting, dancing and theatre were my electives in school. When I was studying at the university in Australia, I had a lot of Indian friends, that's how I came close to India. I love the food, culture and people.

When did you pick up Hindi?

After I came to India two years ago. I got a lot of support from everyone around me. I love Bollywood because I was accepted there and was also nominated for an award in my first movie. I learnt the language from my make-up artist, the cook and the driver. Not from tutors. I think it’s my passion for the country, which made me learn the language. And then I got movies, I did five of them.

After the immigration episode, have you got any movie offers?

Oh yes, producers are all willing to go outside the country and shoot. They know my work and want to work with me. Also, I'm getting a lot of offers from International filmmakers from English to Italian movies. The immigration case made news all over the world.

Do you think you're getting these international offers because of the immigration episode?

No, they knew about me from before. I've done five movies and people know my work.

But then, aren't you successful because of your skin show?

No, there are thousands of girls going to India with a dream, how can I be different from them? That is not the only thing to me, my biggest fans are the kids... they don't see my skin show and appreciate me. It's my talent that shows through. In any case I'm very comfortable doing it — I had won a swimsuit contest when I was in University.

So you think you have talent.

I do. I have a passion to excel and in any case, why else would I have a fan following? If people like what I do, it constitutes as talent ... and I'm the most downloaded girl on the Internet.

But don't you think people download your pictures because they are revealing, where does talent come in?

Well, look at it this way; if I did not have talent, I wouldn't have got international film offers. The number of Bollywood artists working in Hollywood is negligible. It's very difficult to get offers and get accepted in the international market.

But people still call you an item bomb.

Yeah, I think I was very good in my item numbers. Those were the first ones I did and personally, there's nothing wrong for being known for doing item numbers. I love doing item numbers and it's not about just looks. The audience is not stupid, if you're not good, they throw you out. I worked hard and I'm proud of my item numbers.

Is that your only strength for working in Bollywood?

Well, I always believed in myself. I loved what I'm doing and also have a lot of fan following, which is my greatest strength now. I never came into this line for the glamour, it's my passion. I enjoy every minute of it.

Tell us about your family.

I have two sisters who are as hard working as me, they are eighteen and thirteen.

Would you encourage them to follow your footsteps?

I would encourage them to complete their studies first. They also like what I do, so it's up to them. They're like me — they love to talk, dance and act.

You've come up with item numbers, how long do you think you can go on with them?

Look, my goal is not that I want to show the most skin or I want to look sexy. I dress in what I feel comfortable in. I love wearing short skirts in real life and so also in a movie. I am still young and like to wear lot of colourful dresses. It's not that I am consciously trying to portray a sexy image, though there's nothing wrong in it.

Which are your favourite item numbers?

I love ishq khudai and chal hat and that's because as a child I had grown up watching the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit, I loved the way a human being interacts with cartoon characters and always dreamt of doing it and when I got this offer I was ecstatic.

What are your immediate plans?

I want to be back in India with my husband.



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