“Showman’ Feroz Khan-sir who discovered me, had a zestful passion for everything; treated newcomers with dignity,”recalls stunning model-actress Pinky Harwani ( ex-CBFC member) in an exclusive interview
You were born and based in Denmark as a foreign bank executive who had specialized in finance management. What made you decide to deviate into movie-acting that too with Feroz Khan’s movie ‘Janasheen’ (2003) as second lead ?
It was a childhood dream to be in the movies. After my initial stint in the corporate-foreign-banking industry, I decided to pursue my dream of acting with no regrets. I auditioned for Feroz Khan-Sir and got the impactful part in ‘Janasheen’.
Pinky, would you briefly share fond memories of working with ‘showman’ Feroz Khan ?
Feroz Khan Sir loved to live life King-size. Every day was always a celebration with the generous, caring yet classy Feroz Khan-sir. A larger-than-life character, in terms of his energy, persona, style and swag-mannerisms. Innovative and adventurous, he had a relentless passion for life and was ahead of his times. The day he auditioned me, he called me up on the phone to reveal the good news and said in his baritone voice—‘You are in Baby’. Initially, I mistook it for a prank call. There certainly will not be another iconic and down-to-earth personality like Feroz Khan-sir in the industry. Coincidentally, I was just remembering him as it was his 81st Birthday, on 25th Sept.
Since your entrepreneur dad Mangharam Harwani co-produced ‘PyarKaTarana’ (1993) with legendary Dev Anand, did you also get acting offers, later on, from star-maker Devsaab ?
Yes I did ! I first faced the camera for a photo-shoot and audition for Dev Anand-Sir who wanted to launch me. But at that time and rightfully so, Dev-saab felt I was too young for my launch.
With your kind of stunning looks and shapely figure—Pinky, why had you chosen to act in just five Hindi movies !?
Post-‘Janasheen’, I went through a disheartening phase, as I realized, that I was spending more money than I was earning in this industry. Furthermore, the roles offered were not the quality I expected. Which is why I refrained from the acting space.
How do you deal with romantic heart-breaks ? I derive strength from inner healing and channelizing my energies into a more positive way, such as focusing on myself, my work and self improvement. Being with close friends and family surely helps. I believe, what does not kill you– makes you stronger !
How has been your experience while being on the Advisory Panel Member of the CBFC (aka Censor Board) ?
It has been a very fulfilling experience to work with the CBFC. I have enjoyed my stint as a panel member. I have learnt that there are diverse sentiments and perspectives in a large country like India, which make it a challenging yet fascinating job. What may be acceptable in tier 1 cities may not be the same in tier 2 cities and vice-versa.
You are known for your frank, radical views on the current certification categories of the CBFC. Comment.
I feel we need to be more ‘progressive’ as opposed to being regressive, while certifying and while recommending deletions. India has taken cinema and its content to a global level with the OTT boom and achieved success. We should keep that in mind, while making content. That said, if something is inappropriate from a fundamental point of view, the censor board should diligently do its job.
Besides movies and modeling, are you also game for being featured in short-films, TV shows and music-videos?
Yes – if the content/script is of a certain stature and interest— then why not.
Would you consider offers from OTT web-series, as most of them have explicitly bold content with brazen skin-show scenes.?
I feel that the opportunity needs to be of a certain level of respect, to be taken on, rather than just for titillation and obscenity.
Do you feel that nepotism and ‘casting couch’ syndrome prevent genuine deserving talents from getting their big-breaks in showbiz ?
I feel if you are genuinely talented, nothing can stop you from achieving success. It is a combination of talent, perseverance and staying true to your goals and objectives. Across different spectrums of industries there are similar challenges. But it is up to your own efforts to overcome them.
Pinky, what do you look forward to work-wise, during ( next year ) 2021 ?
For the last four years, I have been actively spreading health and wellness through promoting Japanese Kangen water ionizers made by a company called Enagic. To boost our immunity I feel it is necessary to consume water which is full of antioxidants and is alkalized. I am thrilled to continuously expandthis aspect, especially as Covid-19 has made our health a priority. In addition to that, I am always open to continuing work with the CBFC and of course the Entertainment Media.