“I would’ve been a lot more stressed had I known about that. I did not realise that it was Ajay’s first kiss.” This is what Polish model-turned-actress Erika Karkuszewska aka Erika Kaar had to say when we told her that she was the only co-star in Ajay Devgn’s 25-year long career, whom he has kissed on screen. Erika debuts in Bollywood with the star’s magnum opus Shivaay. One look at the film’s latest song Darkhast and the passion is evident. The steamy scenes have grabbed eyeballs. Talking about their chemistry on screen, she says, “When you have a meticulous director like him, you get comfortable. He took me through each character in detail. Once the story works, the chemistry does too.”Ajay posed the challenge of performing tough stunts and Erika, we hear, was spot on. “I had my share of mountain climbing, hanging from the tent and so on. We trained with German, Bulgarian and Indian technicians who prepped us before each stunt. Getting the fitness regime right was difficult. Muscle strength was pivotal and I had to work out hard to make it look like a cakewalk on screen.” Though the firang model, as she is fondly teased by the crew members, looks pliant, she describes herself as feisty. That is reiterated when she tells us, “I am here to stay. I hope to make a career in Bollywood. I want to do interesting roles, good films and lot of desi style dancing.” Slamming those who are quick to judge that models don’t make good actors, she retorts, “I have been a model as well as an actress and dare I say, I have been always told by my directors that I am a good actress. Models can, of course, act and possibly act better if they study the craft which has always been my focus. I’ll have a degree in acting this year when I graduate from my drama school in Poland.” With her limited knowledge of Bollywood, Erika has been a fan of Ajay’s wife Kajol; her film Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham is among her favourites. When the two came face-to-face during the film’s Bulgaria schedule, she was mesmerised by her energy. Erika says, “She has a smashing attitude. Fun, friendly and loving. Meeting her was a dream come true,” she gushes, adding, “Bollywood is perceived as a magical world of song, dance and drama. Many Indian films make it to the Polish screens. I am in the process of catching up.”
Bollywood imports
Over the last few years, foreign imports have found it easy to climb the ladder of success in Bollywood. With Katrina Kaif and Jacqueline Fernandez creating success stories, others like Elli Avram (Mickey Virus), Amy Jackson (Singh in Bliing), Caterina Murino (Fever), Claudia Ciesla (Kya Kool Hain Hum 3) and Mandana Karimi (KKH3) are amongst the ones who have made Bollywood sit up and notice them lately.