'My birthday was really special'

When The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel released in 2012, Tina Desai was a fresh face, untainted and unblemished by the world of Western cinema.

Although she had her go in Bollywood, with films like Yeh Faasley and Sahi Dhandhe Galat Bande, it was the comedy-drama that gave the necessary kickstart.

Desai, in her debut Hollywood film, had the opportunity to star with acting greats such as Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Alice Wilton and Lillete Dubey. Now, with The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on its way to the big screen, she is all set to charm audiences yet again in her role as ‘Sunaina’, a call centre worker and the girlfriend of ‘Sonny’, the protagonist of the movie (portrayed by Dev Patel).

Talking about the time she spent with the cast of the movie, she says,  “After the first film, we weren’t just colleagues, we became friends. We kept in touch even after the shoot and this helped us when we came back for the second film; we enjoyed the whole process a lot more.”
Being surrounded by method actors who are known to give their all to a role, Desai says she has grown as a professional because of them.

“Each and every one of them was so committed - they gave their all to each scene and even when the camera wasn't rolling, they didn’t stop the act. Even if they felt cold, they kept going. I was inspired by them.”

What were some of the best memories she had while shooting the films? “Everyday was amazing! We would wrap up the shoot and stay on the sets to talk. No one wanted to go back to the hotel because there was nothing to do there. But my birthday was really special because I got extra attention. My trailer was filled with balloons and I got two cakes - one for lunch and another one in the evening. And each of the cast members gave me gifts (which I don't want to talk about).”
Desai calls the whole experience “spontaneous” as
she describes one of her favourite scenes.

“John (Madden), the director, decided to have a dance number and didn’t tell anyone about it until half an hour before. It was child-like because some of them couldn't dance,” she wraps up.
Ananya Revanna

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