Monica Gill, the Punjabi Kudi who was Miss India USA 2013 and Miss India Worldwide 2014, kicked off her career in India as a participant on MTV India’s Next Top Model in 2015. She then made her acting debut in Punjabi cinema with Diljit Dosanjh starrer Ambarsariya, and shared the screen space with him again in Sardaarji 2.
Monica is all set to make her debut in Bollywood opposite comedy king Kapil Sharma in Firangi. In this interview, the actor talks about her dreams, aspirations and Kapil Sharma.
Q. How was it working with Kapil Sharma? Is he funny in real lif?
Working with Kapil was a lot of fun. He doesn’t treat people differently. Kapil and the whole K9 team treated us so well. They don’t differentiate between any talent, and everybody is so warm.
Kapil was going through depression. He has spoken about it extensively during the trailer launch and while promoting the film. I don’t think it is fair for me to comment on it. But yes, his health issues are legitimate.
Q. From studying at the University of Massachusetts to becoming an Indian actor. What drove you to do it all?
Acting happened by accident actually. I graduated in biology and psychology, and did my masters in women studies. I had done extensive modelling during high school and had won beauty pageants also. So, one of my uncle’s suggested that I try my luck in India. I wanted to do some modelling while I waited for my admission for further specialisation. So, I came down to Mumbai for a six-month break and did little modelling. That’s when I was introduced to the producer of Ambarsariya. They liked my look and the way I spoke in Punjabi, but then Ambarsariya got delayed. But I was fine with it as I was travelling a lot, and in 2015 they decided to shoot Kaptaan with me and Gippy Grewal. Immediately after Kaptaan, Ambarsariya started, and post that Diljit recommended me for Sardaarji 2. So, I had three big Punjabi releases in 2016. Working with Diljit was also a great experience as he is very serious about his work and his vision is intense. He is someone who knows he is talented and works hard to make it work. I have so much respect for that man. His work ethics are so strong.
Q. You chose to act over using your educational qualifications for a job. Since Indian parents don’t really look up to arts and acting, how did your family react?
You are absolutely correct. My extended family had a huge issue as I come from a Punjabi family. So, a girl needs to be married before moving out of the house. However, thankfully my dad is a well-educated man and he trusted me with my choices. My mom just wanted me to work with good people, people I am safe with.
Q. How easy or difficult was it for you to find a house in Mumbai? Many single female actors have faced difficulties.
It was insane. They needed my father’s name and signatures for everything. The patriarchy here is disgusting. I think a woman should be completely on her own. Women don’t need their husbands or fathers. I think my father knew the kind of issues I’d face here. So, he came here and helped me out with all the paperwork and preps. That was kind of upsetting. I have been in the USA for a long time, so we are brought up in a way that we don’t need anyone.
Q. Now that you are here, what kind of scripts are you reading and what is your dream role?
I think the Mahabharata is so interesting and intriguing. There are so many stories to it, I would love to play Draupadi in a movie, if there is one made on the Mahabharata. I am reading a few scripts, and you’ll hear about it very soon.