Everyone loves a good film land everyone enjoys stories from the heart! This one brings some flavor to the screen and we had a chance to chat with the lead actress in the film! Bazodee which comes out this August 5th will give you a reason to love Bollywood with Caribbean touch to it!
Anita Ponchouri (Natalie Perera), the dutiful Indian daughter of a deep-in-debt businessman (Kabir Bedi) is about to marry a wealthy Londoner (Staz Nair) when a chance encounter with local Trinidadian singer, Lee de Leon (Soca music star Machel Montano) sets things askew. In search of a muse, de Leon agrees to perform at the engagement party. Unable to deny their mutual attraction, and with the excitement of Carnival approaching, Anita must now choose between the answer to her family’s financial prayers and the possibility of real love.
Set on the vivid, colorful islands of Trinidad & Tobago and pulsing with the sensuous dance rhythms of soca music, BAZODEE is a new style Bollywood musical with a distinctly Caribbean island flavor.
Find out what Natalie Perera had to say about the film!
- How did you get the role for this film?
I was picked for the part of Anita in Bazodee after going through a fun audition process that included singing and acting. The script written by Claire Ince had a wonderful feel good factor that really excited me and I knew I’d get to work and sing with Machel Montano. I was super eager to be part of this project from the onset.
- Had you ever thought you were ever going to be part of a film that’s got some Caribbean Flavour to it?
I am British with Sri-Lankan heritage but when asked about my ethnic background people often place me as Trinidadian, Mauritian, South Indian and Sri Lankan therefore it did not come as a surprise when I was chosen to play a role living in the Caribbean. When I was working in Trinidad I felt very much at home among the local cast and crew not only looks-wise but also with the awesome sense of humour and values I found in the locals I was privileged to work closely with.
- How was it like working on set with Kabir Bedi and him playing as your father in the film?
Working with Kabir Bedi was a wonderful experience. He’s such a big name and yet so humble and friendly with me, giving me helpful tips that I will take with me into future projects. I first saw him in Octopussy with my father as a child and I thought ‘ if an Asian can be a bond villain maybe I too can be a Bond villain one day.’ He is an inspiration and the loveliest man and apparently everyone who has played his daughter has gone on to do very well so I hope that luck rubs off on me too.
- The film is called Baz’oh’dee which means – (Adj. Trinidadian Slang): A state of dizziness or confusion – often used with regards to love or infatuation. When you read the script for the first time did you ever think twice about doing the film?
Quite the opposite! I wanted this gig wholeheartedly. I saw a rare opportunity to give Islanders a voice in film and I jumped on it. It was the first time I came across an Asian females from small islands as the protagonist in a film . I found it unique and was excited by it. In addition I was thrilled to work with EMMY nominated film director Todd Kessler. He was the efficient captain of this crazy party ship and a wonderful leader at that. He made his cast feel confident and enthusiastic about the process throughout the shoot and was a joy.
- The film is also a musical piece which you have classical training in dance and music and art. What was the best part about working on this film?
It is hard for me to pick one thing that is best about this project as there were so many amazing experiences namely shooting in heavenly Trinidad and Tobago, but I think shooting J’ouvert is rated highly for me because I and Anita were experiencing it for the first time, and it’s the such a wonderful and fun part of Trinidadian culture. The cast and crew also had the opportunity to attend Soca fetes where Machel Montano was performing which is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before and was certainly a perk of the job.
- How was it like working with international music superstar Machel Montano?
Working with Machel was awesome. He is the life of the party, people adore him and he has an abundance of energy that he brought it to set. It was easy working with him and I felt we had good chemistry. I really had to up my game to work alongside someone as accomplished as him, but that’s all part and parcel of the excitement. He has spent his life performing on stage and in front of cameras and it was no surprise that he is a natural.
- You went to school in London and learned art, drama, film and much more. Will we be seeing a production made by you one day?
I certainly hope so! As well as acting I love to write scripts from my point of you and definitely plan on getting something of mine produced.
- Each film an actress does they are able to take back some education with them so that they can do even better for another film they might do. What have you learned from this film and what will you take back with you in terms of strengthening your craft?
I have learned many things whilst working on Bazodee; I have learned more about singing and recording. As a Londoner I’m pre-conditioned for cool and rainy environments however, after Bazodee and dancing on a beach in direct sunlight for days I now also know how to tackle extremely hot environments and most importantly reserve my energy in such conditions. Trinidadian culture is quite freeing and flamboyant and gave me an opportunity to discover and play in party-girl mode and I think I will definitely take that with me into future projects.
- What does Natalie like to do when she is not rehearsing or reading lines or even acting?
I love to go to the gym, discover and cook new meals, but the thing I love most is playing with and walking my dog, Bridget to relax after a day’s work.
- Fav Food: As a treat I love a good Lamb Biryani or SriLankan aubergine curry, cashew-nut curry and simple boiled brown rice.
- Fav Destination: I’d have to choose Rome because I studied Classics at University. It’s just jaw dropping with it’s sites.
- Fav Designer: I find the drama, glamour and grandeur of Mannish Malhotra’s designs appealing.
- Favorite Color- Sunset Orange.
- What’s playing in your play list? I listen to Sia quite a bit. I’m a fan of some of the classics like James Brown and Elvis Presley and I can’t get through a gym session without playing Machel Montano.
- Dancing or Acting? I love both forms of expression but am primarily an actress and would love to get the opportunity to combine the two again some day.
Bollywood or Hollywood? I am a fan of all genres of film. I will always choose good story telling that touches my heart or makes me laugh out loud no matter where it’s from or who made it.
Where can we find you on social media and any last thoughts on the film?
I can be found on Instagram: @natalienaomiperera or Twitter: @natalie_perera.