Although hers is a familiar face, Shenaz Treasury hasn’t been seen in too many in-your-face roles during her time in Bollywood. Perhaps best remembered for her role in Ishq Vishk with Shahid Kapoor and Amrita Rao, the model-turned-actress is back with a bang in Delhi Belly which releases on Friday. She first joined the world of TV in her teens and has been seen in many a TV commercial. Treasury has trained at Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute, as well as taken a course in writing.
Treasury (pictured holding Imran Khan’s arm in the photo) quite literally stumbled upon acting when she was approached by Ken Ghosh to be in Ishq Vishk. It was an incident of chance… and perhaps fate has a lot to do with it. I had a lovelt chat with Treasury as she gave me an insight into her character, Sonia, in Delhi Belly…
How would you describe your journey from a model to an actress?
For a couple of years, before MTV noticed me and made me a VJ, I was an actor in commercials. I wouldn’t call myself a model. That was when I was very young and in high school. I fell into this profession quite by accident and its been that way ever since. I didn’t plan to be an actor, it just happened. Ken Ghosh, the director of Ishq Vshk saw me at a bar in Bombay and asked me to audition for Ishq Vishk. I got the role. That was the easy part. The time in between Ishq Vishq and Delhi Belly, after MTV ended, was not so smooth. There were years of nothingness and frustration.
I had a stroke of luck again when I went to the US in 2010 and my friend’s agent sent me to audition for a soap called “One Life To Live”. I managed to book the role after a series of auditions and have been shooting regularly for the show since then. Life has changed; I now live in New York, my favorite city in the world and am answering your questions on the flight en route Las Vegas where I’m going for the Emmys.
Who or what remains an inspiration for you?
Tina Fey. I’m a big fan. She’s my role model. She’s funny, cute, writes and acts. I want to be Tina Fey. Who doesn’t?!
How did you land the role in Delhi Belly?
I was walking down Pali Hill in Bandra when someone from Kiran Rao’s office spotted me and asked me to audition for Dhobi Ghat. I went in and tested for it. Apparently Kiran saw my audition and called Aamir right away, asking him to see it. I wasn’t right for Dhobi Ghat but they thought I would be perfect to play Sonia in Delhi Belly. That night I got a call from Aamir’s office, I went in and auditioned for Delhi Belly the next day and a few weeks later, I was given the role.
Tell me a little about your role in the film?
My character’s name is Sonia. She comes from a privileged background. She’s well put together, every hair in place and perfectly manicured- all the time. She is Little Miss Proper. Sonia is the bossy, dominating girlfriend who plans everything. She knows what she wants and goes for it. She’s planned what date she’s getting married, what music will play, what lehnga she’s wearing, what date she’s having children, how many children she’ll have… everything to smallest detail.
I, on the other hand, am quite the opposite. I am so not proper and and can rarely even make a decision. Its frustrating to be me and was really exhilarating playing Sonia, someone who so in control.
How would you describe your experience whilst shooting for the movie?
FUN! I’m always happy to be on a film set.
Do you have any stories you can share whilst filming?
During rehearsal Abhinay Deo, the director saw a nail sticking out on the table and took my phone and started hitting the nail with the phone. I stared at him in disbelief but was so shocked I couldn’t get myself to say anything. Everyone was speechless. Turns out he thought it was a fake phone. He kept asking me why I didn’t stop him but I was so tongue-tied! It was funny.
Anyway, I kept that phone through the shoot, it still worked, just behaved a little psycho from time to time. One day, I had a 5am call time and the alarm on the phone did not go off. Of course, I kept sleeping. The crew tried calling and calling but my phone had just frozen. They finally ended up coming
to my house and waking me up. I was so upset at the time, it wasn’t in the least bit funny and of course Abhinay was mad at me. I went to the set without even showering and had one of the worst days, because I felt so guilty. But at the end of the day, Abhinay sent me a new phone with a cute note. “This phone doesn’t look fake.”
What are your personal hopes of the movie?
I’ve been in this business since I was a teenager. My first ad was when I was 16 years old, Gold Spot. The brand doesn’t even exist anymore! I started MTV at 19. The one thing I’ve learnt is not to get too carried away with anything or expect anything. I can easily be lying in the gutter with someone kicking mud in my face tomorrow as easily as I can float around the clouds with angels sprinkling fairy dust in my hair. So, I try to not hope or get too excited. Of course this is always not possible and in reality I am trying to curtail my enthusiasm. Okay, okay, I admit…that’s all in theory, I’m freakin’ exhilarated and think the movie will be the big next thing but sshh! I’m trying to be zen (laughs).
It seems this lady is ready for any possibility and perhaps this is the spirit one should have with a career in showbiz. I wish her well and hope her rendition of Sonia in Delhi Belly wins the audiences hearts as well as puts her firmly on the Bollywood map.