Not much was revealed by Imtiaz Ali about his Punjabi girl in ‘Love Aaj Kal’ playing the character of Saif’s love interest as Harleen. The girl is a Brazilian model Giselle Monteiro.
Imtiaz Ali says, “She is actually a Brazilian girl named Giselle Monteiro. Why a Brazilian girl to play an old-fashioned Punjabi girl? Well, I was auditioning girls from all over the country to play the Punjabi girl opposite the Sikh Saif. I couldn’t find the right girl to play the 1965 ki ‘gali mein rehne wali ladki, purane zamane ki’.”
Giselle came to Ali through dress designer Anaita Shroff for the role of Jo, Saif’s Caucasian girlfriend in the second half. However, she landed up with the role of Harleen.
Giselle could not speak Hindi at all, but she had only two lines to speak, which were dubbed. Initially, Saif was apprehensive about the fact that he would look too old with a 18 year old girl but then he pulled it off completely. However, there was a complete mess when it came to a dancing sequence at the engagement.
“We wanted to put her through the paces with Sarojji (choreographer Saroj Khan), but it never happened. Sarojji didn’t have the time. For a foreigner to get the Indian ‘adaa’ right is very tough.
“We take for granted those nakhra-jhatka-matka, which we’ve seen our sisters perform at weddings. Indian girls have those ‘adaas’ without being trained. But for a foreigner it is tough,” said Ali.
Well, Giselle! Welcome to Bollywood and wish you a very bright future here!