She’s young, uninhibited and spontaneous… and set to debut in Shah Rukh Khan’s Always Kabhi Kabhi. Zoa Morani is not new to tinsel town. Daughter of producer Karim Morani, Zoa, who just turned 22, is expected to be one of the hottest and most promising Bollywood discoveries.
“I have always wanted to be an actor and knew that I would end up in the movies,” says Zoa confidently. “I've nurtured this wish since I was six. I would go for my father's shows fire up the stage and watch the stars dance. I loved the music and dance and promised myself that I would land there someday. At home, I would gather all the cousins and we would dress up in ghagra-cholis and imitate the stars. We used to have our own mini dance shows and talk about having our own film show,” she laughs.
Zoa was “in heaven” when a friend showed her pictures to director Roshan Abbas for a possible role in a film. And she “was floored” when SRK’s Red Chilli Productions offered her a part. “I didn’t know the film was being produced by SRK,” she says with excitement. “I play this girl Nandini. The film focuses on four students. played by Ali Fazal, Giselle Monteiro, Satyadev Dubey and me — who are in the last year of school and how one incident changes their lives forever.”
Like her film character, Zoa says she too was defiant till she was 15. “I’ve changed a lot since then but the rebelliousness is still there.” No wonder she has no inhibitions speaking about boyfriend Shamik Raja openly. “Shamik has been extremely supportive and is currently in India to support me. He’s a hedge-fund manager in Canada,” she states.
Zoa’s entry into films also involved some mutiny. Her parents were unhappy with her decision to join films. “My dad refused to let me be a part of the film world,” she says. And it was only in the face of her stubborn determination that “he relented”. Asked if having a famous dad makes it easy for her, Zoa says, “Having a famous father puts more pressure on me, I have to prove myself and not let my parents down.”
Zoa has worked behind the screen with Farah Khan in Om Shanti Om and Rajkumar Santoshi in Halla Bol. “Not that I wanted to become a director,” she explains, “But working behind the camera helps you learn the nuances of acting.” Subsequently, she joined Anupam Kher’s academy and Barry John’s acting classes too. Yet, “I was very nervous on my first day of shoot,” she smiles. “Though everyone on the set was very helpful and my sister, who is assistant to Roshan Abbas, was also there, I was jumpy. I even broke my heel six times while performing a dance sequence!”
Asked whom she would love to work with in the future, she says diplomatically, “There are so many I can’t just name one. For now, I’m just waiting for the release of Always Kabhi Kabhi and praying that it will work wonders for me.”