File photo of Pooja Kumar (l) and Freida Pinto at the Tribeca Film Festival 2012 After-Party For Trishna, Hosted By Stolichnaya Vodka, at Hotel Chantelle, April 27, 2012, in New York City. (Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)
Indian American actor Pooja Kumar says there were not many great roles for South Asian actors in Hollywood a decade ago but there is a positive change now and they are offered meaningful characters today.
Kumar, who worked in Hollywood movies like “Man on a Ledge” and “Brawl in Cell Block 99,” and Tamil films like “Vishwaroopam” and “Vishwaroop 2” opposite actor Kamal Haasan, believes now is the great time for South Asian women.
“There were no roles for South Asian actors 10 years ago, we were doing small parts, say one-liners, or guest roles. But in the last five years things have changed, South Asian actors are seen as powerful (artist),” she told PTI.
“Even in America when our generation came in, there were writers, producers and artistes so we started creating content. Today, women are in a powerful position in real life and in reel life we are cast as lawyers, FBI agents here. It is a great time for South Asian women.”
Kumar says she never let lack of better roles discourage her.
“I worked as a receptionist in a real estate office to earn money and then in the evening, I would go to drama classes. Initially, it was tough but slowly things started opening up,” she says.
Kumar will be seen in “Vishwaroop 2” opposite Kamal Haasan.
“He is all about the story, character and making a good film,” she says.
The film was reportedly on hold due to financial crisis and pending work on VFX but it got revived in April last year after Haasan took over as the producer.
“We have given three, four years of life for a two-hour film, so we don’t want it to be banned or be in controversy. My job is to inspire people to go to watch cinema,” says Kumar when asked about the delay.
“Producers would know more about controversy, the delay. He (Haasan) has done so much for cinema, so we should support and encourage him as he has changed the Indian cinema, the change in technology that he has brought in.”
Kumar, 41, says the second part of “Vishwaroop” has more romance, drama, action and emotion.
“’Vishwaroop 2’ is an edgy film, it has action, drama and a diverse cast. I get to do special action sequences. I am excited about sharing it with people. We have worked hard on the film. It is exciting and fun for everyone,” she says.
Post the release of this film, Kumar, who was seen in Ranbir Kapoor-Priyanka Chopra starrer “Anjaana Anjaani” (2010), hopes to act in more Hindi movies.
“Now it is great time…I would love to do more Hindi films as there are different kinds of movies being made and (there are) different platforms as well.
“There have been offers in the past, you have to see the story, director, the location. As actors we go where the work is. I am open. I would like to work with Shoojit Sircar, Aanand L. Rai and a Rohit Shetty film will be awesome to do,” she says.