Shenaz Treasury's (Rama, OLTL) new movie, Delhi Belly opens in theaters in the U.S. and India on July 1, and the spicy, unpredictable, film will definitely cause some fireworks this holiday weekend! From the production house of acclaimed actor Aamir Khan (Lagaan) and starring Imran Khan, Kunaal Roy Kapur, and Vir Das, Treasury says it's a "guy film; a three guy film."
"It's not a Slumdog Millionaire or a Lagaan," chuckles Treasury, citing the two recent Oscar-nominated movies most associated with India. "I think it's good, because it'll show India in a way [that people haven't seen before]. It's not just showing the poverty in India, or just showing the bleakness. It's showing young people in India, and I think it's more international, how these kids behave. It's not a layered, deep movie," she shrugs. "It's a fun movie for young people to go see and have a good time and laugh: You go in, you watch it, you have a great time and you think, 'That was a fun experience.'"
Delhi Belly isn't as fun for its hapless characters, who get embroiled in a fast-paced adventure after Treasury's character, Sonia, unwittingly asks her boyfriend Tashi (Imran Khan) to deliver a smuggler's package. When the mysterious package doesn't make it to the kingpin (Vijay Raaz, Monsoon Wedding) awaiting its delivery, wackiness ensues! "I hope it hits the spot, because it's so modern; it's so current," says Poorna Jagannathan (Saya, ROYAL PAINS), who plays free-spirited reporter Menaka in the film. "You may think that your kid doesn't talk like this, but they do. You may think that your kid's not doing stuff like that, but they are. It's just a slice of life, at the end of the day."
"Sonia's so tame compared to Rama," reveals Treasury. "She's just a little spoiled. She's this little Delhi girl. She just wants to marry her boyfriend. What's wrong with that? Poorna's character is the sexy seductress in the film."
"I feel like there's been no character like this in an Indian film," adds Jagannathan of Menaka. "She's straightforward. No T&A. There's something very interesting about her, but it's personality-driven, not looks-driven." And both women's characters are very assertive and confident in their sexual power. "I thought it was very different because of it. Delhi Belly portrays female sexuality in a very … not empowering … but just the way it is. Both women know what they want and who they are. It's fantastic!"
Rife with swear words, frank handling of sexuality, and a very messy case of the titular "Delhi belly," the film is a departure from the traditional sweet, song-and-dance riddled Bollywood film. This is more Hangover than Hungama! "[Older viewers] will be shocked, and the young people will be like, 'Oh, maybe I should go to India. Maybe it's not all running around in fields and poverty,' " cracks Treasury.
"This… It doesn't open a different conversation, it blows in a different conversation!" agrees Jagannathan. "It's a paradigm shift. This is a definite part of India. Of course it's heightened, but it's the way people are. It's global youth."
Both actresses are braced for a slew of surprised reactions from the West, the East, and their parents! "My parents … I don't know how they're gonna react to this movie," admits Treasury. "I was trying to get them to go on a holiday at the same time [as the premiere]: 'Go to Europe! It's really nice this time of the year!' "
Jagannathan bonded with the mother of co-star Kunaal Roy Kapur well before the film's slated release. "And I'm like, 'Auntie, this is the last time you'll ever talk to me,' " recalls the actress. " 'You'll be cleaning your cutlery and sterilizing it after seeing this movie. This is the last time I'll see your beautiful face, before you cut me and your son off.'" As for her own mom, Jagannathan notes, "If it were anybody else's production, she'd be like, 'What are you doing?! You're disgracing the family!' But because it's Aamir Khan, she's like, 'You're disgracing the family, but it's okay. I'll let it go this time.' [laughs] "
Disgrace or not, it was "fun to shoot" for Treasury and good pal Jagannathan. "We got along so well that when I came to America, she was the one that introduced me to my agent!" reveals Treasury. "That's how I got OLTL, because he sent me for the OLTL audition. So, I can say I got OLTL because of Delhi Belly!"
And the American public gets an introduction to Delhi Belly because of OLTL!