Tuesday, April 28, 2015

"Trapped in the Muck" - An Interview with Actress Puja Mohindra

Puja Mohindra is a writer/producer/director/actress who has made guest appearances on TV shows such as “All My Children”, “Ghost Whispers” and “Chicago Fire”. Today, she is here to discuss her latest film “Muck” which recently hit DVD and Blu-Ray last month.

1.Thank you for taking time for this interview. Before I get into “Muck”, tell my readers how you got into acting?

You're welcome. Thanks for sharing my story. I got into acting through dance. I studied and performed an Indian classical dance theater style called Bharata Natyam throughout my chlldhood and into my adolescence. I also was on the speech team in high school, where I competed in Comedic and Dramatic Duet Acting. Honestly, I wanted to play basketball or tennis in high school, but I wasn't good enough to make the team! So, theater, dance, and creative writing became my after-school activities that turned into my greatest passions. Happy accidents!

2. Were you a horror fan when growing up? If so, what were some of your favorite horror films?

Actually, I'm too much of a scaredy-cat for horror films! My favorite films are comedies, romances, and character-driven stories. I love historical, period pieces, as well.

3. I enjoyed “Muck for some of intense action scenes. How did you become involved with this film and tell me about your character in the film?

I auditioned for the film in a standard audition process. I do remember the director asking me if I would be willing to wade through a swamp at night in the dark and cold--so I was given fair warning about that!

My character is the lead character's love interest. She's from India, originally. She's fiesty, strong, funny, and innocent.

4. What was the like filming in Cape Cod, MA compared to other places?

We shoot mainly at night in Cape Code in September, so while it was beautiful, it was cold! Cape Cod has so much history and beauty. I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to explore it and share its gorgeous landscape in this film.

My other projects have been shot in big cities like Chicago and Los Angeles, where you're always up against city and street noise. It can sometimes interrupt the shoot and spoil good takes. Cape Cod was so peaceful, and we shot at night, so we didn't face these challenges with noise and sound, or at least not as much. It allowed us to be more productive and efficient with our time.

5. The action scenes were very intense. What was the filmmaking process like and filming some of the intense and gory scenes involving you?

I did a few stunts on my own. We had a fantastic Stunt Coordinator who made sure we were always safe and comfortable, as did Steve Wolsh, our director.

As for the gory scenes, I had to get comfortable with having blood thrown on my face, which is a lot like having a pie thrown in your face!

6. “Muck” marks the first film for director Steve Wolsh. What was it like working for him and would you work with him again?

I really enjoyed working with Steve. He's ambitious and extremely detail-oriented with a strong and specific vision. From the first time I read his script, I loved that he created an Indian character who is part of the ensemble, but her story isn't driven by her ethnicity. She's just one of the group of friends who experience these events-- a night gone horribly wrong--and her ethnicity has little to do with the story. I think that's really innovative of him and a much more accurate portrayal of our world, at least in America.

7. I thought the cast was very good in this film including yourself, what was it like working with your co-stars and were there any fun stories from the set?

The rest of the cast was fantastic. We spent two weeks together in Cape Cod, and we had a great time both on set and off. On set, my favorite memories were shooting a scene where we driving a stolen police car, and when we were shooting, the car kept breaking down. It was funny, but also a great example of movie magic. You can't tell in the finished film that the car had any problems.

8. Finally, what are some of your next films that everyone should keep an eye out for and where they can they find you on social media?

On social media, I'm on Instagram and Twitter at @pujamohindra, and on Facebook via my actor/artist page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Puja-Mohindra.

I can next be seen at Silk Road Rising Theater in Chicago, where I'm doing a workshop production of my one-woman-play, "A Great Dive." If you or any of your readers are in Chicago this August, we'd love for them to come out to the show. Tix are at: http://www.silkroadrising.org/live-theater/silk-road-solos/a-great-dive.

In addition to acting, I'm a writer and am currently working on a novel adaptation of the play, as well as a screenplay version of the story.

I want to thank you again for doing this interview and good luck with the success of "Muck" and your future projects. 

“Muck” is currently available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Anchor Bay Entertainment.

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