Born in Iran and raised in Germany, Elnaaz Norouzi rose to prominence in India with her impressive turn as a calculating Bollywood actress Zoya Mirza in Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane’s web series Sacred Games. The actress has since then featured in two successful music videos– Made In India and Naagin Jaise Kamar Hila– and appeared in a starring role alongside Kunal Kemmu in Ken Ghosh’s Abhay. However, it’s not been an easy journey for Elnaaz who says that she “wasn’t really welcomed” in the industry.
“I’m not going to mince my words. People welcome you as a human being is very different from welcoming you into the whole industry and saying, ‘we are going to take care of you.’ It wasn’t like that. I wasn’t welcomed. I can openly say that it’s been a hard struggle and it still is,” says Elnaaz.
Describing her struggle and experiences of being an outsider in Bollywood, Elnaaz says, “I still need to fight for small things that any other actor would not have to fight for because I’m an outsider or maybe a foreigner or because I’m a better target than anyone else who is maybe an Indian or from the industry. I think I was eventually welcomed because I worked really hard on my acting and I give myself that credit because if I hadn’t worked hard enough on my acting and my language, I wouldn’t have been welcomed at all. The reason why I’m getting all these offers is that people see the talent in me and they want to work with me.”
The actress is currently gearing up for the digital release of ‘Hello Charlie’ on Amazon Prime Video on April 9. The film, also starring Aadar Jain and Jackie Shroff, is an adventure comedy of a young simpleton (Charlie) from a small town who is given the task of transporting a gorilla (Toto) from Mumbai to Diu. A series of unexpected events unfolds along the way.
Talking about her experience working in the film, Elnaaz says, “It’s a situational comedy and the best part about it is that none of us really tried being funny. I don’t like it when you try to act the obvious, be it comedy or any other genre. Subtlety does it for me the most and that’s why I liked this film.”
On collaborating with Aadar and Jackie Shroff, Elnazz says, “I really loved working with Aadar. He is a gentleman, well-spoken, and so lovely to be around. He is one of those people who speak very little but when you get to know them you realise how lovely they are. And, working with Jackie sir was like a dream come true. He is an absolute legend. I just learnt so much being around him.”