Actor Seema Rahmani says she does not view "Sins", which dwells on a forbidden relationship between a
Catholic priest and his disciple, as a stepping stone to Hindi films.
"I got into it with my eyes wide open. I don't look at 'Sins' as a stepping stone into Hindi films at all. It isn't even in Hindi!
"I hope people appreciate my work. It's a role that meant a lot to me. I'm a sucker for true stories. I like to go into the reality of the human situation," tells Seema.
Seema is surprised by the protests by a section of the Christian community.
"They hadn't even seen the movie! Not that it would make any difference. Those who make up their minds from beforehand don't revise their opinions even if they have to. I don't want to blame anyone. But these protestors are standing by beliefs that have lost relevance over a period of time."
Seema doesn't agree that 'Sins' goes beyond conventional cinema.
"Whether it's a married man having an affair or a priest who betrays his religion to have an affair, they're still in the same extra-marital situation, except that the 'wife' (the church) in 'Sins' is far more powerful."
Seema is sure about the intentions of "Sins".
"People are objecting to things they haven't seen. People have problems with the priest's cassock and a crucifix... We're talking about one priest who has sinned as per his Catholic religion where it's a sin to sleep with a woman."
But all said and done there's a lot of nudity in "Sins".
"I had no qualms about doing them," she shoots back.
"The scenes flowed from the script. And honestly speaking, I see a lot more happening in these music videos. However, I do agree that the sort of lovemaking scenes seen in 'Sins' is new to audiences in this country.
"It doesn't matter to me if the unconventionality of my role in 'Sins' closes doors for me in Bollywood. I don't look at cinema as my ultimate resting place."
Seema loves the work of Farhan Akhtar's "Dil Chahta Hai" and Shekhar Kapoor's "Bandit Queen". Right now she's all for Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Black".
"I had some problems with the characterisations. But I've to applaud what the director has done. When I see films like 'Lagaan' I'm very hopeful about Indian cinema. When I see others, I'm not so sure. But I'm not passing judgement on anyone."
What is Seema is perceived as a sex symbol in Bollywood?
"I'd be neither happy nor unhappy about it. My aim is not Bollywood - it's good cinema. I've said no to many projects here. I'd go with the image until it doesn't offend me."
She says she was always confident about "Sins".
Rahmani came to Mumbai from Los Angeles two years ago.
"I was born and raised in Kuwait. At 15, I left Kuwait on my own to be in Los Angeles... Not such a little girl, at least not in my head. I was supposed to stay with an aunt who couldn't take me in.
She said her mother ordered her back to Kuwait, but she politely declined.
"She quickly decided to let me stay in LA. I went through my education. I also auditioned for the musical 'Oklohoma' and got selected. But acting was never a serious career back then."
How did "Sins" happen?
"I've done a film called 'Missed Calls'. It's an ensemble cast directed by two young guys Vinay Subramaniam and Mridul Tulsidas. I also finished shooting Girija Shankar's 'Banana Brothers'.
"I don't know if acting is what I want to do, least of all acting in Mumbai. For now it's Mumbai.
"But I've also been a high school teacher, and pretty good at that. If you expect 'Sins' to be hot and titillating, you're in for a disappointment."
Spunky spirited and sassy Seema got "Sins" "the way I get everything else in life - quite easily.
"There's a friend of mine whom I met after ages. She had met Vinodji - yes, I address him as 'ji'... I'm a chick but Vinod is a 'ji'- for the same role and got rejected.
"She suggested I go meet Vinodji because it sounded like what I'd want to do. Once he saw me, he knew there was something about me that was very normal. I love auditions, and that's what Vinodji made me do. He was surprised at how well it went.
"I'm a writer too. I've written a book of poetry. Acting isn't my vocation. I'm an expressionist. Acting is just one mode of expression. 'Sins' is part of my ongoing journey.
"I'm a nomad. But I've been in Los Angeles for six years, New York two years and now Mumbai for two years of which I took only 30 days to shoot for 'Sins'. I've also played with a rock band called High Tide. There's nothing I can't do except whistle."
People would whistle at her after "Sins".
"You mean they'll just continue whistling like they have been doing?" she shoots back.