June 15, 2009 Y. Sunitha Chowdhary
"Biaenca Desai. That's how you spell my name. It means pure and soft in Latin," says the actress of Koffi Bar emphatically. She has trouble repeating the word to people who address her incorrectly. But ask her why her film is named Koffi Bar instead of Coffee Bar, she guffaws and remarks that she had the same doubt and when she approached director Geeta Krishna and he replied that she should wait till the first copy of the film is released.
Biaenca was spotted by Geeta Krishna who made Kokila. This film Koffi Bar that has Shashank playing the hero is being made in three languages, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu. Biaenca had already done four films in Kannada (Rocky, Ghulama, Yogi, Chellidaru Sampigeya) and she's pretty good in picking up languages.
Her mother is a fashion designer and her father a custom officer live in Australia. She moved there when she was a child. She graduated in Sydney and then acquired a bachelors degree in banking and insurance in Mumbai.
"I picked up banking and insurance for no particular reason. I just wanted to do something with my studies," says the actress honestly. She'd actually come to Mumbai with an intention of participating in the Miss India pageant but when she didn't get an opportunity quickly moved into ramp shows and commercials. She did a photo shoot for Times Food Guide and that's how her pictures circulated and offers poured in.
Biaenca sounds philosophical, "When I came here I was shooting for Satya Paul and Armanis but I couldn't be a part of Ms India. Maybe I should take what God gives me." When she landed in Mumbai she couldn't speak Hindi well despite her parents being both Punjabi and Gujarati. She was offered films immediately with Madhavan, Emraan Hashmi, Bobby Deol but didn't want to push herself that quickly in the Hindi film industry.
She says she is comfortable with Telugu and Tamil now, Hindi ofcourse! "I'm far better than Katrina who can't speak hindi well", she quips. Her parents visit her often, but they prefer Australia as they've got used to that food and water. Biaenca was hospitalized for six months when she moved to Mumbai to begin her career but she stayed put unmindful of her sensitive system. She is having a whale of time shooting for Koffi Bar which she describes as a love story with a lot of action.
How is Shashank, her co-star to work with? "Oh, Shashank? He's a cool and a soft spoken guy, we hardly talk. During a shot, we try to improvise on the scene otherwise it's just a Hi Shashank Garu from my side." The pretty Biaenca keeps herself fit by not eating any junk food that she gets to see on the sets, does yoga in the mornings and keeps a positive attitude. "It's nine months since I've hit the gym," she ruefully signs off.