Pernia, best known for styling Sonam Kapoor in 'Aisha', is making her debut as an actress and she is essaying the role of a revolutionary dancer in the film which is set 20 years after Ali's 'Umrao Jaan'.
"I was very flattered that somebody so well respected and such a great artiste saw potential in me. I was extremely excited to try something new in my life. I have been a dancer since childhood. It's one of the best opportunities because it is any actress' dream role. Muzaffar uncle has the best aesthetic sense in the country," Pernia said.
The costume designer bagged the offer last year and says she insisted Ali to go through the screen test first because she was not sure about her acting skills.
"Muzaffar uncle had offered it to me. He was writing the script and felt I was fit for the role. He called me and asked if I was interested to do it. I didn't know if I could really act. We did a screen test because I did not want to get into something without being very sure. So, he did that and after seeing the result he believed in me," Pernia said.
Pernia is a trained kuchipudi dancer and for the film, she had to learn Kathak from Birju Maharaj and Kumudini Lakhia, who had choreographed Rekha's mujra 'In aankhon ki masti me' in 'Umrao Jaan'.
"I have been learning classical dance since the age of four. I learnt Kathak for few years but later I shifted to Kuchipudi and learnt it from Raja Radha Reddy. In this film, I am playing a Kathak dancer and to get the moves right, Maharaj ji had worked a lot on my body. I went to Gujarat and Kumudini ji choreographed two sequences for the film," she said.
'Raqs: The Dance Within' has been shot extensively in Lucknow at the ancestral house of Ali. The film is expected to hit theatres in February next year.
Pernia says if the film does well, she will give acting a serious thought and will not restrict herself to a particular genre.

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