She’s been backpacking since she was 15. Her latest stopover is India, but before long Nargis Fakhri might be off to live on an organic farm in New Zealand or trek through jungles in another part of the world. Heating up the cover of GQ India this month, in a Bandage swimsuit by Herve Leger at Net-A-Porter, gold cuff by Maria Piana, we caught up with the Czech- Pakistani beauty – and found a girl who’ll try almost anything once.
The girl sitting across from me, just one film old, didn’t particularly dig the name as a kid – “I grew up with a lot of Spanish people around, and they would call me Nalgas, which means ass cheeks” – but grew to love it. “Nobody else had my name,” she says.
It’s clear she frequently switches accents depending on her audience, and even clearer that she has to: This girl is on the move. “It’s that big, the travel thing. I know someone who doesn’t have a passport, and I could punch that person in the face.”
Propelled by a globetrotting mother, currently in the Bahamas, who handed her a backpack at 15 and said the world is safe enough. “If I ever have babies, I will strap them on my back like an African, and trek through the jungles of wherever, and I hope whoever my partner in crime is will feel the same way, and they’ll be strapping on the other one,” she declares.
Her foray into Hindi cinema, by that measure, was just another adventure. “Imagine someone from China came up to you and said Oh my god we love the way you look, we want you to be the male lead on our big Chinese movie. You have two months to learn Chinese. And to act. You have never acted, you don’t know Chinese. Can you imagine doing that? I’m insane for saying yes- but I’ve established since I was very little that I’m a bit loopy.”
Part of saying yes to Imtiaz Ali and his 2011 film Rockstar was not knowing better. She shares, “It was only when we started doing promotions that I realized how famous Ranbir [Kapoor] was. People were crying and ripping his clothes off and throwing stuff at him,” she laughs, “And I’m like, ‘Is U2 here?’”
Meanwhile, though, she’s already shot the next one, Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Cafe, and admits it was easier. “The biggest reason is that now I know what’s up. Now I have a notch on my belt.”
The problem lies in making time. “I demand a lot from my partner because I do so much, and expect it back. She adds, “In this business I don’t know how you can be in a relationship, you don’t even have the time to get to know someone. That could actually be a reason to leave the business.”
She scoffs at the idea of dating someone from the industry. “No! I want someone normal. Someone who has a normal fucking job, who goes to sleep at nine o’clock at night and likes to go trekking and likes to cook.” She didn’t always crash at nine, this girl who’d jet to Barcelona to party all night but is now almost ridiculously low-key in Mumbai. “It’s because of what happened in the beginning,” she explains. “I remember I went out to Olive one night and didn’t even have one drink, and they wrote in the paper that I was partying like a wild animal. And people were staring at me, like I was a monkey. It’s awkward! You’re standing there and thinking, ‘why the fuck are people looking at me?”
WRITTEN BY: RAJA SEN
PHOTOGRAPHED BY: TARUN VISHWA
STYLED BY: VIJENDRA BHARDWAJ