The Reel Face of Lorna – Palomi Ghosh

By Sachin Chatte

The first thing that strikes you about Palomi Ghosh is how different she looks from the character she played in the hugely popular Konkani musical movie, Nachom-ia Kumpasar (2014) . Back in Goa again to attend IFFI 2015, the intensity she showed as Dona (the singer based on Goan icon, Lorna Cordeiro), who goes through a roller-coaster life, is replaced with a friendly smile.
Even though the film has not had full-fledged release, packed houses in Goa, Mumbai, the Middle East and London have left the movie raving about it, and Palomi’s performance has been consistently singled out. She deservedly got a Special Mention for the role at the National Awards this year. Ghosh says, “it took a while for it to sink in when I heard about the award. All credit goes to the director Bardroy Barreto for having the conviction that I was fit for the role. In fact I had another project on my hand, but a dear friend Sameer Sharma [director of Luv Shuv Te Chicken Khurana] insisted that I do the Konkani film instead.”
In what can be described as a lucky break, the radiant young actress was selected to play Dona just three weeks before the shooting of Nachom-ia Kumpasar began. “I had no idea about Konkani cinema,” she says, “so I was a little apprehensive about what to expect during the audition. Since it was a story based on the lives of jazz musicians in the 60’s, they wanted an actress who could sing and act. Luckily it all fell in place for me and since the shooting was going to start soon, it happened in the nick of time for them.” With only a little time on hand, Ghosh spent the little time she had getting her Konkani diction right, and learning the classic songs by heart. “Since Bardroy knew the milieu very well he could convey with precision what his expectations were and that helped a lot,” she says.
It was not easy shooting since there were so many songs involved – they shot several takes of the whole song and even though there was a playback singer (Cielda Pereira), Palomi also had to sing her heart out. “At times we did almost twenty takes of the whole song and by the time we were done for the day, I was down and out!” she says.  A Bengali who grew up in Gujarat, studied in the US and is presently based in Mumbai, Ghosh studied Applied Mathematics, and only took up acting in her final year of college. “At that time, I got seriously interested, and when I came to India, I thought, let me give it a shot. As it has turned out, I’m here for good now,” she says, every bit the committed actress.
Post Nachom-ia, Palomi has done a number of commercials, and has become active in the theatre world. But Konkani music is also part of her life now – she recently sung a song for a Goan album by Juje, saying, “I love to sing and when this opportunity came my way, I couldn’t let it go.” With the kind of all-round talent she has already displayed, and the beloved niche she has come to occupy by beautifully portraying the immortal Lorna, there is no doubt Goa and the world will continue to hear much more from this rising star of the Indian screen.

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