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Sharma adds zing to Singh

Mitya Underwood

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DUBAI // The Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh made his mark at the eighth Dubai International Film Festival last night by cha-cha-cha-ing his way up the red carpet.

"Every time there's an audience like this I just feel compelled to break out in song and dance," said Singh, 26.

Indian cinema's rising star was in town for the global debut of his latest film Ladies vs Ricky Bahl, the tale of a conman who cheats three women out of their money before meeting his nemesis in Ishika Desai, played by Anushka Sharma.

Resplendent in a floor-sweeping, gold-sequined gown at the premiere, Sharma, 23, says she was determined not to reinforce female stereotypes in her portrayal of the independent, strong-minded leading lady.

"It was my aim to be as identifiable as possible so that each time young girls watch me on screen they can relate to me," said Sharma.

With his quick wit and disarming smile, Singh said there were some similarities between the charlatan he plays in the film and himself.

"Well, it comes very naturally to Ricky Bahl to charm women and make them trust him," he said. "And I guess that's the part of the character that comes to me naturally too."

Singh received critical acclaim last year for his debut in the romantic comedy Band Baaja Baaraat, where he also starred opposite Sharma, and he felt under pressure to follow up with another stellar performance.

"When I meet journalists back home, invariably the first thing they say is 'We expect a lot'," he said. "But one has to disconnect from that, otherwise you're trying to race against something you can't win."

The synergy between Singh and Sharma is unmistakable on and off-screen, with the two sharing private jokes and exchanging glances while answering questions and as they arrived for the screening.

"It was great working with all three ladies [Parineeti Chopra, Aditi Sharma and Dipannita Sharma] as all of them brought different things to the table," said Singh.

"But with Anushka, I always maintain she makes my performances better by being so present in the scene. She compels me to be present too and up my game as an actor … there is an extraordinary chemistry."

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