Shazahn Padamsee's confidence rise up after work with Ajay Devgan: She is a novice; he is a veteran. She is just 22; he is 41. Shazahn Padamsee was apprehensive about matching up her performance with Ajay Devgn, whom she romances in Madhur Bhandarkar's first comedy Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji, but says her "zero confidence" level shot up when he praised her acting skills.
"When I met Ajay sir for the first time...I wasn't nervous, but I was just hoping that there were no complaints. I felt so junior suddenly...and it was like 'My god! I am working with someone so talented!' Shazahn told IANS over phone from Mumbai.
"I just hoped that I could impress him with my talent. So, when at the end of the shoot he came and patted me on the back and said: 'Well Shazahn Padamseedone!', my confidence level went from like zero to 100."
In Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji, Shazahn plays June Pinto, "a happy, bubbly young girl who is child-like, very cute and innocent". The film will release on January 28.
The actress said it was simply "inspiring" to be around Ajay, who has been active in showbiz for the past two decades.
"I remember watching him in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and his performance was so good. He was so awesome in Raajneeti. Ajay sir chooses his films so carefully and all of them are so different, because of which he is among few actors who are not typecast and that's what I love.
"The journey that he has taken in his career is so inspiring because he is not someone who says 'I am an action guy' or 'I am the lover boy', he is someone who does so many different roles. That, for someone new like me, is very inspiring and one feels to be like him," she said.
Shazahn, daughter of noted theatre artiste Alyquee Padamsee and singer Sharon Prabhakar, loved being in Ajay's company not just because she got to learn a lot from him but also due to his sense of humour.
"People think Ajay sir is a very serious kind of person, but he is not so! He is very witty. Many people know that my dad has a very good sense of humour, very tongue-in-cheek, very sarcastic. And I found Ajay sir very similar with the tongue-in-cheek humour.
"I love people who are funny, so I loved being on the sets because he would always keep me in splits," she said.
For a girl as young as her, the box office fate of her debut Hindi film Rocket Singh - Salesman Of The Year, in which she had a blink-and-you-miss role, could have shaken her confidence. But Shazahn has no regrets.
In fact, she is more than happy that she has got the chance to work with formidable names like Ajay and Bhandarkar so early in her Bollywood career.
"I think if I wouldn't have done Rocket Singh, I wouldn't have got Dil Toh.... In life, everything happens for a reason. I don't believe in living with regrets, it's quite a waste of time. I am a super-optimistic person and very positive. It was my first film; so it will always remain special.
"Butm, of course, Dil Toh... has been a great learning experience. I just adore Madhur sir. For a newcomer it is very comforting to have someone who believes in you - and it was very satisfying to know that Madhur sir, who is such a big name in the industry, believed in me. He was confident that I have the potential to do a role opposite someone as big as Ajay Devgn in his film," she added.