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Last Updated: Thursday November 17 2005 20:43 GMT

NR chats to GOF's Patil twins

Scene from the Goblet of Fire

In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the Patil twins are the envy of many when they end up going to the Yule Ball with Harry and Ron.

We caught up with Afshan Azad and Shefali Chowdhury, who play Padma and Parvati, to ask them about filming, dancing and those boys...

What did you think of the premiere?

Afshan: Oh it was absolutely amazing you know, it was phenomenal. No words can describe the feeling that I had when I was walking down and saw all the fans and everything. Oh! Nothing I say can describe what I felt. It was absolutely amazing, incredible.

Shefali: It was very surreal. I haven't been to anything like it before. There were so many people who were screaming. And so many people gathered in one place at the same time, just screaming everyone's name. It was just completely crazy, I've been saying that to everyone, it's just crazy and it's just a blur now when I think about it. Because it went so fast and walking down the stairs into the audience and with all those people screaming and asking for autographs. It was just wild.

Did you get a chance to meet and talk to any fans?

Shefali: Yes I talked to quite a few actually. There was this one man who told me that he'd been there since 5 o'clock that morning because he'd just come from Spain so that was just really crazy.

Scene from the Goblet of Fire

And he waved this trading card at me with my face on it and I said 'Woah where did you get that from? I want one!' Ha! I just sort of signed that and people were waving these posters and I was doing autographs. So it was really fun and great. That was another surreal part of it, it didn't actually feel like I was there, it felt like I was watching someone else doing it.

Afshan: Ah the same really. When the fans have got your pictures and they're screaming your name and it's just like: "How do you know my name?" It's so surreal but it was just so flattering to see fans waiting there - the night before the premiere, coming all the way from other countries just to see people like us. We were just really grateful for them coming all the way because like I said - it's only us! But it was really nice. It was buzzing out there but this being our first ever premiere the atmosphere was electric - every step we took was brilliant, it was great.

Did you actually see the film?

Afshan: Yes we did. It was actually my second time that I saw it.

Shefali: It was my first.

Afshan: Yes it was Shefali's first, but I was cringing when I saw myself and I was fighting my brothers, they were nudging me every time I would come on. I just couldn't watch myself or listen to myself it was so cringing, but it was really funny. It was great to hear the audiences' reaction to our parts and our roles and the laughter when it was funny, the ahhhs when they sympathise with us. It was great hearing the audiences' reception to it, really, really cool

Shefali: Yeah.

You two have those really hilarious scenes where you keeping going past saying: "Hi Harry". Was that funny to film?

Afshan: Yeah we're going to get that for life now aren't we?

Shefali: It was like a joke on set.

Afshan: We were the Harry girls, it was like every time we walked past it was: "Hi Harry" and he was like "Gosh". We were saying that they would make these dolls of us saying: "Hi Harry".

Shefali, what did you think of seeing yourself on that massive screen at the Odeon?

Shefali: It was really great, but I always knew when my part was coming. I hadn't watched it before but I knew that I was sitting in that scene, so every time I saw the camera moving towards that row I just thought: "Oh God I've got to hide." I was kind of squinting and I would look at Afshan.

Afshan: I was looking at you thinking how stunning you looked.

It must be a weird experience being in the cinema having all those people looking at you?

Afshan: Yeah it is, because I remember this man sitting in front of me and every time he saw me he would turn around and look at me. So at the end it was really flattering when people were saying that it was great job, and that you were great. I just wanted to see how the audience reacted - but it was really cool.

It hasn't put you off then?

Afshan: No, not at all no, it made me want to do more, great.

Tell us about the auditions and how you got the parts.

Shefali: It all came about when the casting agents were going round some schools in my area looking for some people to go to the auditions. I had just got out of an exam and I thought that I had done really badly in the exam, and I was in a bad mood and my teacher was waving my name at me on a sheet of paper with all these other girls. She said someone came looking for two twins for the Harry Potter books to be in the film - are you interested? And I was like yeah!!!

Because I had read the books and I had always been into acting so I thought I might as well go for it. I went to the first audition and I thought OK there's a lot of girls here, I don't know if I've got a chance, but there's nothing to lose, so I just went for it. Then I got a call about a week later, maybe more, saying that I was through to the next round, so I was OK I've got a chance now. I was really getting excited, and they just kept calling back after each audition until me and Afshan auditioned together with Mike Newell the director, then we got a call back saying that we both had got it - that was it really.

How did that feel when you got the call?

Shefali: It sounds silly, but it still hasn't sunk in for me yet because I thought the premiere with all the faces would really make it sink in. But I got there and it still felt like it wasn't me when I got there, but I think that I was really, really happy when I got it. I didn't cry or anything but I was really happy - the closest you can get without crying.

What about you Afshan?

Afshan: In the morning (at school) we have notices and we had a notice that our form tutors just reads out. And I remember just sitting there and my teacher was going through all the activities that were going on today and it was really boring. Then she said that casting agents were coming to our school to look for two Asian twins to take part in the Harry Potter films and everyone just started laughing.

I went to an all girls school and so everyone wanted to take part and we said: 'Oh let's go!' So me and a friend had read the book, and we thought we're never going to get in but we're not going to lose anything. So we sent in after school and saw all the girls lining up and they were all looking after themselves, all combing their hair, putting make-up on. I literally thought I didn't have a chance, so I just went in as myself you know, smiled a bit and out of my group of five I was the only one that got through to the next round.

So my friends were like: "Oh my God maybe you've got a chance" and I said: "No way - this is Harry Potter, a person like me wouldn't get into Harry Potter!" But then little did I know that I'd get called back day after day, week after week and, like Shefali said, I got put with Shefali in the last audition with Mike Newell and it all started from there really.

How did it feel for both of you to do that final audition in front of Mike Newell?

Afshan: It was nerve-wracking.

Shefali: I was very nervous, I didn't eat anything for a day. Mike was offering me this fruit and he was like "Oh you must eat something". He was so nice.

Afshan: I remember actually you were quite nervous and I thought: "Oh God, if she's nervous, I should be nervous!" It wasn't just us at the final audition - there were about 12 more girls. But me and Shefali got put back a lot because they were trying to find twins - it was quite weird because there were twins there but Mike was saying that we would rather have two people that could act than twins who couldn't act.

It must have been an amazing experience when you found out you'd got the part?

Afshan: Then we were crying and screaming and my mum was running down the stairs saying: "Who's died? Who's died?" And I said: "No I just got into Harry Potter." And then I rang my brother at work and he was screaming to his friends, you know it was just really surreal, as Shefali says, it still hasn't sunk in yet.

Had either of you read much of the books beforehand?

Shefali: I'd read them all.

Afshan: I was a Potter fan.

Shefali: Yeah a really big fan of the books in my house, we have got every single one of them.

Afshan: Every single one. I was actually a fan through Newsround as well, I used to watch Newsround everyday and see Lizo's updates on Harry Potter - I was a fan.

Shefali: I remember watching the first film when it came out me and my brothers and sisters went to the cinema to watch it. It was such a big deal because the Harry Potter books are so fantastic, everyone loves them and they wanted to watch the film and we were soo excited. Just so crazy now to think of it - like I'm in it - it's so weird.

Afshan: Totally, it's like only a year ago I was reading the books and then I didn't know if I would be in it or not. And now it's like: "Oh gosh!" Now I can actually picture myself as Padma and Shefali as Parvati - it's just so different.

Of course, and that's what all the fans picture you as now!

Afshan: Hopefully, hopefully.

What's it like acting with Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint?

Afshan: They're amazing actors.

Shefali: Yeah.

Afshan: They are so down to earth, they are just normal people, absolutely, so humble and down to earth. And we, Dan and I, became best friends and Rupert was so hilarious on set. He's a right joker, it's hard to understand but they're really just genuinely normal people, normal teenagers who were just up for a laugh and we all just had fun. Everyone was like family on set and everyone just went to each other when they needed a shoulder to cry on or shared the laughs.

Shefali: Dan's hilarious. Dancing - we were better dancing off-screen than on-screen and he's got like a crazy sense of humour, so full of energy and he's just really supportive. Because I got quite nervous at one point and I was doing a scene with me and Afshan and Rupert. I got quite nervous and he was being really supportive.

Afshan: He always gave you advice didn't he?

Shefali: Yeah.

Afshan: He would always give me advice and I would go up to him saying: "How do you think I should say my line?" and he would always be there to give advice and is so down to earth and so friendly. Everyone is really, but at the end of it we became really the best of friends and hopefully will be friends for a long time.

Your biggest scenes are the build-up and the actual Yule Ball, how long do you think you took filming all that?

Shefali: About three weeks or something.

Afshan: Or even longer than that wasn't it? I think it was possibly longer but we did eight shots after so it seems to other people that we do it in one take, but it's just not that. We have to have one hour shots, three hour shots, we sometimes went up to late nights.

Shefali: And it was like when we finally got back into school uniform to do the normal Great Hall scenes. We forgot we were wearing them and thought we were wearing our Yule Ball dresses and it just felt weird getting back into the uniform.

Afshan: But it was great wasn't it seeing everyone just dressed up? And made up to just look absolutely beautiful. I remember just gasping as soon as I just walked in.

Shefali: It was like walking into the book - it was great.

Afshan:Everyone was dressed up and everyone was looking at each other and saying "you look gorgeous" and it was like a prom again. It was so magical though wasn't it? The whole thing, the whole set was just so amazing, but it did take a long time to shoot but we all had fun on set.

Didn't you two have to have dancing lessons along with all the other cast?

Shefali: Yeah that was really fun, because we had quite a short time to learn the dance scenes. We were all put in this marquee and we had this great choreographer, a dancing instructor as well, and she was really energetic. She was putting the music on really fast so that we were learning to dance extra fast so that when it did actually come on it would be easier to slow it down instead of the other way round.

Afshan: Shefali was really lucky because she had the all the dancing lessons whereas I had only a couple. They realised that I wasn't actually dancing in the scene - I was actually sat there with Ron. It was quite sad actually because I had to be tutored and everyone else would rush off to dancing lessons and I would sit there just saying: "Have fun".

All because Ron's too miserable to dance!

Afshan: Yeah I know, I blame him, I blame him. But I did have a slow dance which was OK but I would have liked to have had the whole waltz.

What did you think of your costumes?

Afshan: It was really nice, they wanted it to be quite traditional Indian and I think it really was a pretty dress. I think they shipped it from India - didn't they Shefali?

Shefali: Yeah I think the costume designer from Bride and Prejudice did them.

Afshan: Yeah she did it.

Shefali: She made them really gorgeous.

Afshan: Our wardrobe lady was really enthusiastic about having us in traditional Asian dress to show our culture, but it was really pretty and everyone liked them on set and it was great, colourful, and obviously we have matching outfits.

Afshan: In the film we actually wore one earring in one ear. Just to show that we were twins you know. Actually Shefali has some beauty spots on her face so they had to put some beauty spots on me in exactly the same place and I had really long hair and Shefali had to have the wig.

Shefali: I had to have a wig - it was so heavy.

Afshan: She had padding on as well didn't you?

Shefali: Yeah, I had padding. I had to wear really high heels because I'm slightly shorter than Afshan.

Afshan: Shefali got a lot of hassle. The wig, the high heels, the padding, I had to just concentrate on my make-up.

Shefali: But you've cut all your hair now.

Afshan: I've cut all my hair off yeah.

Shefali: She had gorgeous, really long hair before, but now it's just all cut off.

Afshan: Now I'll have to wear the wig!

It sounds like you got the short end of the straw there Shefali?

Afshan: Yeah I'd be in and out of hair and make-up like "that" and Shefali would still be in there.

Didn't Matthew Lewis (who plays Neville Longbottom) say he had to have padding too?

Afshan: Matt had the ears and the belly and the teeth put in every day.

Shefali: Ah the teeth!

Afshan: And then I'd have my make-up done and my beauty spots put on.

You two were thrown together in this film and now you must know each other really well. How do you say you get on?

Afshan: We're sisters aren't we Shefali?

Shefali: Yeahhhh!

Afshan: We used to sit there on set going: "Oh mum would kill ya!"

Shefali: Yeah.

Afshan: No we are really good friends, this whole experience, we started this together and we finished it together and we shared a flat together with Katie (Leung). We became like sisters didn't we?

Shefali: Yeah it was great.

Are you allowed to say whether you're in the next Potter film or not?

Shefali: Urm, I'm not sure.

Afshan: You'll just have to wait and see. Fingers crossed.

Did you ever feel star-struck by any of the famous people that you met on the Harry Potter set?

Shefali: Alan Rickman, because I love the Robin Hood movie, The Prince of Thieves, and when I first saw him I was like: 'Oh my God it's him!'

Afshan: I remember you nudging me and me saying "Alan Rickman" again.

Shefali: I think at one point Christian Slater came on set and I was like "What!" another one from Robin Hood! It was wicked because I really love that movie.

Afshan: I remember in the read-through before we met Dan, Rupert and everyone we went to script read-through and everyone was there. And me and Shefali were like 'Harry Potter! Hermione! Ron! Fred! George!' Now thinking back it was like it's only Dan, Rupert and Emma. Ha! Thinking back on our first day we were just so gobsmacked.

Shefali: Yeah we were really excited the night before, aware that we were going to meet all the cast.

Afshan: I remember seeing James and Oliver who play Fred and George on my hotel balcony and I was screaming that I've seen James and Oliver and the next thing, you know, you see them the next day.

But there's so many people on set - especially Maggie Smith. Because I remember doing my GCSEs and I was doing a story on Maggie Smith and she was there sat next to me in the make-up chair and I was just saying to her: 'I just did my GCSE on you!" It was so freaky. But I definitely got star-struck all the time. When I'm talking to Dan, I'm like "What - are you really Dan?" Then I realise it's just like old friends - you know?

Would either of you say your life's changed very much since Harry Potter?

Shefali: Yeah very, very much.

Afshan: Turned upside down (laughs).

Shefali: I thinks it's changed.

Afshan: For the best.

Shefali: In a good way.

Afshan: The best.

Shefali: It was really good today because I saw the first Harry Potter poster on a bus and I felt soo proud. Ahhh!

Afshan: You feel part of it don't you?

Shefali: Then I went past a big picture of Stan who plays Viktor Krum - and I was like: "That's Stan!" Ahhh - I can't wait until this comes out.

Afshan: It still hasn't sunk in you know, I went on the internet to see a couple of pictures of the party and premiere and I was looking at myself and Shefali and I was just: "Oh my God we've done it!" You know this is what all this work is about and all the tired nights/sleepless nights have all paid off. I actually thought we've actually made it now and you have this overwhelming feeling inside you. You feel very proud just to be part of this worldwide phenomenon.

Shefali: Katie looked gorgeous, I saw her on the front cover of all the newspapers.

Afshan: At the premiere everyone just looked so amazing.