She is a refined combination of beauty and brain. Vidya Balan needs no introduction, her sensuous eyes and cheerful smile compliments her personality. This new entrant in Bollywood has managed to make her own space through her first two movies Parineeta and Lagey Raho Munnabhai. She is all set to rock in Nikhil Advani's forthcoming film Salaam-E-Ishq. We spoke to Vidya about Salaam-E-Ishq and also about her views on love and marriage.
What is Salaam-E-Ishq all about?
Salaam-E-Ishq is truly an ode to love. It tells you the story of six different couples and six different kinds of relationships. Despite whatever problems one man goes through, true love always sticks it through. It strengthens your faith in love and relationship.
What is your role in this movie?
Rather than talking about the role I'll talk about the track. Obviously, I am playing one of the characters in the story. John Abraham and I are paired opposite each other. It's a very lovely story about these two people, who are madly in love. And then the horror they go through and a life changing situation. Like I said true love always triumphs. Love triumphs to keep them together. That's the beauty of this track. They are very different people who you don't even imagine would end up together. One is very impulsive while the other is much grounded. Opposites do attract and that's the thing that our track emphasizes.
Elaborate a bit more on your role.
I play Tehzeeb and she is completely in love with her husband Ashu (John Abraham). She is a news reporter and someone who is very passionate about her job. But as much she is passionate about her job she is passionate about Ashu as well. She manages to strike a balance and if you ask Ashu he will probably choose Tehzeeb over his work. He is that kind of guy. It is about this middle class couple and the way they have to save money and the compromises they have to make to get their lives going. It's a comfortable lifestyle but it is just like every new urban couple.
What made you to sign this movie?
When director Nikhil Advani narrated the subject to me, it was one of those rare instances where I was being impulsive and I instantly told him that I am doing this film. I loved the track. It is a love story but not a superficial one. It's a beautiful story about two people madly in love. The moment there is a problem, they want to get out of it but that's why Salaam-E-Ishq is so relevant. It tells you that whatever you go through you have to stick together. That's what happened to me when I heard Salaam-E-Ishq. Despite the life-changing situation, they just decide to be together and I think these are the kind of films we should be making.
How is Nikhil as a director?
He gives you the right amount of direction and space. That's what makes life so much easier. On the sets of Salaam-E-Ishq one never felt stressed or pressurised. He will tell you the way he is seeing it and then he lets you see the way he wants you to. If he wants it differently then he will come and tell you. He is very chilled out, so it was great working with him.
How is John as a co-star?
He was great fun. He is a very unassuming person. He is constantly giving one-liners to everyone on the set. He will say something that is completely contrary to the mood that you are supposed to be in and I just crack up. I find it difficult to hold back laughter, so it was great working with him. He always comes to the set as if he knows nothing. He is just like a clean slate and that unassuming quality, which I think is great in an actor.
Have you worked with anyone else in the film?
I have not really worked with anyone in this film. John and I had scenes together and apart from that I had one scene with Akshay Khanna.
Do these stories run parallel or do you come across to other characters for other stories as well?
Stories do run parallel and there are six different stories happening at the same time but yes there are few overlaps which are beautifully interwoven but our track is separate.
How was the whole experience like?
The first word that strikes me when I think Salaam-E-Ishq is fun. I had great fun on the sets and I am hoping that fun also translates onscreen. I am sure it will. I have so enjoyed working on this film and I believe in this film.
How is your association with Vidhu Vinod Chopra?
It's wonderful. Vinod Chopra production is literally like home ground for me.
This is your first film outside Vidhu Vinod Chopra's production, how was the experience?
Initially I must admit that I have already worked on three films and when I started doing Salaam-E-Ishq, it was almost like you are in college and you have to go out side and work. I was wondering how it would be, but I couldn't have asked for a better start out side.
Tell us something about the music of this film.
I think Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy has done a great job. My favorite song is called 'Ya Rabba' which has been sung by Kailash Kher. The lyrics are also lovely by Sameer. That's one song I keep singing to Nikhil whenever we were on sets. I always tell him to play that song. I think we must have heard it around 250 times. It is truly a lovely number. Besides that there is Salaam-E-Ishq which is the title song where you have introductions of all couples. It's a very energetic number.
What is the USP of this film? Why should people go and watch Salaam-E-Ishq?
Why shouldn't they when stars have descended on earth? If you are in love then go and watch because it will strengthen your faith in love. If you dont believe in love still go and watch it, may be you will start believing in it.
Do you believe in love? What does it mean to you?
Most definitely. I think love makes the world go round and round. I think love is something that sustains all of us. Those who says they don't believe in it, I think are walking ghosts.
Have you been in love before?
Yes, but I am not just talking about love in that sense. I am not talking just about a man and woman relationship. I am talking about love in a very generic way. I have not been in love in that sense. I had my share of crushes but I am waiting for that love to happen.
Is there any plan to get settle down in near future?
Marriage is an institution that I believe in. I wish people really didn't jump into marriages unless they are sure. There is no plan to get married in the near future but inshallah I will some day.
What else is there in the pipeline?
There's Eklavya, which is ready for release. Then there's a film called Hulla Bol directed by Raj Kumar Santoshi which will release mid next year. Beside that there is Hey Baby which is Sajid Khan's directorial debut. It's a fun film.
What kind of roles are you looking forward to?
Thankfully I am getting quite an interesting mix of roles. They are giving me a chance to experiment and do different kinds of things. I am very happy and grateful for that. I want to do roles that require me. The role has to be integral to the story. I want to do the roles of substance.