You seem to be the Queen of Big Budget films. After the super-duper Race and Singh Is Kinng, you have yet another biggie lined up for release- Yuvvraaj. How does it feel?
It feels great but I don't think budget has anything to do with the quality of a film. It's the content and presentation which matters at the end of the day. Namastey London for example was not a very big budget film. However, Yuvvraaj being a musical drama, it calls for grand visuals and a certain larger than life canvas.
The film seems like a complete entertaining drama. Could you tell us something more about the film?
Yeah...I would definitely classify it as a drama….a musical drama, so to say. Apne was the first drama film which I had done. I was very nervous about Apne but thankfully the audiences ended up liking it. At the end of the day, our audience still reacts to films that are correct emotionally and that's what Yuvvraaj also is. It's a different kind of a film for me because I am more used to doing comedies. Initially I was a bit nervous but now I am glad that I did the film. The music plays an integral part of the film. When you see the tagline of the film it says, 'Music binds love'. Some people may call it cliched but for me music does play such an important part in my day to day life that I could completely identify with what the film is trying to say.
The posters of you playing the cello are all over the place. From the looks of it, you seem to be playing a musician...could you throw some light on your character?
The film is primarily about the relation shared between Anil Kapoor and Salman Khan. I play a musician in the film. She is someone who strongly believes in both the power of love and music. Subhashji wanted someone who could bring in a certain level of spontaneity to the character and I guess I have managed to do that. My character is someone who supports the person she loves yet doesn't hesitate in telling him when he is wrong. She is a very strong and determined girl.
Audiences are all excited to see you romantically paired opposite Salman Khan. How does it feel?
People often forget that Salman and I have done a couple of movies together before Yuvvraaj Yes I do agree that the focus was more on comedy than romance in films like Partner and Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya, which is why I guess people are looking forward to seeing us in a different role. Luckily both my films with Salman have worked well at the B.O. so there is a certain amount of expectation even from Yuvvraaj. Even though Yuvvraaj isn't an out and out romantic film, let me tell you that some of the most beautiful moments in the film are between Salman and me because what you see on screen doesn't come across as forced. Salman is a great person to work with. He is spontaneous and his own way of improvising which kind of keeps you on your toes.
The film also has a veteran actor like Anil Kapoor with whom you have done quite a few films. How was the experience this time around?
I always say Anil Kapoor is not just an actor; he is an institution in himself. He is someone who truly understands the meaning of getting into the skin of the character. I have done 5 movies with him and in every movie, he has played a very different character. In each of his roles, there is such a distinct change in his body language, dialogue delivery and facial expressions which I think is a tremendous thing for any actor to learn. Working with him is like going to acting school. There is so much to learn each and every day.
And how was it working with the other Khan - Zayed?
To be honest, I don't share any scenes with Zayed in the movie. But I have interacted with him many a times at film functions, parties etc and he is a complete sweetheart. His whole family - Sanjay Khan, Feroz Khan and Fardeen Khan have always been very sweet.
Every leading lady dreams of working in a Subhash Ghai film. Could you share your experiences on working with the Showman of Bollywood?
A lot of people have been asking me, "You have been working mostly with young and new directors, then how did this come about?" For someone like me, coming as an outsider to this industry, working with a director like Subhash Ghai has always been something that I wanted to experience. Subhashji is known to present his heroines in the most beautiful way. He is legendary in his contribution to Indian cinema. Working with him on Yuvvraaj is something which will always be a fond memory for me. In fact, there is a shot in the song 'Tu Muskura' where I am wearing an pink dress and running and dancing. There is something in that shot reminiscent of the kind of old Hollywood classics like Singing In The Rain that I have grown up watching. The lighting, costumes and camerawork in that shot is simply breathtaking. Just for being part of such a beautiful shot, doing Yuvvraaj has been absolutely worth it.
Does it bother you that his last few films as a director haven't really worked at the BO?
I was waiting for this one (laughs). I guess I just answered this question in my previous answer. A lot of people may question me on my decision to do Yuvvraaj but my decision to do this role was pretty much based on my conviction on what I felt about it
Yuvvraaj has been shot at some exotic places like Prague. Talk us through your experiences shooting in Prague.
Prague is a magical place. There's music in the air. It's an artistic place with a very rich history and culture of music which matched the mood of the film really well. If you go there you feel like learning about music and composers etc.
Yuvvraaj is a musical and has none other than music maestro A.R. Rahman at the helm of things. How do you think has the music evolved and which is your favorite track?
As I told you earlier, music is the soul of Yuvvraaj. It is very moving and something which you can't take out from your mind. My personal favorite has to be 'Tu Muskura' because it's a song that connects to me emotionally. As soon as I hear a song, I immediately either like it or dislike it. But with 'Tu Muskura' it was a bit different. I remember I was in my van when Subhashji gave me the CD. The first time I heard the song, I instinctively said, just play it again which I never do as I make my opinion in the first hearing itself. And then I heard it again and again and again. I actually played the song 5 times back to back and by then the song kind of completely caught my fancy. I think its one of those rare magical songs with an extremely soothing feeling.
You seem to be having a dream run at the B.O. After a super successful 2007, all your releases this year Race, Singh Is Kinng and even Hello (in which you did a cameo) have raked in the moolah. How do you feel when people say that you are the lucky mascot for their films?
I hate that word 'lucky'. There is no such thing as luck. It's all destiny!!! I feel God has always been there for me. I work hard and then pray for my films to do well. There is nothing wrong in wanting to do well. Some films work while some don't but as long as the industry is giving me interesting roles and I get a chance to work with some good directors, I am happy (smiles)
A lot of people say that the race for the No.1 Heroine is well and truly on between Kareena, Priyanka and yourself. Your comments on the same...
I think everyone is in their own secure space. Both Kareena and Priyanka are extremely talented actresses and I am happy to even be considered in that same league. As an actress, I just want to keep progressing and never want my audiences to get bored. Hence, in the next few months you will see me in a whole new set of roles.
So what are you currently working on?
I have an interesting line-up of films in 2009. I am working with an interesting set of directors and some really cool co-stars. I just finished a long schedule of Yash Raj's New York along with John Abraham and Neil Mukesh in the USA. The film is almost 90% complete now. Right now, I'm in Goa shooting for Raj Kumar Santoshi's film Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani with Ranbir Kapoor. It's a sweet romantic comedy. In December, I start shooting for Priyadarshan's film De Dhana Dhan with Akshay Kumar and next year I start work on Prakash Jha's Rajniti which is a political thriller, a genre completely different from what I have done before. So I guess I do have a pretty good mix of films in my kitty.
On a parting note, give us 3 good reasons to watch Yuvvraaj
1. The music
2. The relationship between Anil Kapoor and Salman Khan
3. The visuals of the film, the spontaneity of the characters and... oh yes the moments between Salman and me (laughs).
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