One year after you began shooting for Kurbaan, the film is now ready for release. How do you look back at the months gone by?
Relieved. Generally when you work in a movie, you can disconnect from it the moment you are off the sets. In the case of Kurbaan, this wasn't possible. I have lived with it day in and night out. I have thought about Kurbaan even off sets. I tried hard but my mind continued to get diverted towards the work I was doing in the film. It doesn't happen with many movies but when you work in something like Kurbaan which is such an emotionally draining experience, you tend to stay on with the character. The kind of effect that it had on me, I really wanted to crash out once I reached home.
You would have been pretty much prepared about it though when you signed the film, right?
When Karan (Johar) explained to me what Kurbaan was all about, I knew that I was stepping into something big. Then Rensil came up with his own detailing and I knew that this wasn't going to be easy. Moreover, even physically, it wasn't an easy shoot either. We were shooting across multiple locations like New Delhi, New York and Philadelphia and were a part of extreme weather conditions.
Please carry on...
It used to be freezing cold in US with temperature ranging from zero degrees to minus seven or eight. We had to shoot in snow, spend nights outdoors, and then also get into underground stations. It was the feeling of being trapped there because let aside mouthing your dialogues, it was difficult even to breathe easy. Even standing still was a challenge, and there I had to emote with all the blood around.
Leaving aside the physical pain that you had to go through, how happy are you as an actor today?
Very happy. For me doing Kurbaan was a great challenge since Avantika had to very different from Geet (Jab We Met). These two have been performance oriented films along with 3 Idiots. This is why when Kurbaan came to me, I jumped on it as it was neither one of those typical intense films nor did it have a cliched love story going.
You also spoke about Rensil coming up with his own detailing for the film. After Vijay Krishna Acharya (Tashan), Sabbir Khan (Kambakhht Ishq) and Prem R Soni (Main Aurr Mrs Khanna), he is the fourth debutant director in a row with whom you have worked. Since he makes his debut with Dharma Productions that has no less than Karan Johar at the helm of affairs, could he actually afford to call the shots entirely?
Absolutely. Karan has a great eye for choosing directors. He picks them on merit and we saw that recently in case of Ayan (Mukherjee) too who made Wake Up Sid. Same happened in case of Rensil who did his own job. Moreover, he comes with a good intellectual bent. He knows what he is talking. Also, Karan and Rensil are class apart. Once Karan showed so much trust in Rensil, everyone was bound to follow suit. Moreover, I too trust Karan and his abilities blindly. He is like a Godfather.
It is clear from day one of the film's promotion that there is a strong undercurrent of terrorism in Kurbaan. Does this sense remain throughout the narrative or is it just a backdrop?
No, it is much more than just a backdrop. Yes, there is a love story going on because essentially Kurbaan is a love story at its heart. Still, the strong undercurrent of terrorism is prevalent throughout. It's just that everything isn't on your face; there is a lot of subtleness in the narrative while keeping mass treatment in mind.
Though the world would be seeing what Kurbaan is all about in a few hours from now, one tends to remember Dev where you played the traumatized girlfriend of a young man (Fardeen Khan) gone wrong. Any similarities here?
Not at all. Dev was about Gujarat riots whereas in Kurbaan, the focus is on global terrorism. Leaving this aside, even otherwise Dev was mainly about Amitabh Bachchan and Om Puri. Fardeen and I were there but it wasn't our story. On the other hand, technically, Kurbaan is the story of this girl. Lastly, there was no love story in Dev, whereas Kurbaan is essentially a love story. So you know, you really can't be comparing the two films.