Later, she had Govinda for company in Raja Bhaiyya where she played an insane girl. In David Dhawan's Shaadi No. 1, she played a glamorous chic girl while in Shootout At Lokhandwala she was seen as a conservative girl, who happened to be a bar dancer. Now that she would be seen as a solo lead in Dus Tola, one does tend to believe that it could well be the kick start of a new beginning for Aarti.
You are playing a main lead opposite Manoj Bajpai in Dus Tola. Can one say that Aarti is pretty much looking at a new innings from here on?
I don't really know why people say so every time I do a film. It has become repetitive actually since I have been hearing this ever since I did Shootout At Lokhandwala. Perhaps because Dus Tola has me in a solo lead, people are terming this as a 'new innings' or whatever. See, you can say that as long as it is in a positive sense. I won't mind that since response to my altogether different look and presentation in Dus Tola has been quite positive. People have never seen me in this avatar so of course I am very nervous. I am waiting so anxiously for the film's release.
In the film, you are called Suvarnalata in the name. Pretty much a heavy duty name, isn't it?
(Laughs) The town is called Sonapur, the girl loves 'sona' (gold) and her name is Suvarnlata, which in short is Sona. Too much of Sona, right? This was the intent though since the film is being told as a folk fare. I am playing the lovely role of a girl who comes from a small town which has its own simplicity. My father is an astrologer whose only dream in life is to get his daughter married to the richest man in the world; someone who stays in Dubai and sits on pots of - as you guessed it right - gold!
Since the film is set in a small town, how did you shrug away your urban sensibilities?
To begin with, I had to work a lot on my look. Playing a small town girl meant that I couldn't bring in a hint of my real life persona of a chic Mumbai girl. I had to let go of the whole gym regime. As such, I am very conscious about my gym and work out but I had to sacrifice a lot here. When girls out there are going for size zero, I actually put on 4-5 kgs by means of a strict rice and fish diet. I had to go through this whole transformation in order to look chubbier.
You think it was worth it after all? Being in the industry for close to a decade now, can one finally say that you have got your due?
(Thinks) I don't know what took me so long to get a role like this. I was waiting for an opportunity like this to come along where I could be a part of entertaining yet meaningful cinema. Of course, I have enjoyed my comedies as well; they have taught me a lot. Still, you do want to gain experience of working in other subjects as well. May be it was just the right time for me to get Dus Tola. Now I can use my past experience to perform better.
Meanwhile, you must be proud of the fact that the film has gained the attention of international studios. After all Dus Tola is being presented by Warner Bros.
Oh yes, of course, this is indeed huge. I am so happy that a Hollywood studio has shown interest in our film. Them picking us up was very encouraging. They liked what they saw, whether the entire film or specifically the music. They made us further confident about our product. Now we wish and pray that the film performs at the box office too. I know there is quite some competition but we are the best. Those who will watch the film will definitely love it; I am confident about that.
In the recent past, Aarti Chhabria has done a number of films where she has been a part of an ensemble cast. In fact, in her career spanning close to a decade, she hasn't done too many solo starrers. At the beginning of her career, she worked in a multi heroine set up in Awara Paagal Deewana where she was paired opposite Akshay Kumar and played an NRI 'tapori'.