What is Raajneeti about?
Raajneeti has a popular subject. It is about the politics of life. It is a paradox which is also happening in your own family. It is something which happens between two lovers or for that matter a husband and a wife. It is a film on relationships. What I like about Raajneeti is that it is a film which is full of complexities in character. The film is about insecurities suffered by the character played by Ajay Devgn.
Tell me about the role inspired by Sonia Gandhi that you play in Raajneeti!
Let me reiterate that I am not playing the character which is based on Sonia Gandhi in Raajneeti. So what if I play a widow? My character of 'Indu" in Raajneeti is based on the character of Draupadi from Mahabharat. Indu is not only a strong and independent but also has modern values. Besides the fact that the film is helmed by a director like Jha, one more reason that made me agree to do the film is that you do not encounter roles other than typical ones in commercial films. Also I was glad that I was not required to look ugly or wear a pair of spectacles in Raajneeti, though I play a widowed character.
Did you hesitate to take up a serious film like Raajneeti initially?
Initially, when I heard the script of Prakash Jha"s Raajneeti, my first reaction was to tell Prakash Jha that it was not my kind of space though a lot of people I know often ask me why I do not set out to do serious films as an actress. In fact, I had signed for Raajneeti even before I did New York. I felt that the script of Raajneeti had as much excitement as any other commercial film like New York. I thought I would give it a try because I felt I was being prejudiced to look at a persona on the surface.
How did you approach your role as Indu in Raajneeti?
I had to understand the body language which Indu had to portray. I had to approach the emotional scenes by finding a 'connect" to them and not just act the scenes out. My basic exercise was to do read the campaign speeches and follow Prakash"s brief about the role. I was looking for reference for my character. Jha told me that Indu has no ego or self respect in love. We all experience rejections in life. I tried to be as honest as I could when I set out to play the role of Indu.
How was the experience of working with a director like Prakash Jha!?
Prakash Jha is one director who is very intelligent and goes beyond the normal realm. He has an amazing knowledge of books, mythology, politics etc. It would have been easier for him to get a Salman Khan or an Akshay Kumar in the film than these complex characters together
Do you think you will bag the national award for acting with Raajneeti?
What is important is that you should do a film honestly. It is not true at all that I am looking out for a national award with Prakash Jha"s Raajneeti, though would not mind if I bag one. (Laughs). I do not think that you should set out to do a film just to show people you can do a different film.
Do you find it easier now with better choices as an actress?
When I entered films with Boom eight years back, frankly speaking, I did not have many choices. Retrospectively, I now feel that it is more difficult when you have more choices as an actress. I was 17 when I made my debut with Boom. I did not enter at 30 and proclaim that I was just 22.
How tough is it for you to speak your own lines in Hindi?
Over the years I have made it a practice to learn Urdu. I had a tutor to coach me when I was shooting for Raajneeti. Every movie has its own flaws; including Ajab Prem. When you set out to do an Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani, you need to be a little bit basic, sweet and fun. Rajji has a great eye. I"d love to work with him again. It was a pleasure working with him in Ajab Prem. If you remember, I played a Catholic girl in Ajab Prem… and hence I could speak with an accent. A lot of people in India too have their own accent. When I started dubbing my own lines in Raajneeti, I made sure that I did not have any accent at all especially when I had to mouth difficult words
What do you feel when you look back at your career?
I feel honestly that whatever I have achieved from Boom till Raajneeti till date has been due to destiny. I did not have any strategy at all and did not plan my career. You can plan your films but can"t plan their success.
Who has helped you reach the position you have reached today in your career?
There have been too many who have been my Godfathers and I"d always be grateful to them. I also remember that I have had friends who have had their fathers and mothers who were connected with the film industry to help them, but unfortunately have not been able to click still. Salman Khan is one person who had always told me that I"d be successful one day. He is one person who genuinely believed in his heart that I would click in a big way in Bollywood even when I was going through a lean phase in the initial stages of my career. Akshay Kumar took a big gamble by agreeing to work with me in Hum Ko Deewana Kar Gaye, when he was himself on the cross roads of his career. I can never forget that.
What kind of films do you want to do as an actress?
Till date, though I have acted in various genres of films though of different kinds, I still feel that my contemporaries have done far more diverse roles. Though my success ratio as an actress has been good in recent times, I feel that now it is time for me to do different types of roles. When I say different type of roles, I do not mean to say I want to do serious art films. What I mean is that I should try my hand at something exciting like Hemaji did in Seeta Aur Geeta.
How do you feel when the media links you with Salman Khan?
To sell the newspapers, today every star is being linked with every one. I confess even I"d have done it if I were a journalist. What amuses me is that though Shahid Kapoor was linked to Priyanka Chopra earlier when they were acting together in Kaminey, and then with Anushka Sharma when he was doing Badmaash Company with her, recently the media linked Anushka with Rannvijay with whom she is working in Yashji"s new film. The media is not sparing any one and the way each one is linked with every one, sometimes it make me wonder whether I am working in film industry or 'dating" industry. Even lust or infatuation does not change that fast and women cannot be that fickle and very few women are actually that fast.
Who do you think is your lucky mascot - Salman Khan or Akshay Kumar?
Though I would like to think that both of them are my lucky mascots, the fact is that it is only a film that works and not the pair. Yuvraaj also had me and Salman but it crashed while Partner and Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya clicked at the box office. Though Namastey London, Singh Is Kinng etc with me and Akshay clicked; Humko Deewana Kar Gaye did not.
Is it true that you have backed out of Anurag Basu"s Silence and opted to act in his biopic on Madhubala?
I have known Anurag right from the time he was making Saaya six years ago. He is very close to me. It is true I had some reservations about doing Silence, which is not a simple but a very complex film. As far as the film on Madhubala is concerned, I do not want to jump the gun because UTV has just approached me with the concept since I am slated to do one more film for them after Raajneeti. I am yet to commit myself for the film which will go on the floors only next year.
Which are the films in your kitty as of now?
I have my hands full this year with Prakash Jha"s Raajneeti, Farah Khan"s Tees Maar Khan, Karan Johar"s Dostana 2 and Zoya Akhtar"s film with Hrithik Roshan, Abhay Deol and Farhan Akhtar.
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