She is young and beautiful, and she is already in the eye of the maddening media storm, what with her eventful past and promising future! She is upfront about sexuality, fame, controversies, and her debutante venture Nishabd. And now, the 19-something Jiah Khan speaks her heart out in a way she has never done before...
Were you intimidated while acting opposite Mr. Bachchan?
Nice first question, I must say. I think if I was intimidated by him throughout the film, I would not have been able to complete the film. For me the minute the camera was on, he was just my character. I don't know how that happened. I think that was God-sent but he was just my character Vijay.
You have a startling screen presence and a terrific body language...
Who says that?
I say that.
Wow. Thank you.
The body language for the kind of role you have is simply stunning...
I'm nishabd! That's amazing; I mean you are first person who has given me a compliment like this. Thank you so much.
I said that in the press conference as well...
You did? Everything was so rushed... I was like, 'what's going on' at the press conference. My first press conference, never again hopefully.
What was your reaction when you were offered this role?
Obviously, Mr. Bachchan wasn't in the picture. As a role in itself, it was very appealing to me because even the male protagonist of the film is talking about this female character. She is the main person in the film, and she is very hard to find in Indian cinema today. A female character that is so much in the film is a very powerful thing and as a first film, that is amazing.
How did you prepare yourself for Nishabd?
Well, I went to an acting school where they teach us method acting. And method acting is where from your past experiences you take out this emotions and then you put into the scene. So as far as preparation was concerned, there was no sort of preparation weeks before. It was very much on the set during the scenes.
Where does Mr. Bachchan's appeal lie apart from him smelling good?
Well, obviously he is very charismatic. Everyone can see that and I'm sure you obviously have seen him a lot and I haven't seen him that much except what I have seen at the music release and stuff, the way he answers as well. He speaks so well, he sounds really good. His style is so daring, which is very sexy. At his age if he could take risks without thinking about it twice, it is a really cool thing.
Do you think you could fall in love with a much older man in real life?
Right now? I think the only reason anyone would stop me from doing such a thing is because of what people might say, basically social acceptance, which is sad but it is very important to us as individuals. Social acceptance is a big thing in our lives. Whether our boss agrees with what we do or whether our family agrees and stuffs. So that's the only reason I would shy away from it. No other reason.
How was Munnar as location for filming?
So romantic! I don't think I ever looked so good. It doesn't even look like me in the film. My skin was glowing. I think the weather was beautiful. Obviously there is tea plantation and tea is know to be a sort of a detoxer, so it detoxified me.
How does it feel to be on posters all around the city?
Oh my god, I was on my way here and I was seeing my poster being put up, and I nearly burst out into the tears, and when I realized I have make-up on, I couldn't. But it was so surreal, it is unbelievable. I think every newcomer would say this thing.
Rozana seems to be a fabulous number...
Oh my God, it is beautiful. I cried out the first time I heard it saying that this song is sung for me. I felt really special.
RGV has been linked with most of his heroines. Your comments...
Someone said to me the other day, "How do you feel being called as Ramu's girl?" I was saying, what? I think the focus is on both of us so I am more Mr. Bachchan's girl than anyone else's. I mean come on, he is my director and when he comes into the room I shake. So like I don't think there is any question about it.
Your father left you at an early age...Any regrets or anger?
No there is no regret or anger or anything.
There have been rumours about you being Aamir Khan's step sister...
My God, do I look his sister from any angle? (No...) You answered your own question!
If you meet Aamir, how will you react?
Yeah, I'll be awkward because he is a superstar, that's the only reason.
You did a jig on Rangeela when you were young, Aamir is much older now
Yeah, hello he is amazing, even now he is amazing.
Your favourite directors, films and actors...
Well I have always liked RGV but I think you know that already. I loved Mani Ratnam's films than the conventional Bollywood cinema. This is what I practice. For me Nishabd is something which I never thought I would get, I never practiced for it. I would always sing songs in front of the mirror and get geared up for that sort of cinema, so Nishabd for me was much harder. But I'm glad that I started with this because it shows that anyone can do that, even though it is very hard because it is so far from your real personality. No one dances around trees and goes to Switzerland, that doesn't happen in real life. Well, this is more real and so in a way it's a harder, in a way it is easier as well.
Tell us about favourite directors and actors?
I know there are lots of directors. Actor wise I think the most recent film I saw was Black and I think what Rani Mukherji did was so commendable because she is glamour icon. You know she looks beautiful in the film, and for her to take such a risk to play role of spastic which is not an interactive thing, and to do it with no make up, and for that film to be appreciated, is an amazing thing. That's definitely something to look up to. I'm such a tom boy. I like films like Scarface, Godfather, and films about the mafia.
Any regrets for not completing your stint at the acting school?
I did about six months and then I called them up and I said I got Nishabd and what you want me to do. I really wanted to complete it because I think it's very important for an actor to do some sort of training because everyone does it. Whether you go into investment banking you have to study about it, this is something that my mom told me. So I called him up when I got this film and asked them what I should do. They said you would be an idiot to come back. You have a lifetime opportunity now, you can come back anytime.
What was your mother's reaction on your choice of career?
She wanted me to actually go into investment banking which is quite funny because I am very bad at Math. But once I got Nishabd she was very supportive.
Do you look up to your mother considering she has been through so much in life?
Definitely look up to her, I mean, as an individual and as a woman who comes from India where the society is not so independent as far as women are concerned; to come to London and bring up three children all by herself is quite a job.
What kind of film offers have you been getting?
Yeah, lots. I have been getting loads of offers but I haven't finalised it.
Bollywood follows stereotypes... Do you think Nishabd is a risk?
Risks. Okay, I'm sitting here right now. From whatever you see of me, do you think I care about risks?!
Did you always want to be an actress?
Since I was three, I wanted to be an actress. I was very fond of entertaining people. Like if someone is crying I can't see anyone crying, it really upsets me, no matter who it is, even if it is a stranger. I would just get up on a table and I used to start acting just like, just doing a scene!
Time for some rapid fire...a la Koffee With Karan....
What colour is the night?
Difference between sensuality and obscenity...
The person who is showing it
Apart from smell what else appeals to you in a man?
Your first date...
My first date...It was hilarious. My first date was a school play where I was playing Marry and the guy was playing Joseph.
Definition of fidelity...
There is no definition; it is as screwed up as the word.
Importance of 'Desire' in one's life...
It would be on my list of high priority.
Finally, what would you say is the USP of Nishabd?
I think the USP of the film is- well I can't give you the answer to this question. At least what I think - I don't think you will get to see Mr. Bachchan romancing at 60 in any other film. So if you want to see it then definitely see the film. And as a human being to understand love and to understand the message that we are sending through Nishabd that's why you should go and see the film.
What about the controversy surrounding Nishabd?
There is already controversy. I mean no one is even creating it, trust me it is just the concept. It is bound to create some sort of controversy and have some focus.