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During an exclusive tete-te-tete the glamour girl of Bollywood talked about her experiences while shooting for Jodhaa-Akbar, her life and more. Here are the excerpts.
Q: Thus far, people have only read about Jodhaa Bai in the history books and learnt about her fascinating character. This is the first time that a film has been made on the famous Mogul Empress and you are portraying her character. Are you convinced that you have done justice to the role?
A: Well, I will not claim that I have done justice to Jodhaa Bai"s character, but I am sure that I have done justice to the character of Jodhaa Bai as etched out by Ashutosh. I must say that it is a special quality in me that I always try and do justice to all the characters I play. Earlier too, I have portrayed a number of characters about whom people and I have only read in books. But, while portraying these characters I have always given importance to what my director wants to depict on the cellulofid and I have done full justice every time. I have never tried to interpret the characters apart from the director"s point of view.
Q: This is the first film being released after your marriage. So, what do you expect the audience response to be?
A: It"s an interesting issue. Shooting of the film began before my marriage, took place during my marriage and continued afterwards too. As far as I am concerned, Jodhaa-Akbar includes all the aspects and time of my life that are closely related to my marriage. However, it is true that this will be my first film to be released after marriage and hence it is of great importance to me.
Q: What was your experience dressing up and putting on make-up to portray Jodhaa Bai on screen?
A: In fact, people as well as the media have asked me time and again as to why I take so much time for make-up. I want to tell them that they should try and understand the pressure on us. Even before the actual job of acting begins, artistes have to spend hours sitting quietly while the make-up is done. Although this in itself requires a lot of patience and endurance, no one realizes this as it is all behind the camera. To be precise, make-up is not only necessary to make one look more beautiful, but also important for the toning of the skin and face muscles. Abhishek is aware of this and hence he regards me for this quality of mine.
Q: We have heard that you had to wear a lot of heavy ornaments for the film and this often troubled you. Tell us something on this.
A: Yes, people have asked me this question time and again. But this time I really had to wear a lot of heavy ornaments and clothes as I was portraying an empress of the Mughal dynasty. It required all these stuff. Anyways, hats off to all these women from the royal families who would get up early in the morning and adorn themselves with such heavy ornaments and clothes day after day.
Q: Well, did you need to take on any extra work load to portray the character of Jodhaa Bai in the film?
A: Not exactly. In fact, Ashutosh had narrated the character so brilliantly to me that there was no need for any extra work or preparation. Besides, this is not a character like in Dhoom-2 which required me to make rounds of the gym to tone up my body. I am happy that Ashutosh did not cover me up with ornaments only to make me appear like Jodhaa Bai. Instead he gave me ample scope to present my acting talents and this was a role very much different from Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
Q: In order portray Jodhaa Bai efficiently on screen you must have had to read a lot. So, which aspects of the Mughal Empress did impress you the most?
A: The benefit of working with a director like Ashutosh is that I gained a lot from his research on as well as passion for Jodhaa Bai"s character. He had done so much research on the character that we did not feel the need to go to any library to read books on the Mughal Empress or do any individual research. He had outlined the character so beautifully that I had to only do my bit to bring those aspects to life. Actually, in such cases, more than any research, it is important to fulfill your director"s views and aspirations.
Q: Personally, which characteristics of Jodhaa Bai have appealed to you?
A: To answer your question, I will need to open up a detailed discussion. Since that is not possible, I will suggest you to watch the movie and find it out for yourself.
Q: We have been told that there is a scene in the film where you were supposed to express anger while riding a horse. But you were reportedly so scared of horse riding that instead of anger there was fear on your face and now the scene is being technically corrected. What do you have to say about this?
A: Look, such things are common in all aspects of life. Actually, when I came for this shoot, I was right from my foreign film shootings and had no preparations whatsoever. Neither had I ever shot a horse riding scene nor been to a race course before. When Ashutosh asked me to do the scene, I simply jumped on the horse. All reports about my being scared are fabricated. I was just taking care of myself and there is nothing wrong in it. Ever since, I spent a few hours with the horse on the sets with a view to be familiar with the animal. All that I can tell you is that I enjoyed the horse riding and action scenes in the film and you can see it when you watch the film.
Q: Well, we have also heard that some scenes from the film have either been removed or changed….
A: I think you should ask this question to Ashutosh instead of me for I am yet to see the final print of the movie. Look, whenever a film of such magnitude is made, many stories are associated with them. I personally do not have so much spare time to answer to all such questions. Actually, everyday so much of our time used to be consumed traveling from Karjat to Mumbai that I am not even aware of any such stories.
Q: You have done a historical film Umrao Jaan earlier, but the audience did not accept you. Do you have any such fears this time?
A: You are partially right when you say that the results of one film have their impacts on the other. So, far I have only read about the TRP reports from newspapers and other media, but how do I know how many people have watched 'Umrao Jaan" so far? I, however, believe that every film and performance is different and the only way to ensure the success of a film is to be completely committed to it. The rest depends on the audience.
Q: Is it true that during the shoot of 'Jodhaa-Akbar" there were some differences between you and Hritfik Roshan?
A: (Laughingly) Well……… there was nothing like this. At least, I am not aware of any such thing. However, I am not aware if Hrithik thinks so. Anyways, I don"t like to fight with anyone on the sets. If you wish to know more on this, you may ask Ashutosh or Hrithik.
Q: Will you tell us something about your forthcoming films Sarkar Raj and Pink Panther?
A: Well, right now I would only like to talk about Jodhaa-Akbar. About the rest of the films, we will talk at a later date.