It's been a while since one has heard from you... How has been the New Year so far?
New Year has been good. It started out well. On New Year's Eve I was performing in Sahara Star. Every New Year a lot of people prefer partying and getting drunk, I don't say that's wrong but I don't really have to find a particular day to party. Moreover, if I'm at work and making money out of it and doing something that I love what better way to start the New Year. In fact, Tanushree and I were performing together and after the show got over we went to Mount Mary Church and it was really a beautiful experience. So, the year took off really well and this year, I have couple of exciting projects that I am looking forward to.
You last film release Apna Sapna Money Money released way back in Nov 06? They say out of sight is out of mind...Don't you think you have been missing for a long time now?
I don't really think so because to do good things you need to have patience. Things happen overnight for few lucky people but for others like me, there is a lot of hard work to be done and I don't see anything wrong in that, because at the end of the day it gives you immense satisfaction when your work is appreciated after all the effort you have put in. A lot of people ask me that why you always take time to decide on projects? I always feel that it's better to learn from other's mistakes rather than your own mistakes. Hence, I would prefer working with good banners and good directors even if it takes time, as long as it benefits me at the end of the day.
Have you made a conscious decision to distance yourself from the media?
Not really. I have never done that. I have always been nice to the media when they have come to me. At times they write without knowing the fact. They do write certain stories which are not true but you cant jump and answer them every time, you can't be doing that all your life. So I take myself, far away from them and I give them the liberty to write what they want. Because I believe good story or bad story, nothing is going to affect your career. It cannot make you a star and cannot destroy you. So I think they are doing their job and I'm doing my job. It's a part and parcel of every celebrity's life. One has to learn to accept it and live with it.
This year is also special considering you have your first international project Karna coming up. Could you tell us a little about the film?
Yes, Karna is one of the most exciting projects that I have been a part of. I have done months of rigorous training and preparation and I'm sure its going to pay off. The best thing about the role is you see a feminine side and yet she is doing action, martial art, kick boxing etc. So this mix of my character having a real feminine side, yet kicking some butt makes her look really sexy and interesting.
What is your character in the film and how did you bag this film?
I play a village girl who is born with superpowers, so the director basically wanted an Indian face who would look equally sexy as a village girl and even when she later on becomes a superwoman. So as a village girl you will see me in a look that is very earthy with really beautiful jewellery etc and at the same time she is completely in shape as the superwoman.
How was it working with an international cast and crew?
It has indeed been a great opportunity for someone like me. The people who trained me on this film are the ones who have worked with Uma Thurman in the Kill Bill series. The special effects team has done some really big Hollywood films like Ghost Rider and Matrix etc. The camera person who shot my portfolio on location of the film has worked with one of the biggest fashion magazines called Vanity Fair. So its indeed been a great learning experience for me and I am lucky to have grabbed this movie which if I may say in true Bollywood style is a solo lead film(for me)
Who all form rest of the cast in the film?
As of now, they are in talks with some big names in Hollywood like Orlando Bloom. There are a team of 3 directors working on this film. One of them looks at the drama and dialogues, the other team which looks at the special effects is from Hong Kong and the action team has worked on some big Hollywood films. There are also 3 producers and PNC is one of the producers who have taken the charge of releasing the film in India. However, it's going to release only in English and not in Hindi.
So when is Karna going to release?
I think its going to take some time. We recently shot 4 promos and to shoot 4 promos it took us a lot of time with the special effects and the post production etc. There is a lot of detailing in the film. We have shot in very big croma studios in Hong Kong, China. Over here we at times finish 4 scenes in one day but for one scene in this film we had to travel to three different countries. That's the difference and that's why it's taking a lot of time. Even their post production will also take a lot of time. I feel either this year end or probably early next year they would release. It's almost a 130 crore project so it's huge.
One of your films which brought you into the reckoning Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena is now being released in its animated version EKEH 2.0? You played a con-girl posing as a shrink in that one...so would your role be the same?
EKEH 2.0 is going to be really cool. My character of a con-girl who poses as a psychiatrist will be much better this time around. I don't know many details yet but the director told me that my character (Natasha) would be the biggest surprise of the film. As of now they are busy with the sketches of the animated characters and they look so very cool
So what would be your input this time around apart from giving the Voice-over for the character?
Yeah apart from giving the VO, what they would be looking at is promotion. I am not sure as to how they are going to plan the promotion of the film but I would do my bit in promoting EKEH 2.0.
Will the animated movie also have songs and music which featured in the original film, considering the music of Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena was quite a rage.
I don't know if they are planning to have songs in EKEH 2.0. However, I wish they have the boxing song ('Saara Jahan'). That is my favorite song in the film and I am sure it will look all the more cute now (laughs)
You recently were seen sizzling on the cover of Gladrags magazine in its January issue this year...You sure seemed at ease even wearing the bikini...So what is your fashion mantra like and are you a fussy dresser?
I am not a fussy dresser. I experiment a lot with my dresses. At times, I'm in a mood to wear track pants, a cap, torn jeans , sneakers, so I wear that and at times I prefer wearing a simple kurti with denims. For special occasions like award functions, I would love to wear a Saree. In dresses, my favorite colors are Black, Red and White. I don't really follow any fashion trends. I am fond of cool and comfortable clothes which suit my style.
In this day and age when stars really need to be fit as a fiddle, you are among the trendsetters…. So what is the secret to your fab figure?
Its sheer hard work and people can call it crash dieting and starving or whatever but I would want them to go and try out if those methods work. If you want to make your body look good, nothing can work better than hard work. You have to be in the Gym and you need to understand what form of work-out your body likes. It could be plain cardio or it could be kick-boxing or it could be even a dance form like Salsa. As long as you are putting in the effort and enjoying what you are doing, the results will show. I personally prefer weight-training and I like it when people compliment me for my body. It gives me that push to work out harder.
In B-town, the popular saying goes that two actresses can never be friends; Yet your friendship with Tanushree Dutta is quite the talk of the town….How did the two of you connect?
I think at times when we lose something, we gain something. Tanushree and Riya were best friends. I didn't know Tanu at that time. I was good friends with Riya during Apna Sapna Money Money. However, Tanu and Riya had a fall out and then for some stupid reason Riya and me had a fall out. It was then that I started to know Tanushree. I found her to be a very strong girl. We were traveling for quite a few shows together and since we are both Bongs, we kinda connected.
So do you girls have the same likes and dislikes?
No (laughs) as a matter of fact we realized that we are two completely different people. We don't think alike, we don't do similar things; we are absolutely two opposites which makes it all the more interesting. Even if the two of us are put in a situation and asked to react, we would have totally different point of view.
Do you discuss work with each other?
We hardly discuss work. There are lots of interesting things to talk about. She is somebody who is very well read and has a lot of knowledge and even I like to pick up and learn interesting new things. Moreover, we both are single, so we can sit and discuss a lot about men. Again her choice of men and her take on relationships is completely different from mine. So it's a lot of fun
Apart from Tanu who are you other friends in the industry?
I do have a very good relation with all the producers, directors and actors whom I have worked with. From Sanju to Ritesh, all of them have been really nice whenever we bump into each other.
Bong babes continue to rule Bollywood…How does it feel?
It feels great. I think there are 14 of us now (laughs) and people always have so many expectations from us, so living up to that is a real challenge. But I love it.
What surprises are in store for all Koena fans?
There will be many. Sometimes surprises come all of a sudden in the middle of the night and it is really exciting. You have to take life as it comes. For me, each and every thing that I am doing is exciting but I hope that my fans will like the work that I do this year.