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You are back to your vanishing acts, avoiding the media and making minimal public appearances?
I'm bored of this question.
How was the lunch that Uma Thurman hosted for The Namesake cast in New York?
That lunch has been over-hyped. Ask Irrfan Khan.He'll give a more interesting answer.
So, is this going to be one of those interviews again?(Laughs) You tell me?
Ok, let's start again, shall we? After last year's double whammy of Cheeni Kum and The Namesake, you have signed a Telugu film Idi Sangati.
How do you explain that?
I can't sit at home and wait for something big to come my way. I had to choose from what was offered to me and Idi Sangati made sense. The director waited for two-and-a-half years to make the film with me. Also, it's a comedy-a genre I've wanted to do for a long time.
Isn't doing a regional film after The Namesake, which took you to a global audience, a bit unsettling?
I started out with Telugu films and shooting in Hyderabad suits me. Since I'm not a cosmopolitan city-bred girl, doing a regional film is not really a departure for me. I can relate to it. That's why I've signed another Telugu film, Panduranga, directed by my guru, K Raghavendra Rao. I'm really excited about it since I play a Devdasi-something I've never attempted before-in it. I didn't plan for this big project though. Like everything else, this too just fell in my lap.
So, you never plan?
Never. Planning doesn't suit my temperament. I act on instinct when I am offered a film.
What is your most important selection criterion for doing a film?
Personal comfort. I've become choosy about the people I work with.
Why are you so reluctant to promote your films?
I feel fake saying all those good things about a film. I can't do that unless I really believe in a film.
Which was the one film you really believed in and liked promoting?
(Thinks hard) Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities. I enjoyed doing every shot of the film. It was like a treat.Recently, there were reports of you doing Deepak Tijori's film in English, Zoya Akhtar's untitled project opposite Farhan Akhtar and Shoojit Sircar's Shoebite starring Amitabh Bachchan. But you have denied that you are working on these films.(Sighs) The directors and I were only in the process of talking about whether or not to do the films. I was never doing them. I hope to find better ways to deal with such reports. So far, the only way I've dealt with them is detaching myself from them so that they don't occupy my mindspace.To be honest, I'm unable to cope with the media's intrusion in our lives. I can't handle "who wore what, who ate what, who said what"kind of reportage. I tell myself to ignore it. Even denying such news would give it undeserved importance. I have just two requests. I wish the directors refrain from announcing that I am doing their film until I sign the contract and that the media publishes better pictures of me.
Fair enough. So what's the deal with this sensuous dance number that you've done in Idi Sangati?
(Shocked) Where did that come from? It's not even a dance. It's just a slow, sensuous song.
Ever want to do an item song?
Oh, yeah. Why not? It'll be great. There won't be any onus on me in that case. I'll go as a guest on the sets and have fun.
At the Star Screen awards, you said Amitabh Bachchan made you look good in Cheeni Kum. Do you really think so?
Of course. It was unusual for the two of us to be cast together, that too in a romance. If we were to do another film together, the script would have to suit both of us.
Do you feel bogged down by the heavy roles that filmmakers offer you?
That's the disadvantage of being stereotyped. On the one hand, it's good to have a type for yourself and then it's up to you to continue with it or not. If people feel I can do heavy and emotional roles well, then I must be convincing. But it has nothing to do with who I am as a person. Maybe, my face or appearance suits such roles. Physicality is the first thing a viewer notices while judging an actor's performance. But all this doesn't bog me down. I know I'll do a role only if I want to. Otherwise, I say no.
What is that one role that you really want to do?
A waitress in an American diner kind of setting. I like those characters.
Any plans of directing a film?
Maybe. I don't know. Not for the next five years though. If I have a story to tell or even one line that I want the audience to know, I'll do it.