As if her million dollar smile wasn’t enough to win us over, her insane energy, pointed worldview and a great sense of humour made the conversation memorable. She spoke at length about how she started the trend of doing ‘hatke’ films with the critically acclaimed Dhoop, about her happy married life and her ambitious plans of getting into film production. She started the interview by saying how much she liked promoting and talking about her film and we thoroughly enjoyed talking to her.
You have chosen films which your contemporaries might not do; is that a conscious decision?
I think this is mainly because cinema is just a part of my life. There are so many other things I do which I am passionate about, like my NGO, my bike trips etc., so it would take a seriously interesting project for me to take time out for it. When I said yes to Dhoop, no popular actors were ready to do it. Now that small budget films are the order of the day, especially thanks to the success of Kahaani, everyone wants to do small budget films. It is sad that almost every other film made here is a love story. There is much more to cinema than just love stories; what about crime, politics?
When Rajat Kapoor (Director of Fatso) told me that he wanted me to be a part of a love story, I wasn’t really excited. Only after I read the script and found out that the entire film revolves around the character I play, I agreed to do it. I think the audience doesn’t have many choices; if they keep on getting unimaginative rom-coms, the state of our cinema will only stagnate further. Just like people can try various cuisines, they should be given an opportunity to choose between various genres of films. The audience has changed over the years and they do appreciate good cinema.
Housefull 2 made Rs 100cr and Dibakar Banerjee is being arm-twisted to add a Sufi song in his political thriller. Is there any hope for good cinema?
I didn’t know about the Shanghai episode and there is not much I can say about it. But what is wrong with Housefull 2 being a hit? Every once in a while I do like to watch a brainless flick and have a good laugh. Having said that, I would watch Vicky Donor before I go to watch Housefull 2.
Coming back to Fatso, how was the experience of working with Ranvir Shorey, like?
I had met him earlier, through a common friend and was highly impressed by him. I wanted to know him better because he spoke a lot about current affairs, something that I am very interested in. There are actors who I like, but only from a distance because they are only consumed by films, but Ranvir is a really knowledgeable person, so there is so much more to talk about.
I think the same holds good for Rajat Kapoor as well. I can talk to him about anything under the sun. Not only is he a good actor and a great filmmaker, he is a wonderful human being. While I was shooting with Rajat, I realised that he never yells or screams on the set. Being the captain of the ship, if a director can get his job done by his cast and crew without losing his temper, I salute him.
Given that you are so concerned about the state of our cinema, do you plan to turn into a director?
No, I don’t have any such plans, because directing a film takes a lot of patience. I am certainly interested in producing films and there are two projects that I am already toying with. One of them will have my creative inputs too!
Will the films that you produce be ‘hatke’, just like the films you act in?
It will have a certain sensibility that I bring to the table. There will be song and dance too, but only if justified. There are two occasions when people sing and dance – during festivals and marriages. Other than that, have you seen two normal people singing to each other, sitting across the table? How are they joined by those hundreds of dancers who match steps with them?
Who writes the lyrics and who composes the song? Does it even make any sense? The films which I will produce will have songs but no lip-syncing. Even Hollywood films have songs, but they are not forced into the film; they are independent entities. It is high time things change here. Filmmakers like Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, Vikramaditya Motwane and Navdeep Singh are headed in the right direction and I would like to work in their films.
Is your husband clued into films?
It is just one of the other things that we talk about, but definitely not the only thing. Actually, we are so busy that we hardly get time to talk to each other.