Ayesha unplugged

Bollywood actress Ayesha Takia, who was in the city recently to promote her forthcoming film Mod, talks about life, love and everything else that's keeping her comfortably busy these days

She's the quintessential babe in the woods who self admittedly 'lives in a bubble.' The song that describes the effervescent Ayesha Takia the most is Britney Spears' 'I'm not a girl, Not Yet a Woman.'

And unlike most in her ilk, she's aggressively ambitious and wouldn't trade her me-time for anything else in the world. Not even a game-changing project that requires her to discard her principles. 

Heard you visited an ice cream parlour before coming to the press meet. How was the cake fudge?
I'm allergic to chocolates, and a vegan, so dairy products are out. I had the fruit salad and it was delicious. I started veganism two months ago after reading Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet and another book called Skinny Bitch which I really loved. It started more as a moralistic thing. But it's helping me remain fit. My body, skin and hair are looking better.

Your last release was Pathshaala in 2010. Your screen appearances are rare. Is there never a fear of losing out to competition?
I have never thought about the business of films, strategized or been competitive. My belief is that if you deserve something, you get it. If I like a film, I go for it. It's sort of philosophical and sounds crazy but that's how I am. I do things that I feel are working for my life at that moment. Since I was 15, I have been acting. I don't remember not being an actress. That's why I took a two-year break - to understand what I want. You live in a bubble otherwise.

So what worked for you in Mod?
When Nagesh (Kukunoor) offers me a film, it's always a yes because of my personal rapport with him. I love romantic films both as an actor and an audience. The opportunity to work with people you really love for two months is great. He hasn't shot a film for two years and was  excited about the film.

What attracted you towards the character?
When Nagesh narrated the script, I was intrigued by this girl. Love and the people she loves are so important to her and I could totally relate to that. She repairs clocks for a living, which I have never seen any other actress play. I actually learnt how to repair a clock and also ride a Luna. Nagesh is particular about these things. Even if there are three shots that require you to do these things, he wants you to really know what you're doing so that it looks authentic.  The reason I liked the character is why I liked Aditi, the character I played in my first film, Socha Na Tha.  There's something special about that girl. She would do anything for love. It's a simple classic love story. Love stories have become so fast. Today, we went for a date and tomorrow we break up and find someone else. This isn't like that. They love each other and will do anything to be with each other.

Isn't it a little unreal?
It's not. I'm like that. I'm a sucker for romance. At a time when everyone said I'm insane to get married, I did it because I was in love and I thought it was the right thing to do.

Is marriage a good idea?
It is if you find the right person. I would recommend it to those who are absolutely sure about their partners. For me, it was the right thing to do. We are crazily in love even after seven and a half years of knowing each other. It's been amazing.

So cynicism doesn't find a place in Ayesha Takia's life.
People think I' m either lying or am completely insane. There's something wrong with me. But this is how I am. Ask anyone who knows me.

So when are the babies happening?
I don't know. People do decide those things. I'm not averse to the idea, nor am I planning it. Right now my plate is a little full. 

Coming back to films, you also have Revathy Varmha's Mad Dad with Naseeruddin Shah.
Revathy's mother-daughter story that I was supposed to star in with Jaya Bachchan got shelved. This one's a really beautiful father-daughter story. But I don't know if the film will happen.

What else is happening?
Business is something I'm doing and it's really exciting. The film industry is so much about the man. In the hotel industry, being a woman you'd earn more than you would as a heroine. In other industries, there's no differentiation. You can make as much as a man. You're the boss, everyone would want that job. It's exciting. I get to travel all over the world, research cafes, and restaurants. It's fun and I'm enjoying that as a business. It suits the person I am. I like to go away sometime. And Farhan, my husband, eventually wants to be a hotelier. We are working on a ten-room boutique hotel in Goa. It's a place we enjoy going to. We are only looking at holiday destinations.

Are films just one of your passions?
It's definitely a passion, but there are other things that are growing on me. I'm still discovering more about myself every day. I'm going with the flow right now. My location on Twitter is living in a very large bubble. I'm trying to burst it and see life.

Did the bubble burst when your family received death threats earlier this year?
That was really disturbing, worrisome.  Even when I sit in the car or get out of it, there are four bodyguards. Farhan never used to have them before, out of rebel. He always wanted to be a normal guy and have fun and not weird his friends out. But now we don't live like everyone else. Our whole lane is on surveillance cameras. I guess when you are part of a political  family, it's expected.
What has the experience taught you?
I am still working on understanding a lot about life. If you enter the film industry at a young age, you are cut off from the real world. The industry is big, but it's also really small. And you think that's the world. Your film releases on a Friday and either people love it or they don't. But do you have a life beyond that? Are you happy? Today you're number one or ten. But that's for people to see. Are you really excited and living the life you want to? For me, that's important.
Do you still adhere to the 'no kissing and intimate scenes' rule?
(laughs) Yes. Although I'm so broadminded, I have some old school ideas about a lot of things. If people accept me the way I am, it's fine. These principles certainly narrow down my offers and I have been told that by big filmmakers. But that's totally ok with me. I won't be happy compromising on my principles.

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