The director of Khiladi 786, Ashish Mohan, says he was very young when the original Khiladi released in 1992. Do you remember it?
It was Akshay who brought it to my notice — ‘Arre you must have been six to seven years old when my first Khiladi was released’. At that time, I had never imagined that in 2012 I would be Miss Khiladi! I never thought I would pair opposite Akshay, whose films I saw during my schooldays. That must be a regular occurrence since most of the actors you work with are much senior to you. (Laughs) I know! Be it Aamir, Salman or Akshay, I have grown up watching their movies. People have to work their way up, whereas I have been very privileged to start with Aamir, Salman, Akshay, Ajay and Abhishek. I think I am God’s favourite child.
You started in films at the young age of 16. Do you feel you have missed out on a lot in life?
I started working at 14; I was in Class 9 when I began modelling for ads. I did films while I was still in school, and also in college. But I was weighing my options because I come from a totally academic family — it was only after I won an award for my performance that I thought, ‘I can act for the rest of my life’.
I think I have got the best of both worlds; I was able to live the student life and be a professional later. My friends have grown up with me; they don’t treat me differently because I am an actor. Often, they don’t even know what my next film is.
One hears you get along well with Sonam Kapoor and Jacqueline Fernandez.
Everybody I have worked with is a friend. With hectic schedules, it is difficult to invest time in a friendship…but Sonam, Jacqueline and I have managed to do that.
Do you see yourself falling in love with an industry man?
I have always compartmentalised my life. The film industry is my workplace and wouldn’t really want it to overlap with my personal space. I don’t see myself getting involved with someone from the industry.
After Housefull 2 and Bol Bachchan, Khiladi 786 is your third film in 2012. Now, everyone is wondering whether it will, like the other two, also enter the Rs 100-cr club.
The whole Rs 100-cr talk started with Ghajini. I am the founding member. And I am renewing my membership periodically. But I don’t really attach too much importance to the club. As the industry grows, so do the numbers. I am happy that my films have reached that standard but I also know that filmmaking is a collective process. I have not deduced a formula for a Rs 100 crore film. I contribute as much as a leading lady can.
You play a Marathi character in Khiladi 786, Indu Tendulkar. Any relation to Sachin Tendulkar?
Not at all (laughs). The director felt that the name is very Maharashtrian. I had to speak accented Hindi, and I would speak in Marathi with the crew members. Akshay was also a big help. He has stayed in Mumbai for so long, so he is very good at it. I am fluent in six languages; and hopefully, Marathi will soon be added to that list.
Any word that you have been able to memorise?
The bad words (laughs).