Two drastically different films, Bullett Raja and R…Rajkumar releasing back to back...
Yes, Tigmanshu sir’s film and Prabhu sir’s films are like the two ends of the spectrum. In Bullett Raja, I play a struggling actress. It is an interesting premise and I really wanted to work with Tigmanshu. I respect him a lot. About R…Rajkumar, it is a typical, masala film with songs and dance. It is a film where romance is given as much importance as action.
People who have worked with you once come back to you for more....
True, but see the films that they have come back to me with. I started with Joker but then I was given Rowdy Rathore, which I think was a fantastic film. I did Dabangg and I got to do Dabangg 2. People I have worked with would have understood if I had declined their next offer but I didn’t find any reason to turn down any of them.
But relationships and networking work here big time...
At first they said I am Salman’s favourite and then they said I am Akshay’s favourite. It is not like I haven’t worked with other people. Ranveer, Saif, Shahid... I believe in keeping cordial relationship with everyone. Yes, I form a good working rapport with people and that is what takes you forward. Today, if someone has to ask why Akshay Kumar works with me again, it’s because I am punctual and deliver my goods. I am doing a second film with Ajay, third with Prabhu sir. They appreciate little things when you’re being professional.
Apart from Lootera, you have been accused of doing shallow roles in most films....
I am absolutely unapologetic about it. Whatever people had to say, their doubts were put to rest with Lootera. I act in films which I like to watch as an audience. I want to go to the theatre, hoot and clap and dance and I think that’s entertainment. Commercial films also have a space for the heroine. A lot of people also say that I have created a space which I can only fill. So that’s about it.
Do you take criticism to heart?
I don’t. Everybody has an opinion today, whether you ask for it or not. Only with Lootera, I got so much applause and appreciation. It felt good that people took me seriously as an actress. But that’s fine. I purely work for the love of it. I know that you can’t please everyone. Do what your heart tells you. Also Lootera kind of films are so rare to come. It has set such a high benchmark for me that I won’t accept anything that doesn’t come near it. In the meantime, I am doing commercial films. I don’t think that will drive away other people. Vikram (Vikramaditya Motwane) came to me after I starred in four huge masala films. He told me that he planned to cast me soon after he watched Dabangg. So, there. The day I think I have stopped enjoying the process, I will quit. I have no attachment to these trappings.
Any barriers that you had to break down to be part of this industry?
I didn’t plan to be part of this industry even though I have grown up in it. It is all destiny. I had no time to prepare myself, I just jumped into the deep end of the pool and learnt to swim. I was not sure if I wanted to continue doing this. I have no ambitions so I don’t plot and plan anything. Till today I haven’t called up a producer asking for my work. Neither has my dad. I don’t socialise I don’t do the normal things that people here should be doing.
No yes-men around you?
Not at all. Our upbringing has kept us close to the ground. I have seen yes-men around my father while growing up and I used to think what are these uncles doing… but then times have also changed.
Do you miss doing other normal things that youngsters do? Like dating?
Sometimes but loneliness rarely creeps in because I am surrounded by good people. I have done my bit of hanging around with friends during college days. About dating? If you have to meet you will find a way. Love always finds a way. Look at my parents. They met in a train from Patna to Poona. Mum was 15 and dad was 20. Dad was going to study at Pune film institute and mum was coming from a wedding. He wrote letters to her and he would go to her house and sing songs under her balcony! My mum’s mother used to throw rocks at him so that he goes away. I doubt such a fairy tale will happen with me.