This is a sequel to an earlier post and today, I will talk about interviewing Bollywood’s leading ladies.
There is a reason why I decided to write the last post in between the two articles based on my ‘interviews’. The reason being: men and women behave very differently in Bollywood.
Bollywood heroes bother far less about the media than the heroines because they are more secure than their women colleagues. Bollywood heroines are far more cautious than the heroes. Though some of the leading women in Bollywood have managed to carve out a niche for themselves, the reality is that most leading ladies are still largely dependent on their heroes when it comes to film roles.
Not too many films are written keeping women in the lead and even if it is written, the producers are not ready to put in a lot of money. In the last five years, there have been very few films where the heroine of the film plays the main part. Even if there’s a film like that, the producers are not willing to invest more than Rs 30-40 crores in it. On the other hand, any film with even a B-list hero demands that kind of money.
Sadly, there’s a lot of catching up to do in Bollywood when it comes to gender equality. Yes, the situation is changing, but we are still have a long way to go. We are yet to move away from the patriarchal society that Bollywood is. If you have noticed, most of the films that we produce are patriarchal in nature.
So, naturally the heroines behave a lot of differently in front of reporters than the men in Bollywood. Every Bollywood heroine is very cautious about her body language and how she is carrying herself. Every word is spoken with utmost care and most importantly, Bollywood heroines are extremely aware of protecting their turf.
Every heroine is aware that Bollywood reporters are always looking for a headline or punchline while interviewing them and it is their love life that makes the headlines. The press generally don’t want to hear anything about ‘cinema’ from them.
They do talk about cinema in the course of the interview but somehow every interview seems incomplete without at least one mention about the whether the actress is single, dating somebody, looking to get married and if the actress is married, then the status of her married life.
Sadly, most actresses have become so immune to these questions that they give out answers without battling an eye-lid. These answers are not rehearsed but answering the same question over and over and over again gives a certain robotic touch to it.
Just look at the face of the actress when a reporter throws in a ‘personal’ question. The look on her face will be like, ‘Oh come on you intellectual Bollywood writer, you had to come down to this level, na? So much for the intellectual questions you had been throwing at me all this while. Now you want to know who I am sleeping with…’
Well, even then every Bollywood heroine has her own way of handling the press.
There are certain unique techniques that each one of them employ while handling one-on-one interviews (where there is only one reporter sitting in front of them). So here goes a few pointers about how the top five actresses handle the press:
1. Kareena Kapoor-Khan: Kareena will never show if she is offended by a question and will always try to answer all your questions. If she really doesn’t want to answer your question, she will just say, ‘next question please’. This means that you have really offended her. She is otherwise sweet to most journalists and if she is comfortable with you then the interview will feel like a coffee table conversation. If Kareena is not comfortable with you, then she will be distant, aloof and very formal. The signs that Kareena is comfortable with you will show prominently on her face – she will crack jokes, roll her eyes and laugh a lot. For some reason I feel that women journalists connect more with Kareena than the men.
2. Vidya Balan: One of the simplest human beings I have met, Vidya is very down to earth and devoid of the starry airs that is so typical to a top Bollywood actress. Vidya will trust you completely during an interview. She had had a hell of a struggle to reach where she is and it shows when she talks. Most Bollywood actresses will treat you as somebody beneath them and it will show in their attitude that they are doing a favour by talking to you. Vidya, on the other hand, will make you feel like a human being who’s equally important as her. The best part about Vidya is that she will go the distance for you – like accommodating an interview even if she is very busy because your deadline is near. Overall, one of the best subjects for an interview. You don’t need any training to interview her, even a rookie can come back with a great interview of Vidya Balan.
3. Katrina Kaif: Katrina is a very difficult subject to interview because she is very formal and distant during most interviews. Even if you act pally and personal, Katrina will always be on her guard. Katrina will only answer what she has been asked. If you don’t ask her the right questions, you won’t get the right answers. Her answers are always to-the-point and precise. She doesn’t volunteer extra information and she is not chatty either. She maintains a strict formal atmosphere in all her interviews. You need to gather some good experience in this field before you interview Katrina Kaif because otherwise you won’t come back with a good interview. Chalk out at least 20 questions in your mind before you are interviewing her.
4. Priyanka Chopra: Priyanka is a very interesting person to interview because she is a mixture of Katrina Kaif and Kareena Kapoor when it comes to giving interviews. Okay, let me explain. If you are ask Priyanka about her next film, about whether she has tried deep-sea diving or how she loves being on twitter — she will be chatty, informal, bubbly and talkative. But if you ask Priyanka about her personal life or something that she doesn’t want you to ask, she’s will be precise, formal and to-the-point. If you continue asking the wrong questions, the interview will end before it began. You need some training to interview Priyanka Chopra and a rookie will always come back with a disaster of an interview. If you ask Kareena or Vidya a stupid question, then you won’t realise that. But with Priyanka, the moment you put forth a silly or a stupid question, you will know it instantly. If you are interviewing Priyanka, always do your homework very well.
5. Deepika Padukone: Deepika is tired of answering questions about Ranbir Kapoor! She has exhausted all her answers, trust me. She has answered questions about him so many times that she can now answer questions about Ranbir even in her sleep. So, if you want a good interview, kindly change the topic. Deepika is also very formal while giving an interview though she won’t let you realise it. She will always have wide smile pasted on her face while talking and that will give you a feeling that she is being informal. She isn’t, because that is her natural demeanor. It is very difficult to make her open up because her mind is always alert to the fact that she is talking to a reporter and not a friend. Deepika is courteous but will never volunteer any additional information.
So, hope the above helps other rookie journalists who will be interviewing these actresses in future.
Continuing with the debate about how Bollywood is a man’s world, here’s one more example of how heroines put their personal differences and tiffs aside to come together for a leading superstar. You have seen heroines dance countless number of times with Shah Rukh Khan at award functions. Here’s a video when the leading ladies came together for Salman Khan at the Lakme Fashion Week in 2010. I don’t re-collect too many instances like these when male superstars have come together for a heroine. Here’s the video as a parting shot.
Short-link link of the post -> http://goo.gl/3ByRZB