Mastizaade is your first release this year and you begin it on a very naughty note. How excited or scared are you to face another fiery Friday?
Well right now, it’s just excitement that has occupied my mind and I am not scared as yet, but I am sure as we are closer to the release, there will be butterflies in my stomach and nervousness and all that stuff. We have waited for a very long time for this movie to release and finally it’s releasing so there is a lot of excitement and joy. Also this is the first interview that I am giving for the film and it sort of marks the beginning of our promotional campaign. The night before the release is when I am going to get scared. (Laughs)
It’s completely different from the kinds of Bollywood films you have been part of in last four years. How happy and content are you with the way the film has shaped up?
I have already watched it twice and I found it really funny. I am sure a lot of people will find it very funny. It’s not the kind of movie where you have to think too hard to understand what’s going on. It’s absolute fun and I hope people go with an open mind to watch the film and not with any pre-conceived notions. Indians love these kinds of movies where you can just go, laugh and have fun with your friends.
You are playing a double role for the first time. Which of these two characters is closer to your real self?
There are twin characters, Lily Lele and Laila Lele. Laila is how people have seen me and have known of me – very sexy, over-the-top bombshell kind of character and Lily is more like how I am in real self. She is conservative; I know it’s very hard for people to believe that I am conservative. She is a little dorky, introvert and not as outrageous and outgoing as her sister Laila. They are completely opposite. Playing Lily is more fun because I have played characters which have been very similar to Laila in my previous Hindi movies. You will be surprised that I found it more difficult to become Laila although I have played similar characters but because Lily is closer to my real self, it was pretty easier to become her.
Considering you had never done comedy and that too, a double role at that; what prompted you to sign this film?
Well the producer Rangita (Nandy) and director Milap (Zaveri) just took a chance and met with my husband Daniel who takes care of all the business part. I don’t get into that zone. So they met him and narrated the script and he couldn’t stop laughing. He found it very funny and called me said that I must do this film. Daniel is a big fan of comedy. He said I must hear the story as it’s very funny. The interesting part is that this type of comedy is something we hadn’t seen before in Hindi movies. Generally, comedy films in Bollywood are very clean and meant for family audience. In the US it’s very common, but this was the first time, I was reading something so outrageous and crazy. But that’s what makes it funny. So it wasn’t a hard decision to do this film.
Like you said, such movies are very common in the US but Hindi film audiences are not used to adult comedies yet. Even filmmakers aren’t open to the idea of making such movies. So were you taken aback?
Yes I was. This was the first time I had heard of this type of comedy. When you come from the US or the UK or any other European country, you think India has been more on the other side of this genre. But based on statistics, whatever adult comedies have been made in the recent past, they have worked, which means that the Indian audience too loves watching such movies and they are open to watching many more movies of this genre. Just that they haven’t been offered such stuff from the filmmakers. Maybe now it’s time for the adults to have a good time and go out with their friends and laugh and have fun watching humour that’s meant for adults.
But don’t you think such movies are only limited for the adult audience? It affects the footfall because unlike clean comedies, the entire family cannot go and watch such movies together.
Maybe you are right but if you want to watch this film, you wouldn’t go alone; you would go with a bunch of friends. Grand Masti was the biggest example of how it can work. The box office numbers show that it does work. Yes it was shocking for people because they hadn’t seen an adult comedy making so much money and becoming a superhit. So I think it’s nothing we need to be scared of. After all there are so many adults in India. That’s the best part about movies. There is something for everyone. This film has a lot for the adult audience. Also, on the same weekend, there is a U-rated movie that the family and kids can watch together and once the kids are put to bed, the adults can come and watch our movie. (Laughs)
After four years and a few films, how comfortable are you with Hindi language?
Main Hindi bolti hoon aur kabhi kabhi nahi, roz bolti hun. Agar aap mere saath Hindi mein baat karenge toh main bhi Hindi mein interview dungi! Of course I have an accent which I will take time to get rid of, but yes, I am very comfortable with the language now.
What do you emphasize more on and how do you choose a film, on the basis of the script or the director?
Well it depends. We have seen movies that came with a great promise but didn’t do well at all because the director didn’t do justice to the subject and there have been movies which we felt wouldn’t do well but they did because the director made a good, entertaining film out of a weaker subject. Sometimes, it works and sometimes, it doesn’t. You just cannot predict what will work for the audience and what won’t. So for me, I have to love the story before everything else because if I get bored reading it then I don’t want to do it. Whether the audience will love the story or not or whether they will love the performances or the way the story has been executed, nobody knows!
With such outrageous content of the film, how comfortable or uneasy was the atmosphere on the sets. Did it get awkward any point of time to mouth those dialogues?
Everybody had so much fun shooting together. The nice thing about a movie like this is that your level of open-mindedness is so much more than that on the sets of a serious film. You are talking about adult material in the film and saying some of the most outrageous dialogues, so the level of freedom to be able to talk what you want is much more. Even Rangita and Milap had the best time on the sets because there is no censorship on the sets. You don’t have to think about aisa bol sakte hain aur aisa nahin bol sakte hain ya log kya kahenge and all that stuff. There aren’t any such restrictions because we all belong to the same age group. It was a bunch of young, energetic people coming together on the sets.
You think Indian Censor Board is stricter as compared to other countries?
This is not just in India; it’s everywhere in the world. Every country has its own censorship. They all have their own rules and regulations. America has the same thing. You can’t put what you see in the movie on a TV. It doesn’t work that way. You can’t put R-rated material on TV. It’s just that India has one of the largest populations in the world and hence, the voice is louder. That’s the biggest difference I guess. Also it depends on what they think is right and what guidelines they have been given to follow. If Indian Censor Board would have been stricter, you wouldn’t have seen what you saw in the trailers and such films wouldn’t have been made in India.
After doing, thrillers, murder mysteries, reincarnation and now a double role in an adult comedy, which genre or kind of film would you love to do next?
Well everybody has been asking me when I will do a serious film or an out-and-out romantic film which is story based. Well every movie is story based by the way, even Mastizaade is! The next two films of mine that would be releasing this year are more in the serious zone. They aren’t comedy. There is One-Night-Stand which gives a feeling that it would be on the lines of what you have seen of me in the past, but you will be surprised to know that it’s not; and in a good way! Then there is Beimaan Love which is a truly emotional love story. It’s so high on emotions that every time I read the script, I cry. It’s a beautiful film. It’s one of my most favourite films and very close to my heart and I hope the audience will like it too.
There have been other foreign actresses too that have come into Bollywood but people feel you are doing better than all of them as you have more and better movies in your kitty. What do you feel?
Maybe they are more selective about the kinds of films they want to be part of. I don’t know what their drive is and what their goals are. I just know what my goals are. I don’t know about me doing better or not doing better than them; I just know that this is where I want to be. I want to work hard and make the right decisions. Have I been busy? Absolutely! I am busy till 2017, so it feels great. I want to work hard and party harder and have fun. I will work a thousand times harder because I want to work here for as long as I can.
Any dream director you wish to work with?
Yes, I don’t know when I will get to work with him, but I would love to work with Sanjay Leela Bhansali for sure.
The interview was recorded before the release of Mastizaade
Categories: Bollywood Interview