Are you pleased with your career and life?
What makes you ask that? Of course I am. I've been busy shooting and travelling. I fact I've barely been in Mumbai this last year. Now I've pretty much wrapped up all my assignments. "Janasheen" made money for everyone. The film had a brilliant opening in India. Now my dad is working on 2-3 subjects. You know how he is. He takes a break between every film. As of now, I'm in it (laughs).
Are you happy with "Fida"?
I'm definitely pleased with my role. It offered me a chance to do something completely different from anything I've done in the past. It helped me to discover a new look for my character and to discover new facets to my acting ability. Incidentally the publicity was squeezed into just one month. Therefore audiences felt they saw a lot more of the three of us than they would have normally.
Did you feel left out in the Shahid-Kareena promotional campaign?
No, why should that be? This could be the impression created by the fact that out of the four songs on air I feature in only one. That's the way it's in the film, so that's the way it was shown on television. I never felt sidelined. Bebo and I are very good friends. On the sets we were all professionals, getting the work done.
You've done a scene in a bathtub with Kareena?
(laughs) Yes, our director Ken Ghosh put us in the water for so long.....
Guess you didn't need to bathe for a long time.
Nooooo. Everyone needs to bathe every day. But "Fida" isn't an erotic film. It's a thriller with an interesting twist.
"Dev" gave you a chance to play a non-glamorous character.
Yes, it was an incredible experience. I'd definitely count it among the most significant films that has come out in the last decade. It's a pity it didn't find its audience. It's definitely one of my top three films. Not everyone has Govind Nihalani's conviction.
All the actors plunged into the sensitive communal issue because we had full faith in him. We all knew the issue would come out balanced and unbiased. I never had any doubts about being able to portray the character. I had seen Govind Nihalani's works, and I knew we would be able to work out a credible look and life for my character. Getting the look right was important. It was half the battle won. Sure enough I got incredible support from the script and the director.
You sound very pleased with "Dev"?
Dev was a great learning experience. Having played so many glamorous characters before, it was a challenge to be so real. "Dev" made me think about our priorities as citizens. It taught me the power of stillness. My character had a lot of inner conviction that translated very well on screen. It had a lot to do with the director's conviction. I couldn't hold the same kind of calmness in a film that was shot differently. On the other end of the spectrum there's my forthcoming film "No Entry".
That's an out and out comedy.
Yes. I worked with Anil Kapoor earlier in "Om Jai Jagdish". I look up to him for his dedication. If it wasn't for Anil I wouldn't have done "No Entry". But with Salman Khan I worked for the first time. In "No Entry" I've a hysterically comic role. I've made a conscious effort to be funny. Let's hope it has worked out. The director, Anees Bazmi, has been fantastic. His forte is comedy. It's shot in Bangkok. It gonna be a big movie.
You are quoted as saying you had a hard time shooting with Shahid in "Fida".
(quickly) No comment. I really don't want to get into all that. I had given just one quote about the matter. That's it. I had a great deal of fun working with Shahid and Kareena, specially Kareena who's a close friend. We had worked together earlier in "Khushi" and "Dev". This was a third and totally different experience. This time the dynamics of our on-screen relationship were very different. As for Shahid he's a talented kid. He's going to go places.
And the director?
Ken and I got along like a house on fire. He's one of the most relaxed people I've worked with. He's a very stylized kind of filmmaker, knows exactly what he wants. That makes an actor's job so much easier.
I haven't signed anything else. I'm looking at projects carefully. We're looking at a different audience today. It's not like earlier when one could get away with anything. I'm mostly being offered love stories and glamorous roles. "Fida" is again a very glamorous role. But it has a very dynamic twist to it.
What's happening in your life?
Nothing exciting on the personal front. I'm fine the way I am. I'm always happy. I don't dwell on setbacks. I'm a very positive and progressive person. We all have our bad days. I'm a contented person.