You are Babli!
Yup! Totally whacked out, freaky and fun loving! Babli is hysterically funny, and so am I. I hope people find me funny (in the film). (Though) most of my directors love to see me cry - and I love crying as it cleanses your soul - this (film) is a rare occasion when I got to laugh.
"Bunty Aur Babli" was fun because I was working again with Shaad Ali (after "Saathiya"). He's a very close friend and brings out the best in me. Abhishek (Bachchan) and I have put in really energetic performances.
Women generally have a tough time with comedy.
Men are more boisterous and can express themselves more vocally. Women with a sense of humour are really appreciated by men. And I get to be quite funny in the movie. I like to show my mad side to friends. Now the audience will get to see it. I was also quite whacky in Milan Luthria's "Chori Chori". "Bunty Aur Babli" goes many steps ahead. It's a full 'masala' film. Shaad has paid a tribute to the cinema of the 1970s.
You and Abhishek get to do a series of masquerades in the film.
Yeah. Seeing each other in different get-ups was an experience. The one that had me in splits was when Abhishek was a 'sadhu'.
After "Black", is "Bunty Aur Babli" a honourable follow-up?
"Black" will always remain special. But I can't expect every film to have a character like Michelle's. It's important to have a different character in every film. If people feel I'm not on a par with "Black" in "Bunty Aur Babli", I can't help it.
It's my job to make every character convincing. In my next release "Paheli", I play a completely different person - a dusky Rajasthani beauty. My character Lachi is nothing like Babli. Just as Michelle in "Black" was different from both.
It is often said you and Abhishek are the Jaya and Amitabh of the new millennium?
Really? I hope we can deliver even one-fourth of what Amitabh and Jaya did in "Abhimaan" and "Mili". Abhishek and I haven't done that many films together, but in "Bunty Aur Babli" we had great on-screen chemistry.
I've watched his growth as an actor. And I feel very proud of where he has come. We're very similar in our working style. Then we had Shaad to direct us in "Bunty Aur Babli". It was a great team.
I think Shaad is in love with you.
Ha, ha! It's very important for a director to be in love with his actress. That's the only way he can get the best work out of her. We have shared a rapport right from the time Shaad worked for Mani Ratnam. We worked in "Saathiya" and now "Bunty Aur Babli", which are completely different experiences. He knows exactly which buttons to push in my histrionic armoury. He surprises me about myself all the time.
Can this be called the most rewarding time of your career?
I'm scared. To sustain this momentum is tough. I work hard and leave the rest to luck. I also make sure I work only with people I'm comfortable with. After working with Sanjay Bhansali, I'm completely spoilt as an actor. Last year, another dream came true when I worked with Yash (Chopra) uncle in "Veer-Zaara". I gave a hit with Kunal Kohli in "Hum Tum". Mani Sir's "Yuva" was critically acclaimed. So it was a great year for me. This year started with "Black". Now I've "Bunty Aur Babli", "Paheli" and "The Rising". I hope my streak of success lasts until I get married.
Do you have much to do in "The Rising"?
Not as much as my other films. But it's my first period movie.