Your reaction when Bela approached you for the role?
I was so very perplexed when Bela approached me for this role.I am forty plus so I couldn't imagine.I was surprised how she could conceptualize this character for me.I must confess the film is exuberantly comic but it is equally emotional too.
Taking orders as actor and not giving as director how was it?
I was bored.I am not used to being pampered but they started pampering me on the sets on the first day.I was out of place it was fun being pampered.I hope people pamper me all the time like this (laughs)
Any acting workshops?
No Boman and I had a reading together. Bela's only instruction was be natural donâ€™t make it caricaturish. I didn't even bother how I was looking in the movie.The character was easy in some places but not all that easy. It was not just comedy there are scenes which will bring tears to your eyes. Especially in the climax there's one dialogue of Boman where I cried. Where he tells me about love and I would think of my children.But many who have seen the film say I am natural in the film.
Were there any inhibitions taking up a role at this age?
Yes I was worried but the story was so interesting.When we had a narration she had told us that I am 35 and Boman is 40 years old.We wanted to look our age so we told Bela to increase the age of the characters.
What do you feel is easier, direction, choreography or acting?
After doing this film I did understand how difficult it is to face the camera I was out of my comfort zone.I had to work on it.I am not looking like a conventional actress. I think I am only debutant heroine at the age of 47. Age should not define you.. Choreography is simple.Direction is something that I love.I am a writer, director, choreographer, actor and producer all rolled in one.You will not believe I am the only one who has given different union cards.A producer,s card is cheaper than a dancer's card.
Was there any moment when you directed your assistants on the sets of a song?
I would tell them take this particular shot like this. They were nervous but I would go and quietly tell them that I can't dance or do a particular step and they would change it for me.
Were there any scenes which embarrassed you?
Bela wanted to add a kissing scene.She tried convincing me every day during the shoot but I strictly told Bela that if she forces me to do kissing scenes I will walk out of the movie. I will never perform a kissing scene as I am not comfortable doing so.I am a married woman and have three children at home and I didn't want to embarrass them. So Bela put a scene where Boman tries to kiss me but cannot because of some reason or the other. She turned it into a comic scene. There was this where Boman sits in a towel and that very day my mother, my mother in law and my three children along with their maids came on the set. Poor Boman was so embarrassed. He scolded me for having invited them on that day. They were all sitting right opposite him. My daughter went and told Shirish that she saw Boman Uncle's poo poo. The film is a rom-com and it has nothing vulgar at all. It is all fun-filled and entertaining film. . I am sure everyone will enjoy the film. This is not an adult film. I will take my family and my little ones to the theaters to watch it.
Did you obey Bela to the hilt?
I did but at times I would ask her if I could make some changes with respect to my dialogues or dresses.
Now that you have debuted as an actor do you realize how actors feel? Was it easy to give up the control?
Yes I did realize how much stress they undergo or how insecure they feel or why they are moody.Shot edit camera nothing is in their control.They don't know the details of what they have enacted or how much will be edited. Actors also want their performances to be the best and at times they demand for retakes if they are not happy.To give up that control was a little difficult
Did Bela ask you to lose weight for the role?
No she had no such demands.I am so fat in the movie when I saw myself on screen I realized that I had to lose weight and so underwent surgery.I am trying to maintain this weight now.I feel I am looking good and I can carry off the clothes that I wore in the film.
You have played the typical Parsi girl to the hilt. Did you meet any Parsi women or take help from them?
My mother is a Parsi and she had warned me not to make fun of Parsis. She frightened me so much that I had to be careful. Anyways I didn't want to be caricaturish so I was natural.I had met a lot of Parsi women.A Parsi Designer Delnaz Kharbari designed the authentic Parsi clothes for me.When I wore them the actress in me came out.
Do you think you will be comfortable in these clothes now?
Yes I am quite comfortable.But I prefer jeans and a shirt.I can wear some good dresses to parties now.
Did you ever feel you had acting potentials and what is the reaction of your friends, your family and brother Sajid?
Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan would always laugh at me when I would enact a scene for them in films.Sajid always makes fun of me.My mother was shocked and said it would be a disaster.Now after watching the film she has started saying I am good.My husband Shirish has said he will never watch the movie. But most of my industry friends have appreciated my work.
Why arent' you choreographing songs these days, Was there any moment when you directed your assistants on the sets of a song?
I would tell them take this particular shot like this. They were nervous but I would go and quietly tell them that I can't dance or do a particular step and they would change it for me. I stopped doing full movies as choreographer. I do a song occasionally when someone insists.
What is your take on romance at this age?
I am a very romantic person at heart. I don't believe there is age for romance. In fact you are more mature at this age and your love will be true not frivolous. I believe romance lies in simple things like going out for dinner or an outing with your beloved, this signifies a true love. I am very middle class in my thoughts. I have those ethics in my upbringing. I can never think of romancing any other man but only Shirish. I thank god that I married at 40. If I had married earlier I would have been divorced by now. I was very brash at that age. My brother is also forty plus and I am sure his love life will be better now. Shah Rukh recently said he loves you a lot? How is Happy New Year Shaping up? Yes, it is an established truth that Shah Rukh loves me a lot. Shahrukh and I have been good friends and we shall remain friends forever. Happy New Year script is ready and we will begin the shoot soon.,
Will you take up acting assignments now..?
Why not, if the role is good and the money is good I will definitely do it.
How was it getting romantic with Farah Khan?
To romance Farah it was a little different. I genuinely love her because there's no hidden agenda in her tone. She is always telling the truth. In fact with me she's extra loved.
When did you meet Farah first?
I was shooting stills for a movie starring Sunny Deol and Simran of south.I was a still photographer and Farah was a choreographer.She was introduced to me and she told me that she is making a film and she asked m to find her a Parsi character.She didn't know I came from a theatre background and I was an actor.I didn't tell her about my background but I sent a whole lot of Parsi actors to meet her.She didn't like any one. She came to know that I am an actor. She came to me and said why you didn't tell me you are an actor. This was just before the chat show Next Talk. I went to meet her at her house when she was staying with Sajid Khan. She sat and narrated the story. I think she is the only commercial woman director. I started respecting after seeing a woman in a man's world completely dominating others. She's very straightforward.She signed me for her film Om Shanti Om. I never give reasons for forthrightness. I didn't know she was making such a huge film until I met Shah Rukh Khan at Darjeeling.
What was the brief given to you by Bela?
It was very clean cut. I wanted to be 50 years old and Bela wanted me to be a forty year old who has never shared two seconds with ay woman. I am uncomfortable with women around. The only woman I have ever known in my life is my mother. My mother in the film vetoes every girl I come across. I am a bra and panty salesman. He is not a loser but people reject him because of his job.
You have played a salesman in this film.You owned a shop earlier did your experience help you with the role?
As a shopkeeper I had great sense of observation. I would sit on one spot and observe all my customers. Yes it did help me in many ways.I used that power of observation in my acting.I spoke with Naseeruddin Shah and told him that I missed acting school.He said Boman your shop was your acting school what more do you want.
Do you think the audience will enjoy such a film?
I think I am a little softer in telling the truth but I can never fake it.I will always say that we have done our best it's for them to decide.We have worked hard and tried our best to make a good film.We enjoyed working on it. But at times honesty can be detrimental.
Do you feel honesty is detrimental in the long run too?
It can be detrimental in the short run but not in the long run.I have seen the film and it's genuine. There's a lot of comfort from spoken to situation, slapstick and sadness. It's a light fun loving film. Like I said we have worked hard and made an honest effort so in the long run this will works for us.
What is your take on love at this age?
I don't know about love but I always feel there is no expiry date for love. We found what the film is standing for. There are many in this that fall in love at this age. The film is beautiful in its approach. Love can be described in many ways at different ages. From 20 to 40 it's different you are brash and heady.After the age of 40 lovers are far clumsier.Like my character in this film doesn't know how to hug her. He under does it or overdoes it. It's more innocent than teenage love.
Has your love grown over the years for your wife?
I get naughtier with my wife every day. Of course it has grown over the years.
How was it working with Farah as an actress?
When you are making your first film that passion would rub off. We would argue everyday yet at the same time we would have wonderful discussions. She is debuting pretty late in life and you have to treat her like a child. She is a good actress and we have to nurture her.She is a wonderful director and actor. She would often say please guide me.She was so humble to learn and was very open to ideas.
Is it easier to work with co-stars with whom you share a great rapport?
Yes it makes a lot of different. If I don't have a rapport I cannot work with a star. There's proximity and no barriers. It will be difficult for me to work with someone I don't respect.
How was it working with a woman director?
Oh wonderful.All women directors I have worked with bring a certain sensitivity. They are dominating but I like such women. This is not the first time that I have worked with a woman director.I have worked with twenty two directors and six debutant female directors.There's Bela Sehgal, Sooni Taraporewala, Ruchi Narain, Farah Khan, Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar.
What do you think of our cinema. Do you think it has come of age?
I can't really comment on it.I have to see a lot and explore a lot as an actor. I cherish new age cinema but at the same time I love our commercial cinema. Sadly it has yet to make a universal impact.There are directors in the west who are taking away our songs and dances and I don't want the Indian exotica to be sold.We have to assert ourselves in the world cinema. We are too comfortable in our space.People say we should remake this film or that film. Why remake when we have so much talent.We should improve the writing in our country it will work better for our cinema.
Will you ever take up direction?
I will direct a film but it will take me time to have belief in my subject. I want to do it but my acting career is not going too badly.My family is taken care of now. I am still contemplating it.
What about turning producer?
No, I don't think I will ever turn a producer.
Did you ever imagine that you would be a successful actor some day?
There's different being successful and well known. I thought I'll be successful in what I do but never knew I will be famous. I feel proud that people appreciate my work.Respect was something that I always got.