Saturday, August 9

"I am not in charge of casting for Bachna Ae Haseeno" - Deepika Padukone

You can't be a film old and then get so lucky. First film with SRK's production, Red Chillies and second with Yash Raj Films. I guess by the time Deepika is ten films old; she would have worked with Indian Film Industry's top ten production houses. And that is exactly where the problem lies. While the new generation of actors, have exploded themselves like a comet in Bollywood, what remains to be seen is how long they do last in India's most competitive and fierce professions. Well, Deepika Padukone thinks she will. In an exclusive interview with Bollywood Hungama's Devansh Patel, the dimpled beauty answers my questions to whether Bachna Ae Haseeno will be her boyfriends first big hit. Whether Bipasha and Minissha are a complete mis-match for Ranbir, will she last as long as Aishwarya Rai, what makes the song 'Khuda Jaane' so special, whether she will work with SRK again and will she invite me for her wedding. Deepika has the answers for you.

How different is it to be working with your off screen boyfriend on screen?
It doesn't really make much of a difference because at the end of the day when you're working and you're a part of the film, you are not really looking at whether he is your boyfriend or not because you're in your work space at that moment.

Your debut film took you to a lavish red carpet premiere in London. Where is Bachna Ae Haseeno going to take you?
Well I don't know what Yash Raj has planned for this film but I'm sure it will go somewhere as far as the premiere is concerned and for the film, it will go places.

While Siddharth Anand's previous two films were big hits, Ranbir's Saawariya was a complete no-no. Will Bachna Ae Haseeno be Siddharth's hat-trick of hits and Ranbir's first big hit?
Most definitely. That's what I believe. I think we all have worked really hard but more than us, Ranbir and Siddharth have worked that little extra to add in the best in the film. I hope and pray that they both get what they want from Bachna Ae Haseeno.

As far as the pairing goes, don't you think Bipasha and Minissha are a bit of a mis-match combo for Ranbir?
(Laughs) I am not in charge of casting here. But the way the story is, the script goes, there are other characters required in the film and both Bipasha and Minissha have done a great job in the film, whatever little I have seen of the film. That's all I can say.

Brief us about your experience with Ranbir in different cities around the world you've travelled for the film.
Well, I only got to work with him in Sydney and then for the song 'Khuda Jaane' in Italy. So both were great experiences. In Sydney, we were there for almost 25 days and there we were shooting the scenes. Italy was great fun too. It was 10 days of shooting this lovely romantic song in these beautiful locations. I don't think I would have discovered this beautiful place had we not shot this song there and now since we have discovered it, it's a place I would like to go for a holiday or honeymoon. The most exciting part of shooting this song was that we would shoot everyday and travel in the evening to another location set up in the next place and shoot again the whole day, I don't think anyone has ever travelled so much to shoot one song.

So is marriage on the cards?
I'm not thinking of marriage as of now. Definitely not at the moment.

When it does happen Deepika, will I get an invite?
Of course, I'm sure the media will be invited.

'Khuda Jaane' sung by Kay Kay is slowly steadily topping the charts and we know that the song means a lot to you and Ranbir.
The fact that both Ranbir and me are in love makes the song even more special because shooting the song made it lot more easier. It was a nice experience because it was the first time that we both were shooting for a romantic song together. I'm so glad that Vishal and Shekhar have managed to compile such a beautiful song for us with meaningful lyrics.

We seem to give a lot of credit to music directors and forget the choreographer and the cinematographer who are responsible to make the song visually perfect.
Most definitely. Infact the day the song released, people started calling us from around the world and sent us messages that the song is looking lovely and is a big hit in all the cities. Having said that, the three people I called up first after the news broke out was Ahmed Khan, the choreographer, Sunil Patel, the cinematographer and my director Siddharth Anand for giving us such a beautiful song.

Tell us a bit about your costumes. Looking quite elegant, I should say.
Yes because my character is a young girl, an NRI who lives in Sydney. She is very trendy and forward in terms of fashion but at the same time, she is traditional in a way. So keeping all these aspects in mind the costumes were made and when you have a designer like Akki Narula on board, I don't think one really needs to worry about being styled in a certain way because I completely trust him. I've worked with him when I was a model and I'm really glad that I got to work with him in my second film.

From the female lead, only Aishwarya Rai at the moment is dominating in Bollywood having come from the modeling background. A few more like Dia Mirza, Celina Jaitley and Sushmita Sen too have made a mark. Will you be as lucky as they are?
Hopefully. Ash is someone I definitely look up to. She is someone I've really learnt a lot from and I used to watch her endorsements, her films and her modeling career right from the time she started off when I was very little and young. I also remember watching her when she won the Miss World. If my career goes the same way as Aishwarya's, it's going to be a huge compliment for me.

Yash Raj Films are going through their worst phase in film production. Will Bachna Ae Haseeno bring a smile back to the big banner?
I think it's wrong to generalize. Everyone goes through a bad phase. I appreciate the fact that Yash Raj Films tried to do something different in terms of the kind of films that they made in the last year or two. Some films work and some films don't work but we all have worked really hard on Bachna Ae Haseeno and hope it does well for us and Yash Raj.

After having won rewards and awards for Om Shanti Om, how loyal are you going to be towards Red Chillies Production?
(Laughs) Yes. Shah Rukh Khan and I are working in a song together because Red Chillies is producing a film for Priyadarshan called Billo Barber, which also stars SRK. And I've been fortunate enough to star in a song opposite SRK. I don't know the name of the song but they are still working on the song and the concept.

Have you shared screen space with Bipasha and Minissha in Bachna Ae Haseeno?
No. We've shot for a promotional song together and you will see all of four of us together but apart from that I'm not really in charge of creative. I agreed to do the film because I liked the character and a bit of the script that was narrated to me. I wanted to be a part of this film and I did what I wanted to do.

The last time I saw your dad, Mr. Prakash Padukone, was in London for your films premiere. How much of him takes over your decision to choose or not to choose the film you do?
A lot. I talk to my parents everyday and every move that I make, every endorsement that I do, every film that I do and my everyday activities are all discussed with them. My parents just don't prefer being in the limelight. They prefer being in the back seat and taking care of my career. My dad handles my finances. Today I wouldn't have been here had my parents not supported me the way they have.

Any memorable moments you spent in Sydney with Ranbir?
We did a lot of sight seeing in Sydney but apart from that, we also enjoyed a lot in Italy where we shot 'Khuda Jaane'. When we were shooting for the song, there is this one sequence where there are a lot of pigeons. There is a shot when I turn and the pigeons fly around me. So getting the scene right was very difficult because they had to put pigeon food on my hand before the shot. And these twenty five to thirty pigeons would come and sit on me and before the camera rolled, I could see all these pigeons crawling on my hand and by the end of it I'd have little scratches on my arm. But that was a lovely experience as I am pretty frightened about these things.

And how was your lovely experience of working with Yash Raj Films? Did you take Mr. Yash Chopra's blessings?
I am very glad that I got to work with the Yash Raj banner so early in my career and looking forward to doing more films with them. I met both Yashji and Adi several times.

"Ranbir and I are similar minded" - Bipasha Basu

While most Bollywood stars do everything they can to appear cool, professional and squeaky-clean, diligently concealing all their nasty little secrets, Bipasha Basu appears wholly unconcerned by controversy. Ever keen to talk about her breakdowns, her highs and lows, her fantasies and her boyfriend John Abraham, many would say she's built a career on titillating public confession. But she's also an increasingly fine and award-winning performer. It's another story that she hasn't won many awards but she definitely has won rewards even for her special appearances for lighting a 'beedi' or being a part of 'phoonk de'. It all goes to show that when Bips is on screen, she is on fire. No wonder she's hot! Bollywood Hungama's Devansh Patel gets ready for some fiery Q & A with Bipasha Basu.

Statutory Warning: The contents are too hot to handle.

Hi Bipasha, long time no see. Where are you now a days?
Yeah that's what! I go in hibernation when I am filming and when my film is about to release I pop out of my igloo.

You are no more an Ajnabee in Bollywood...
I better not be Devansh (ha ha ha)

...and you've made a mark for yourself which your filmography proves. But is it time to tell all the leading ladies, Bachna Ae Haseeno?
(Laughs) No yaar. I am too lost in my own space to say that. My survival technique is that the audience loves me and I have a direct interaction with them. I guess, I'm liked and that's why I'm here.

And the other interesting aspect of Bachna Ae Haseeno is also the fact that you are the senior most and highly experienced from the lot. As a teacher, what did you learn from the new bunch of students?
They are hardly students. You know what happens. When I started off acting I had come with no experience in the films, but all these new comers are actually not new comers because they come with so much of preparation for being in films that they end up knowing more than what I've learnt in the last seven years. So they are as experienced as me and a person like Ranbir, he knows way too much for sure.

Your last film with Yash Raj productions was two years ago, Dhoom 2. So how did two years after Yash Raj manage to rope you in for this particular role? Why not any other new comer?
Well, I guess the right casting is very important in any film and when I heard the narration of this film, I just knew that Radhika is the part that I want to do and that is what they called me for. So it was like bang on! I couldn't argue much over it because I fitted the casting and at the same time it was a challenge to play the role. When you see the film, you'll come to know that there is something endearing about Radhika. I've loved my character.

I have to say this. But it's quite unlucky for John that he is not the lucky boy in this film, it's Ranbir Kapoor. Did it make the 25-year-old Ranbir uncomfortable while filming romantic and intimate scenes with a 29-year-old Bipasha in the film?
No, not really because we are similar minded people and at the end of the day you're an actor. You've come to do your job and you do it. It really helps on the contrary because when you have some kind of an equation with your co-star and you're on great talking terms and a friend, then the chemistry is better as it shows on screen, rather than working with a person you don't get along with. Age has nothing to do with it.

You've already won the hearts of thousands by winning the Race in the U.K. Will Bachna Ae Haseeno win the race in similar fashion too?
I do wish that Bachna Ae Haseeno is widely watched because it is actually a very nice and an easy film to watch. It's a kind of film where we talk about and celebrate love, which is an emotion that everyone can easily identify with, and especially today's youth will be easily able to identify with because it could be their story too. There are other USP's to the film too. The music is great; there are good looking people, great styling, excellent locations, and above all a fantastic story, which I think is a winner at the end of the day. It's a story that you follow.

You've been a part of films which can't be tagged as commercial such as Corporate. Any plans of switching to your corporate days.
I have Pankh coming up which is considered to be a little off the commercial track and I have another Bengali film that I've done which is definitely considered to be parallel cinema. So I have a mixed bag. I keep on doing things that I like and it doesn't specifically have to be in one direction. I like to keep a balance between commercial and realistic films and that's the way I like it. I don't want to be a crusader of realistic films neither do I want to be this doll in commercial films. I'd like a mix of both.

After Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal and No Smoking in which you did a special appearance, any plans of working with John Abraham again.
We will see if something interests us. We working together is never a plan you know. We really don't plan it. Our way of thinking is very different and our choice of cinema is different. So if we really agree on one thing we will do it but I think the best thing to do is to work less together (laughs). I believe in that.

I don't know whether you know this or not but August 2 will now be officially celebrated as a Bollywood Day in the U.S. after the mega success of the Unforgettable Tour. Are you shocked?
For a change, I am. But I don't know. It's quite a strange thing. I don't even understand friendship day, mothers day, fathers day, etc. For me, friends and parents are forever. You cannot deny a relationship and definitely when you talk of Bollywood, it is my ambition, my work and my work place. I cannot deny it on every other day, so I don't know what to do on one particular day like a Bollywood Day. If there is a festival organized around Bollywood worldwide, it's an interesting concept.

Are you particular as far as screen space is concerned when you are a part of a big film like Dhoom 2 with big actors and a film like Bachna Ae Haseeno where the only big actor is 'you'?
No. Sometimes people do crap when you are three hours in the film and some person comes in for twenty minutes and steals the thunder. So screen space has definitely never been my outlook. If you see my work profile, when you do multistarrer, the fun is that they are such a number of good exciting talents all put together in one film. It's just that how you leave your mark behind which matters. There is no competition. It's what you do is important even for a few minutes. Length is not an issue.

Who is Radhika?
Radhika is a girl who is a dancer by profession. She is a dancer in Shiamak Davar's troupe. She aspires to be an actress. So she is today's modern and an independent girl, has a clean heart and believes in romance and being in love. She falls in love with Raj. The film is actually a journey of all these four characters how they grow to be what because of love.

Any other song, which you have on your caller tune besides 'Lucky Boy'?
(Laughs) Right now 'Lucky Boy' is the favourite song of lot of boys. I like the title track of 'Bachna Ae Haseeno'. I do like 'Ahista Ahista' a lot because it's got a new flavor of romance. 'Khuda Jaane' is a typical romantic ballet. I like all the songs. Even 'Small Town Girl' is different as it has bhangra beats and a situational song and Jogi Mahi, which is very traditional. So it's a mix bag. Look, I covered the entire album!

We are nearing our Independence Day in ten days. Any message for all the Indians across the globe?
Independence Day is highly significant for all Indians, whether they are in India or living abroad because it is for this day that our country was free and we could take up what we wanted to. Today, we are who we are because of August 15. I just fell that we should be patriotic towards our country and contribute in the progress of our country in which ever possible way. This year I am going to spread a little bit of happiness by releasing our film Bachna Ae Haseeno on the Independence Day.

Why should one go and watch Bachna Ae Haseeno on August 15?
I think Bachna Ae Haseeno should be seen by any person who celebrates love, who thinks that love is important, who wants to fall in love and who is in love.

Being a non smoker, you've somehow got attracted to beedi's and cigarettes. When are we going to see you next jalaile a beedi or phoonk de?
(laughs) Nicely worded. As far as the song is concerned, I am right now pretty happy with my 'Lucky Boy' yaar. I'm done with the smoke for the time being.

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