Are you romantically paired with Salman in Bajrangi Bhaijaan?
Yes, but the film is not just about us. Unlike Bodyguard this is a drama-based film. I play a schoolteacher from Chandni Chowk who helps Salman Khan in his journey with the kid to Pakistan.
Will this role showcase you as an actress?
I have always wanted to strike a balance between commercial and offbeat cinema, and be known as an actor as well as a star. So it is important to do commercial masala films, though offbeat films will always be a part of me. I am working with Raj Kumar Gupta and Balki too. But big commercial bonanzas are part of my blood; I will do them as long as I can. Everyone says that Salman would rather work with an 18-year-old but he is working with a married woman; and that’s a very big achievement for me. I am working in commercial films after being married, my mother-in-law did it successfully and I will do so too.
How has marriage altered anything, if at all?
I was living with Saif even before we were married so it’s not very different.
You first worked with Salman in Kyunki 10 years ago. What was it like to reteam with Salman now.
It seems as if I have worked with Salman for ever. He was paired opposite my sister Karisma in Nischay in 1991; and it’s 2015 now. It has been a long time.
What changes have you seen in your long association with Salman?
Salman is more good-looking now. He is lot more calm now; but so are Shah Rukh Khan, Ajay Devgn and Akshay Kumar.
During the shoot of this film Salman must have been under immense tension because of his court case.
Salman is a strong person; he does not let any emotions show on his face. He is mature enough not to let anything come in the way of his work.
This is your first film with director Kabir Khan?
Kabir Khan makes larger-than-life films with gorgeous actors and solid stories. I have made a conscious decision to work with directors like Kabir, Raj, Balki and Abhishek Chaubey. Yes, I will keep working with Rohit Shetty -- that’s not going to change -- but it’s nice to work with different people.
You are one of the few actresses who have worked with two different generations like Anil Kapoor to now Arjun Kapoor.
I think that’s a great honour for me that after playing Anil Kapoor’s wife in Bewafaa, I am now playing Arjun’s wife in Balki’s film.
What attracted you to Balki’s film?
When Balki wrote the film he was very clear that he was writing the film keeping me in mind, he believed that it would be a great part for me. We were sitting in my house to hear the narration; and by the time he reached the interval I told him I want to do this film, I don’t want to hear the second part. I always rely on my instinct. I just felt that this part demanded me to play Arjun Kapoor’s wife.
What took Shahid Kapoor and you so long to come together with Udta Punjab?
For us to come together in a film, the script has to be good. There wasn’t such a script earlier. The script of Udta Punjab required us. But it is a three-track film; we are part of the same drug drama but my character is not romantically involved with him. I am playing a doctor in the film… I loved the film.
What was the reason for not doing Dil Dhakane Do?
I don’t look back. I can’t do everything and I have no regrets. Actually, I have one regret. Zoya (Akhtar) is a wonderful l girl whose energy is always high. But this not her last film and definitely not mine either.
There was news that you are doing Vikramaditya’s Motwane’s film with Saif?
No I am not doing that film.
Do you think the life span of heroines today has increased?
I have been working in the industry for 16 years running and I will work till I am 80 years old. It about passion and about what you believe, it’s not important to be seen in every film but important to strike a balance between being a star and an actor. You are as old as you look.