Back in Business
Does it feel good to back in films after a long gap?
I am happy to be back. The major successes in my career have been comedy films. There is a reason why Akshay called me and said he needs me to play a character in Singh is Bliing. My last film Chalo Delhi released four years back and I did Bejoy Nambiar’s David – an extended cameo – when my daughter was six months old. Now, Saira is three year old and goes to school so I have the time, and I thought of putting this time into a film. It is a mad character in an entertaining film. In Singh is Bliing, my character Emily has no sense of style – she is crazy, quirky and funny. It is a geeky character.
You started your career with Akshay with Andaaz in 2003; and while he is still playing lead roles, his earlier heroines have now moved on to different roles. Do you see it as a sad fact of Bollywood?
It is a fact of Bollywood. But certain changes in life affect you as a woman more than they would a man. My husband and I both dealt with parenthood but my life changed more drastically than his. Mahesh continued with what he was doing (playing tennis) but to allow him to do that I had to make changes in my life.
Incidentally, Priyanka Chopra, who began with you in Andaaz, is still going strong.
She is fantastic. I told her she has amazing energy and that I wished I had half of it. She doesn’t stop. She is focused on following her dream.
Has motherhood altered your choice of roles?
It has. Earlier you wanted to get that bikini body. Today I want to prove that I am a better actress.
You have gone on to sign two more films.
Gattu (director Abhishek Kapoor) is an old friend and he approached me saying there is a role for me in Fitoor. It was ten days of work and I agreed. Azhar happened out of the blue. The role in Azhar is that of a lawyer and it is powerful and impactful.
It is blessing to have those roles being offered. I feel we are in a time when good female roles are written.
Your husband Mahesh Bhupati and you also have planned film productions.
As a producer, there are multiple films happening late this year or next year. We have a sports based film and a comedy film.
What about your own production – the sequel, Chalo China?
There were some issues with Eros so it has been put on hold.
Tell us about your daughter Saira.
She is singing and dancing to the Singh Is Bliing songs all the time. She is three-and-a-half years old and she is bright, sorted kid. At any grand slam or shoot she finds her space. She accompanied me to the shoots as well.
Is she more excited about tennis or Bollywood?
She is definitely her mother’s daughter.
And how good are you at tennis now?
Very bad! I think Saira plays better tennis than I do.