Indo-Asian News Service

Mumbai

Was your decision to turn producer dictated by the lack of challenging opportunities as

an actress?

Not at all. I wanted to broaden my horizons as a cinema person. I love movies and I want my involvement with the medium to increase. Not that I’m moving away from acting. But I do want to turn producer and may be direct my films later on.

What do you think has gone wrong with your selection of roles recently?

I don’t know. I’ve always chosen by instinct. Sometimes for the director, sometimes for the role, if not for both. In my last two films, Escape From Taliban and Market, I loved my roles. The set-up and treatment weren’t up to the mark. But when you take on a film you’ve no clue how it’ll finally shape up. At least Market made money. People liked me in it. I agree these aren’t on par with my earlier films (Bombay and Dil Se).

But I’m not unhappy with the quality of my work. This year I may take on a couple of offers. But I won’t do anything that doesn’t excite me as an actress. Otherwise I’m quite happy with my life as a producer. I may not take up acting offers. For me right now, production is far more interesting and challenging.

Is Paisa Vasool a chick flick?

Well, it’s an all-girls fun film! Usually women-oriented subjects are weepy and burdened with a social message. Why can’t ladies’ pictures be fun? When I heard Srinivas Bhashyam’s script I immediately agreed to produce his film. We share similar views on cinema. I knew we’d make a good team and we did. I’m very happy with Paisa Vasool.

What was it like working with Sushmita Sen?

Really, really wonderful. She suits her role perfectly. It requires her to do comedy and she’s very good at it. Sushmita is a very warm person in real life. Choosing her to do the film was the best thing I could do for myself. We became sort of friends during the shooting. But then we both have our own lives. I can’t claim we’re as good buddies in real life as we’re in Paisa Vasool.

Is it difficult for two actresses to be friends?

Not at all. I get along very well with Tabu, Preity Zinta and, of course, Sushmita. Whenever we meet there’s a major bonding among us. Initially when I started I did face some unpleasantness from my female co-stars. In fact I did a whole film where I was the victim of petty rivalry from the other actress and her family. There’re insecure actresses around. But I could never understand why. Everyone has her own space. So why grudge someone her success?

You’ve given Sushmita the better role in your home production?

That’s true. Her role is far more interesting and vibrant. If I wasn’t the producer I’d have wanted her role. I play this docile, inhibited, bespectacled girl. Sush is the glamorous one. I’m the Plain Jane. It’s a very entertaining comic thriller. But it has no romantic leads. Sush and I are the heroes of Paisa Vasool. Trust me, the audience won’t miss the romantic duets at all.

Where do you stand as an actress?

I’m supposed to play (late Indian prime minister) Indira Gandhi. But that project is in a bit of a financial trouble.

Were you going to get your nose shaped like Gandhi for the role?

That’s a little far-fetched! This rumour is very amusing. I won’t change my nose for a role.

What do we see you in after this?

I’ve Aruna Raje’s Tum and a film called Anjane. That’s it. I liked working with Aruna Raje. After all these years, I’ve finally worked with a female director. She’s a very positive person. I’ve met Kalpana Lajmi and Aparna Sen. But so far nothing has materialised.

What else is happening?

As for settling down, I don’t know when that will happen. But my current relationship seems more permanent than the others. Hopefully it will lead to marriage.