You don’t come from a filmy background, what were you doing before you entered films?
I was working for a year the leading ad firm O & M. I pretty much tried everything under the sun before I decided to give acting a shot. I have done freelance writing for magazines, I even took up a job as assisting a photographer, while simultaneously trying to make it in Bollywood but the whole time through this, from college till now, I have been doing theatre so acting has always been in my life in the form of theatre. I love it and I have always been very passionate about it but because I wasn’t from a filmy background I didn’t think of it as an actual career option, but I just decided to give it a shot.
Do you think Aisha gave you a good start?
Yes. I think Aisha gave me a great start because even today when I met people or journalists, the first thing they tell me is that they loved me in Aisha and that I was the best thing in the movie. It makes me feel really good and to stand out like that in an ensemble cast is something that I am very proud of and it is a big achievement for me. I think it was fantastic as it established my credibility as an actor who can perform.
Aisha released in 2010 and now Blood Money releases two years later. What were you doing in between?
I got Blood Money last year. So, for that one year, I was just waiting to get something good that I could follow up with. I didn’t want to take anything for the sake of it; I wanted something that was creative and something that I believed in.
Tell us something about your film Blood Money.
The film is about blood diamonds and illegal activities related to blood diamonds and they have linked it up to the underworld as well. It explores an area which hasn’t been covered in Hindi cinema before. It is the story about two very real people (Kunal and myself), who get married and go abroad. I think a lot of youngsters will be able to relate to it as it is about a young man and his ambitions and how far he is willing to go to achieve his goals in life. A lot of the times in today’s day and age because the competition is so high, we all almost forget everything else whether it is your love, your family or your loved ones as we are just running the rat race trying to make it. So this is a very relatable story.
What is your role in the film?
I play this simple middle class girl who is a preschool teacher. I get married to Kunal and we go to Cape Town. I am more of his silent but strong backbone. The film has very sweet moments of us falling in love and having a great time in Cape Town. They bring those moments out, because later on, they want to show a complete contradiction with what happens when things go wrong and their relationship just falls into pieces and how I help him get back his life.
It is said that your role in the film has been inspired by Emraan Hashmi’s wife Parveen. Is that true?
Yes, that’s true. My director Vishal was very clear when we were sitting down and discussing the character that the role is inspired by Parveen because she has a very sweet and gentle vibe, which they wanted me to bring into the film and even she is a pre school teacher. I met her and we hung out together.
In Aisha, you played a simple small town girl going to a big city and in Blood Money you play a simple girl who goes to a big country. How different is this role from the one in Aisha?
It is very different from Aisha because that role was a comic role and I play the girl from Bahadurgarh whereas here I am a middle class Mumbai girl and Blood Money is not a comic film. It is a really serious romantic thriller and I got to explore a completely different genre and instead of comedy you see me do a lot of intense drama.
Kunal Khemmu is a Bhatt protégé and has been working with them for a while now. How is he to work with?
This is Vishal Mahadkar’s first film. How is he as a director?
Vishal is very passionate and very clear of what he wants and what he doesn’t want, which helped me as an actor to have conviction in the role.
The soundtrack is doing really well and is making its way atop all music charts. Which is your favourite song?
Like all Bhatt films, this is no exception and has a great album. I love all the songs but my favourite would be Chahat sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.
The film has been shot in Cape Town. How was it shooting there?
Cape Town was fantastic. We were there for a whole month and it was a lot of fun. There was a large cast and we would go out for coffees and dinners and see the place. We went to the Table Mountains and tried out some of the exquisite wine.
Blood Money was earlier called Jannat 2 and then they decided on calling it Kalyug 2. Going by the promos it looks quite similar to Jannat.
They decided against calling it Jannat 2 or Kalyug 2 because the story is absolutely original and fresh and it is not based on any of their previous movies and they said that instead of going for another sequel, which the Bhatt camp is famous for; let’s make an independent original film without any preconceived notion.
There are also some reports that Blood Money has been inspired by the Hollywood film Blood Diamond and Vishesh film’s own movie Naam..
No that is all false; Blood Money is a completely original script.
What are you doing after Blood Money?
I do have something coming up but I will have to wait for a formal announcement.
Favourite Bollywood Movie – DDLJ.
Favourite Actor – Farhan Akhtar
Favourite Director – After Paan Singh Tomar, its Tigmanshu Dhulia
Favourite fashion label – I don’t usually wear too many brands, I am more of a high street person. I love stores like Topshop and Zara.
Your Style Icon – At this point, Sonam Kapoor is India’s style icon.