2 years in the film industry, 4 main releases out of which 3 are 100 crore+ blockbuster films, how happy are you with your success rate?
I am very happy (smiles). I think anybody in my place would be very happy. I feel truly blessed. It's been a great experience to be a part of these films and been a great journey so far.
You took your baby steps in Bollywood with Dabangg and are now back in Dabangg 2. How has it been re-uniting again with the Dabangg team?
It's been a great experience. Nothing really seems to have changed. It's exactly the same atmosphere on set that we had while shooting for Dabangg. In a way, it's like a home base for me now. I learnt everything there was to learn while filming Dabangg and now I am applying it all once again.
In the first part you became Mrs. Chulbul Pandey from Rajjo. How has the romance between Chulbul and Rajjo evolved now that they are man and wife?
It's been wonderful. In most of our films, we don't get to see the romance that takes place after the hero and heroine get married. So in a way this is a refreshing change. There are some really sweet and even funny situations between Mr. and Mrs. Chulbul Pandey which I am sure people will enjoy.
The first part ended with you mouthing the line 'Mujhe Ulti Aa Gayi Hai'…so do we see a Junior Chulbul Pandey too in this film?
You will have to watch the film for that (laughs). I can't reveal it all now (laughs).
What similarities or differences do you see in Abhinav and Arbaaz's style of direction?
Dabangg was Abhinav's first film as a director and Dabangg 2 is Arbaaz's first film as well as a director but honestly with both of them, it never felt like it was their first film. Abhinav is very set and clear in his mind. If he wants something, he knows how to extract that from his actors. Arbaaz has done a wonderful job as well managing his 3 different roles- as a producer, as a director and as an actor. I always tell him you should have directed much earlier.
Your dialogue from Dabangg- 'Thappad Se Darr Nahi Lagta Saab' became a rage…any such dhamakedaar dialogues that you get to mouth in the sequel?
Dabangg had you as the quintessential Indian girl and that image has kind of stuck with you ever since. Do you think its time to shed that image?
It's not an image that I need to shed off. It's just a coincidence that all my films thus far have had me playing typical Indian characters. But I am really not complaining. I don't pick a film based on what clothes my character will be wearing. The only film which didn't do well was Joker in which I was seen mostly in western wear (laughs). But I don't really worry about these things. There are films in the future as well where I will be seen in a more urbanized role.
How do you rate the music of Dabangg 2 and which is your faavourite song?
The music of Dabangg 2 is fantastic. It was a very difficult task for Sajid-Wajid to do a one-up on the music of Dabangg but they have pulled it off wonderfully well. The songs have caught on really well. I love all the songs of the album and have them playing all day along in my house, in my car, on my iPod etc. My favourite track is 'Dagabaaz Re'…it's a beautiful melody and has a nice old world charm to it.
Tell us about your styling and look in the film?
Ashley Rebello has styled my look in the film. He did my clothes in Dabangg as well. My character this time is a bit more glamorous since Chulbul and Rajjo have now moved to a bigger town and Chulbul Pandey is doing rather well for himself. So this time my sarees are more vibrant, colourful and richer. I've also styled myself with flowers in my hair which adds a nice Indian charm to it.
You've worked with 3 of the biggest stars- Salman, Ajay and Akshay. What's the one quality you admire the most about each of them?
Salman doesn't take his stardom seriously in spite of being such a big star which is really amazing. Akshay is very punctual and I appreciate that quality of his. Ajay is very involved in the process of making the whole film and it's heartening to see an actor so involved in every department of the film.
In your forthcoming films, you are now working with actors your age group- Imran Khan, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor…how's been that experience?
I haven't yet worked with Shahid but am looking forward to it. With Ranveer and Imran, it was very comfortable as they aren't my seniors so it was a very friendly kind of equation. Each one of them has their own style of working. Ranveer is a bit hyper while Imran is laidback so it's a nice contrast and with each one of them you get to learn something.
Tell us a bit about your forthcoming films especially Lootera and the sequel to Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai (OUATIM)?
I am really looking fwd to Lootera. It's been my most difficult and challenging film so far in terms of character, performance and look. It's a period film set in the 1950s and I am playing a zamindar's daughter…a Bengali girl…so in a way it's my biggest transformation on screen. It's been a great experience working on that film…like going back to school. It's one of the most professional and disciplined units I've worked with. Vikramaditya Motwane is such a wonderful director. His mind is always at work. Even when he is walking around he is thinking something or the other. Rarely have I comes across such an intelligent person. He is fantastic. The sequel of OUATIM is almost 30% complete and again it's a very different genre and different kind of role for me. It's been great fun working with both Akshay and Imran.
And what about Prabhudheva's Namak opposite Shahid and Tigmanshu Dhulia's Bullet Raja opposite Saif?
Prabhu sir's next is a full-on dhamaal, masala entertainer. With Prabhudheva you can only expect that. We start early next year. The title Namak is just a working title. I join the team of Tigmanshu's film from February. I will be shooting for both these films simultaneously.