While most Bollywood stars do everything they can to appear squeaky-clean, diligently concealing all their nasty little secrets, Bipasha Basu seems unconcerned by controversy. Columnist DEVANSH PATEL spoke to the actress, who some might say has built a career on titillating public opinion
Q Hi Bipasha! Long time no see. Where are you nowadays?
A I go into hibernation when I'm filming and when my film is about to release, I pop out of my igloo!
QYou are no more an ajnabee (stranger) in Bollywood and you've made a mark for yourself, which your filmography proves. But is it time to tell all the leading ladies: 'Bachna Ae Haseeno' (beware all ladies)?
A Not at all. I am too lost in my own space to say that. My survival technique is that the audience loves me and I have a direct interaction with them. I guess I'm liked and that's why I'm here.
Q The other interesting aspect of Bachna Ae Haseeno is the fact that you are the most senior and highly experienced of the lot. As a teacher, what did you learn from the new bunch of students?
A They are hardly students. When I started off acting, I had no experience in the films, but all these newcomers are actually not newcomers at all because they come with so much preparation for being in films that they end up knowing more than I've learnt in the last seven years. So they are as experienced as me and a person like Ranbir - he knows way too much for sure!
Q Your last film with Yash Raj productions was two years ago, Dhoom 2. So why did Yash Raj rope you in for this particular role?
A Well, I guess the right casting is very important in any film and when I heard the narration of this film, I just knew that Radhika is the part that I want to do and that is what they called me for. So it was, like, bang on! I fitted the casting and at the same time it was a challenge to play the role. When you see the film, you'll come to know that there is something endearing about Radhika. I loved my character.
Q I have to say this - it's quite unlucky for John that he is not the 'lucky boy' in this film, it's Ranbir Kapoor. Did it make the 25-year-old Ranbir uncomfortable filming intimate scenes with a 29-year-old Bipasha in the film?
A No, not really because we are similar-minded people and at the end of the day, you're an actor. You've come to do your job and you do it. On the contrary, it really helps because when you have some kind of an equation with your co-star and you're on great talking terms and a friend, then the chemistry is better and it shows on screen, rather than working with a person you don't get along with. Age has nothing to do with it.
Q You've already won the hearts of thousands with the success of your last film, Race, in the UK Will Bachna Ae Haseeno follow in similar fashion too?
A I do wish that Bachna Ae Haseeno is widely watched because it is actually a very nice and an easy film to watch. It's a kind of film where we talk about and celebrate love, which is an emotion that everyone can easily identify with - especially today's youth because it could be their story too. There are other unique selling points to the film too. The music is great, there are good-looking people, great styling, excellent locations and above all a fantastic story which I think is a winner at the end of the day.
Q After Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal and No Smoking, in which you had a special appearance, any plans for working with John Abraham again?
A We will see if something interests us. We really don't plan it. Our way of thinking is very different and our choice of cinema is different. So if we really agree on one thing we will do it but I think the best thing to do is to work less together. I believe in that.
Q I don't know whether you know this or not but August 2 will now be officially celebrated as a Bollywood Day in the USA after the mega-success of the Unforgettable Tour there. Are you surprised?
A For a change, I am. But, you know, it's quite a strange thing. I don't even understand Friendship Day, Mothers' Day, Fathers' Day, etc. For me, friends and parents are forever. When you talk of Bollywood, it is my ambition and my work: I cannot deny it on every other day, so I don't know what to do on one particular 'Bollywood Day'. But if there is a festival organised around Bollywood worldwide, it's an interesting concept.
Q Are you particular as far as screen space is concerned - whether you are a part of a big film like Dhoom 2 with big actors or a film like Bachna Ae Haseeno where the only big actor is you?
A No. Sometimes actors perform badly for three hours and somebody can come in for just 20 minutes and steal the thunder. So screen space has definitely never been my outlook. When you do films with multiple stars, the fun is in that there is such exciting talent all put together in one film. There is no competition. It's what you do that is important, even for a few minutes.
Q Any other song which you have on your caller tune besides Lucky Boy?
A Right now Lucky Boy is the favourite song of lots of boys! I like the title track of Bachna Ae Haseeno. I do like Ahista Ahista a lot because it's got a new flavour of romance. Khuda Jaane is a typical romantic ballad. I like all the songs. Even Small Town Girl is different as it's got bhangra beats and then there's Jogi Mahi which is very traditional. So it's a mixed bag. Look, I covered the entire album!
Q We are nearing our India Independence Day. Any message for all the Indians across the globe?
A Independence Day is highly significant for all Indians, whether they are in India or living abroad because it is for this day that our country was free. Today, we are who we are because of August 15. I feel that we should be patriotic towards our country and contribute to the progress of our country in every possible way. This year I am going to spread a little bit of happiness by releasing our film Bachna Ae Haseeno on Independence Day.
Q Why should we go and watch Bachna Ae Haseeno?
A I think Bachna Ae Haseeno should be seen by any person who celebrates love, who thinks that love is important, who wants to fall in love or who is in love.