Ileana D’Cruz, who’s set to make her Bollywood entry as Ranbir Kapoor’s love interest in Anurag Basu’s Barfee, is full of praise for the Kapoor scion. "I’ve only met Ranbir briefly, but I could sense that he is a very focused actor and someone who takes his craft seriously. In Barfee, everyone has a solid role to play and being a gifted actor, he can contribute a lot to the film," says the south star, who already has hits such as Pokiri, Jalsa and Kick to her name. Incidentally, Pokiri was remade in Hindi as Wanted (2009), with Salman Khan and Ayesha Takia in the lead roles, while Kick is being remade with Salman and Sonakshi Sinha.
Ileana admits that she’s been bowled over by Ranbir’s past performances. "Even before I met him, I had enjoyed his films such as Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008) and Raajneeti (2010).
I particularly loved his funny outing in Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (2009)," she adds.
Ask Ileana if she is aware of Ranbir’s Casanova image in film circles and she laughs, "I don’t really pay attention to what’s being said or written about a star. How does it make a difference to his profession? I am sure that Ranbir will be a dream co-star."
What the actor is visibly excited about is her "challenging" role in Barfee. "It’s a very unconventional role and I didn’t really expect it to come my way as this is my Bollywood debut," she says.
The grapevine has been buzzing that Ileana signed on only after being assured that she would get as much screen-time as the film’s other heroine, Priyanka Chopra. But the actor denies this, saying, "I loved Barfee’s script from the way Anurag narrated it to me. I have never asked my directors to make changes in the script to suit my whims and fancies. I respect and trust their vision."
Just to be sure, she also rubbishes talk of a budding rivalry between her and Priyanka. "I honestly don’t know where such talk comes from. Priyanka is one of my favourite actors. She has been in the industry longer than me and I really respect her," she says, who has mentioned on Twitter, that Priyanka "looked haute" in Dostana (2008).
Even before she hit Bollywood boulevard, unconfirmed reports suggested that Ileana had also bagged Vishal Bhardwaj’s adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s novel, Two States. The actor admits she’s just finished reading the novel, but refuses to talk about the film. "No, it’s just a rumour. But if I were offered the film, why wouldn’t I do it?" she laughs.