You seem to have come out of hibernation after years.
You are right, my daughter Zaha is seven and my son Zayaan five. Over the last few years, I’ve appeared on TV in spurts, launched a brand of ready-to-eat chicken and acted in Feroze Khan’s adaptation of the Pulitzer-winning play Dinner with Friends.
How has Bollywood changed since?
I came in at the time when independent cinema was growing. I was fortunate to work with actors like Victor Banerjee, Om Puri, Shabana Azmi and Mr Bachchan. But over the last few years, the line between arthouse and commercial films has blurred.
What was it like working with Amitabh Bachchan in Ek Ajnabee?
Incredible. I remember this scene, where my daughter dies. It had my monologue and his reactions. He didn’t have any lines and yet he was adding so much power to the scene. That’s admirable!
What did they teach you at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute?
At Strasberg, they help declutter your performance. So, when I work with good directors, it is like a catharsis. Being on stage is my nirvana.
How do you stay fit despite being in the food business?
Well, having chicken is an occupational hazard. But my husband is my workout buddy. I work out on my terrace and my fitness goal this year is to acquire a six-pack.
How did you end up marrying a person called Boman Irani, not to be confused with the actor from 3 Idiots?
(Laughs) Boman, the actor, is like a father figure. I happened to be judging an event at the NCPA’s Tata Theatre organised by my husband Boman’s company. My co-judges were Piyush Pandey from advertising and actor Boman Irani! That is where my husband first saw me. We started dating and got married within a year.
Your favourite city in the world is...
It will have to be New York. During the four years that I spent there doing my MBA, I learnt African dancing and Latin dancing and a lot of my life experiences are linked with that city.
Where do you like to eat out?
In Mumbai, I love Saltwater Café at Bandra. Their John Dory fish is to die for!
Three make-up accessories in your bag at the moment?
Chanel’s Luminaire, a powder that makes the skin glow, a Bobby Brown lipstick and my Mac powder blush.
Which are the three world figures you would want to invite for dinner?
Meryl Streep, because she has six kids and 19 Oscar nominations. Sonia Gandhi as I have been offered roles based on her, twice. I have also played Indira Gandhi in Bandung Sonata. Apart from these, I would love to meet businesswoman Indra Nooyi.
Your idea of romance and love?
When you can put the other person’s needs before your own and not make your partner feel guilty, that is love!
The last line of your biography would read...
"She was brave, she was spontaneous and she lived life to the fullest."
A film you’ve seen more than once
Mamma Mia! (2008), because of Meryl Streep’s effortless acting
The most overrated film
The most vaisa vasool film
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)
A movie that was part of your growing up years:
Flashdance (1983). For the longest time, I wanted to be the dancer that Jennifer Beals played!
The first movie you saw on the big screen
The Black Stallion (1979)
From HT Brunch, March 1
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