Parineeta girl Vidya Balan is impressed with Aishwarya Rai's grace and elegance and is full of praise for the way she conducts herself.
Excerpts from an interview:
Life looks good to you?
Yeah. I've just completed Rajkumar Santoshi's Halla Bol. He's a wonderful director, so much to learn. And what an experience Guru was. It's every actor's dream to work with Mani Ratnam. I'm blessed to have worked with him so early in my career. No matter how busy I'm, I take time off every day to say thanks to god for making so many dreams come true. The more he gives the more I wish to thank him.
You and John Abraham seemed like a strange combination in Salaam-e-Ishq?
That's what makes it so exciting. Nikhil Advani's entire team was within the same age group as me. I had a blast on the shoot. It was like being at a party. Touchwood, so far I've been comfortable with every unit I've worked with. I'd rather remain non-controversial and focus on my work. From Pradeep Sarkar to Mani Ratnam... I've learnt so much! It may be a cliche to say so, but I'm growing every day.
And such a wide spectrum of actors, from Amitabh Bachchan to R. Madhavan.
Ha, I can't call Mr. Bachchan my co-star. That's a little too much. As for Madhavan, I was supposed to have worked with him in a couple of Tamil films some time ago. Those didn't work out. Finally, we did Guru. My equation with Maddy is completely coloured by my affection for his son Vedaant. He's an adorable child with big blue eyes.
<b1>One keeps hearing of you being in this and that project?
I think I've been very honest with every producer who has approached me. What I need to do is learn more tact while saying I don't have dates. I've had a very big producer telling me I had no business to turn down his assignment down because I'm a newcomer. But as an individual it's my right to say no rather than be evasive.
One keeps seeing you doing glamorous photo shoots. Trying to move away from the Parineeta image?
Yes, I've been doing different photo shoots. They want the other side of me. I'm only doing what I'm comfortable with. There was one picture where the outfit was much too revealing for me. I went around hiding the magazine from my father.
I don't think glamour is about taking off clothes. If it was Madhubala, Rekha or Sridevi wouldn't have been glamorous. Rekha in all her finery and jewellery is so glamorous. And Aishwarya Rai... she's the epitome of grace. We hardly had scenes together in Guru, but on many occasions I felt she was my sister. I truly admire the way she conducts herself. Even her sneeze is written about. That can't be easy.
And Sanjay Dutt?
(Bursts into laughter) I heard about my affair with him. Wonder where that came from! I think we were linked because he's the only hero with whom I've done three films. I don't think anyone took it seriously. Whether it's John, Saif or Sanju, I'm not in touch with them outside the sets. People take my link-ups with dada (Parineeta director Pradeep Sarkar) more seriously. I've come to terms with the rumours about us. I guess I'll just have to live with that.
Who're your friends in the industry?
None except Raima Sen. We clicked because we're like chalk and cheese. I pamper her to no end. We don't meet that often these days. She's one madcap. I restrain her quite often.