Actress Chitrangada Singh says she bowed out of the industry because she felt "betrayed" and cheated.
Excerpts from an interview:
Why did you disappear?
It all started with a disagreement with some prominent people in the industry. Things got sour when I started getting bad press about my husband (golfer Jyoti Randhawa) spoiling things for my career. The attack became too personal. Not being from the film industry, my husband's family couldn't understand what was being said, and why. It made me angry. I felt betrayed.
I didn't want to give any importance to the malicious people by trying to explain myself or how things were between my husband and I. Maybe I took things too seriously. I decided to just quit.
It took me about two-and-half years to realise I was giving too much importance to my opponents by staying away from what I enjoyed doing.
Wasn't it selfish to leave so many expectations, including those of Mishra, in the lurch?
Aren't we all selfish? I wanted to protect my family from those within the industry who were attacking them. I should've spoken up. I kept quiet because I didn't want to get into a boxing bout. In the two-year sabbatical I travelled, read books and became a richer person. I saw many countries in the past two years. I had a lot of time to think about what I wanted to do with my life.
Do you think you lost crucial time?
I don't know... I'd rather focus on getting it right now. Who is to say if I'd have got another character like Geeta in Hazaaron Khwaishen Aisi? I'm very happy to have got a second chance.
Did you feel a little rusty around the edges when you faced the camera again?
No! It was amazing. When I did my first shot with Boman Irani and Sharman Joshi Sorry Bhai, my hands were cold. But believe me, the minute Onir said 'action' I was totally relaxed. I just loved the whole exercise of assuming a character and borrowing emotions.
It's funny, but when Onir offered me this film I was already thinking of a comeback. It all happened very fast. Now I'd love to be Chandramukhi in Sudhir Mishra's Devdas.
You won't be playing the typical Chandramukhi?
I can't! I don't want to be compared with Vyjanthimala and Madhuri Dixit as Chandramukhi. I'll use my very different personality to create another Chandramukhi. My Chandramukhi won't be a nautch girl. She'll be a political socialite, a sensuous wheeler-dealer. She has to have her own charm and aura.
Do you want to be associated only with avant-garde cinema?
I'd like to go wherever my talent and my potential take me. There's no conscious decision to do one particular kind of film. I don't know how to get into the big banners, but I'd love to be in them. They aren't coming to me yet. They're waiting and watching, as they usually do. I'm doing films for my self-actualisation.
Have you picked up golf from your husband?
I used to play golf before I met him. We didn't meet because of golf. My father was in the army. So I was very outdoors. I'm pretty good in golf, though not through my husband.
Do you see yourself running around trees?
I don't think they do that any more. There are no trees left. But yes, I'd bring my own personality into whatever movies I do.
Do you see the practical problems in conducting a career from Mumbai when your husband's home is in Delhi?
It won't be a problem because he spends almost nine months per year travelling. He plays about 30 tournaments. I'm sure we can manage to coordinate our schedules so that we spend time together when he isn't playing. I'll have to do that.
Has the film industry changed since you left?
I think there's far more free flow of ideas and creativity. So many exciting filmmakers! I think Sriram Raghavan is amazing. I'd have loved to do his Johnny Gaddar. What a lovely time to be in Hindi movies!
What wouldn't you be uncomfortable doing?
Kissing scenes. And that's nothing to do with being married. As for the leather skirts, it wouldn't depend on their length. I'm a casual jeans-and-shirt Delhi girl. Not too much jewellery and makeup.
Do you think it's difficult for married actresses to return?
Isn't that changing? I feel marriage makes you more enriched with experiences and emotions, and therefore a better actress. I just want to grab all my opportunities with both my hands.