It’s been a long time since we’ve seen or heard from you. Where have you disappeared?
(Laughs) I have no answer for this actually. For the past one year, I had been shooting for Toh Baat Pakki, besides completing a couple of commitments made to some Telugu projects. That’s about it. Since I’m very selective about the work I do, I may have less films, but I ensure I have good films.
What prompted you to take up Toh Baat Pakki! given that it’s Kedar Shinde’s directorial debut, and stars Sharman Joshi and Vatsal Seth. Not exactly a team one would associate you with…
For me, a new director or my co-stars, has never been the criterion. It’s a new set-up for me. I have never had problems working with a debutant director or relatively less-experienced co-actors. The script should excite me, the character should offer something new for me to explore.
Toh Baat Pakki! is a sweet, simple and entertaining story. It’s the kind of role I haven’t done before. When I heard the story, I knew I’d enjoy working on the film.
Apparently, Kedar Shinde, Sharman Joshi and Vatsal Sheth were very nervous about working with you.
(Laughs) How sweetly surprising! At the end of the day, it was very nice working with them; as a team, we had great fun working together. I enjoyed the experience.
You’re done very few films. Is it because you’ve become over selective about your roles? Or, is there a ‘been there, done that’ sense that prevails here?
I guess it happens after a period of time. As you grow in experiences, you want to do new stuff. The role must offer something new to do or explore. One reason why I haven’t done more films recently, is probably because I didn’t find anything worth my time.
On some level, the feeling of ‘been there, done that’ explains it too. There is a lot to do if you get that kind of a platform. I’d rather not do a film just for the sake of it.
When actors refuse roles, filmmakers call it an attitude problem. Does it happen to you too?
Well, if people feel that way, they surely won’t come and tell me that. I don’t know how they
perceive my choices. I don’t know where it’s coming from… if people feel that I have an
attitude problem; then it’s their problem, not mine.
There has been no progress on Amitabh Bachchan starrer, The Legend Of Kunal, since its announcement...
I was supposed to be doing it, but I don’t know what’s happening with the film. I’m still waiting to hear the developments.
How does a film like Season’s Greetings by Vicky Chopra, who also made Fight Club, fit into your scheme of things?
Unfortunately for some reason, Season’s Greetings has been stuck. As I said, I take up a film depending on the scope the role offers me. Can we stick to Toh Baat Pakki! please?
Okay. You’re playing a matchmaker in the film. Has someone ever played matchmaker for you?
Yes, my friends and everyone around me. They always try and always fail. (Laughs)
Why is that?
Because of my choice, I’m very clear about what I want in a man.
And what might that be?
I don’t have a list of criteria as such. When I find someone of my liking, you will know everything there is to know about him.
Do most actresses often find it difficult to meet their right man?
No, not all. But yes, it is difficult for men to get comfortable with independent and successful women. As compared to normal girls, we definitely meet more men… but the equation isn’t always easy. We go beyond being simple and unassuming, and that makes it tough for the men. It’s difficult to find a man who’s okay with a strong willed woman.
Interesting. Any instances you can recall where any man flummoxed you?
I don’t get flummoxed; the men get flummoxed. They always do. (Laughs)
So where do they fail to live up to your expectations?
The funny thing is, that I don’t have any expectations. But the men don’t know that. They feel I expect a lot, and that makes them uncomfortable. That’s the problem.
Coming back to films. You did some critically acclaimed work with directors like Gulzar, Vishal Bhardwaj and Madhur Bhandarkar. How come you haven’t teamed up with them again?
I really don’t know what to say to that. The directors are the best people to answer this question. I’m fed up of being asked this, over and over again.
What keeps you occupied when you’re not shooting? Script narrations?
People being interested in knowing what I do in my spare time, is very rare now (laughs). God... now I’m going to write a book on what I do in my free time. I read, write, travel — sometimes in India, sometimes abroad; basically chill. And work only when something excites me.
What about direction and production?
I don’t know. I haven’t thought about that yet. I don’t think production is my cup of tea. I don’t have the temperament of a film producer. As for direction, I need to find a good story; one that I want to tell. Besides, it’s too much of a
responsibility, and I’m not in the mood to take any more work right now.
At one time your dream was to get your mother a good house in the city. What are your dreams now?
I want to enjoy whatever I do. I want to go beyond acting, explore new things and be happy doing that. I don’t want to work all the time. My agenda is to find something to do that I really believe in.
Mira and Tabu again!
Mira Nair’s The Namesake gave you a global platform. But there’s been no second film with her either.
We’re still in touch. I meet her whenever I go to the US. We hope to work together again. The Namesake came easily to both of us and it really took me places. It’s a personal milestone for me. The film, that just happened last minute, turned out to be a wonderful experience. It opened doors for me, where I saw another world… there is a lot about the beauty of The Namesake. I don’t know when Mira and I will work together again, but yes, we both certainly wish to do so.