Neha Dhupia talks about being the ultimate male fantasy.. Roshmila Bhattacharya listens on...
So, tell me were you offered Fear Factor—Khatron Ke Khiladi?
I did get an offer, last season. And despite the generous remuneration, I turned it down. (Laughs) If it was Akshay’s (Kumar) anchor role, I might have considered it but I didn’t want to be just another contestant. This year, there was no offer. It gets a little annoying when such idle talk gets around. I have plenty of movies to keep me busy. And there are producers who’d like to offer me more but feel I won’t have the dates because I’m doing this weekday show. Oof!
You are doing a TV mini series, Bollywood Hero?
Yeah, but that’s almost like a movie with a unit based in L A. It will be premiered in the US on IFC, probably on August 7. If it does well, we’ll release it on DVD and later in the theatres. Three-hour episodes in three parts can easily make for a two-hour-20-minute movie. Chris Cattan plays an American who comes to act in a Bollywood movie opposite superstar Alima Lakhania.. me.
How close is she to Neha Dhupia?
(Laughs) Well, all actresses are delusional but no one is quite like Alima. Even though I may look the part, I’m nothing like her which was why I expected the role to be painful. But it was interesting. She has her moments.. and goes through a process of redemption.
Did the success of Singh is Kinng come as a career boost?
Yeah, it got me four new movies including Action Replay and Raftaar. I’m really excited about Raftaar in which I play a glamorous corporate type who runs a news channel. But before that there will be Paying Guest. Yeah, it comes bang in the middle of IPL Season 2. I don’t think cricket will make much of a difference. It’s not as if it’s a path-breaking film.. it’s pure time-pass masala.
Are you moving into the mainstream after the failure of Maharathi?
Well, sure, I’m disappointed that though the critics appreciated my first out-and-out negative role, not many saw it. Hopefully, TV and DVD will take it forward. And since I didn’t take credit for the success of Singh is Kinng, I’m not going to to beat myself up for Maharathi.
What’s happening to Raat Gayi Baat Gayi which is reportedly all wrapped up, in which you play the ultimate male fantasy?
You know, when I told Rajat (Kapoor) and Saurav (Shukla) that I’d rather play the wife, they reasoned that no husband would want to cheat on a biwi like me.(Laughs) I thanked them for the backhanded compliment. The men will love me.. their women will hate me. Or may be not.. since the film is a kind of warning to men who cheat on their wives. I’m doing another film with Saurav.. actually two.. Pappu Can’t Dance Saala in which I play a back-up dancer and I’m 24.
Are you 24?
(Laughs) You shouldn’t ask a lady her age. And this one isn’t about me but a 42-year-old man who says he’s 24 and that one lie changes his life. I used to lie about my age earlier too, but I’d add a couple of years so I could pretend to be a cool grown-up.
You have a bungalow in Goa.
(Interrupts) It’s just a nice little row house. I don’t want to project it as bigger and better.
Do you go there often?
I was there during Holi. Bombay is my work place.. Goa is my fun place. Some day, I want to open a restaurant there but it’ll open only in the evenings because during the day I’ll be on the beach.
With your steady date, squash champ, Ritwick Bhattacharya? When’s the wedding?
I’m going weak in the knees.. I have butterflies in my stomach.. just thinking of a lifelong commitment. Gotta run!