She has been spotted with an Italian senor at the Goa beaches but claims that the media is hallucinating. She may be on talking terms again with Kelly Dorjee but there has been no reconciliation. Besides the grapewhine, she's in the news for anchoring the United Nations' reality TV show Mission Ustaad and expects to be asked only about that. Aah but why only talk shop? Lara Dutta discusses men-o-ranjan with Roshmila Bhattacharya.
You were spotted walking your dog with Kelly Dorjee by your side. Is he back in your life?
There's still a lot of respect and love but otherwise that chapter is closed. I don't want to keep revisiting the past. I'd like to move on.
With your Italian hunk..
With my movies and Mission Ustaad. <b1>
After Partner, one had expected you to go on a signing spree, more so since Salman Khan was recommending you to all his producers. But that didn't happen and he's now started promoting Deepika Padukone.
Oh come on. Both Salman and I felt the need to wait for the right scripts.
But even in Partner, you were completely overshadowed by the comic capers of Govinda and Salman Khan.
When you're part of a set-up that involves big stars and a big budget, you can't insist that the film should be centered on you. If you fight too hard, you lose out.
Jhoom Barabar Jhoom was a star-studded film too.. yet you made an impact.
Jhoom… wasn't a central role either, but Adi (Aditya Chopra) and Shaad (Ali) gave me a long rope creatively.
After the film's first screening, I was greeted with spontaneous applause. It was so humbling to see Javed saab cheering for me.
Your personal life was under the scanner during Jhoom.. wasn't it?
(Laughing) Yeah in one week I was linked with three guys.. I was dating Aditya Chopra, seeing Abhishek Bachchan a week before his shaadi to Aishwarya Rai and creating trouble in Bobby Deol's married life. Wow! I wonder why Shaad Ali was left out? That's the price you pay for being the flavour of the season.
It seems Nana Patekar wants to you be cast opposite him in Rajneeti being made by Prakash Jha.
Nana Patekar is my favourite actor after Sanjeev Kumar. If I got a chance to work with him, I'd first ask him to teach me to shoot.. with a gun.. since he's a National level shooter. <b2>
You should have accepted Apaharan then.
I didn't accept Apaharan because the girl didn't have enough to do. I'd love to work with Prakash Jha and Nana some day but it has to be a central role.
Okay, now how different is Mission Ustaad from the other reality shows on air?
This is the first time that United Nations has associated itself with an Indian channel - 9X. The idea is not to play on public sentiment and win sympathy votes. It is an attempt to create awareness about the UN's Millennium Development Goals that only about 20 per cent of our population has heard of.
The UN has used goodwill ambassadors like Shabana (Azmi), Vijay Amritraj and myself effectively in the past. For the first time, they're trying to tap an entire nation.
The grouse against working for television is that it's too exacting. Would you agree?
Well yes, since I started working on Mission Ustaad I've developed a healthy respect for anyone associated with the medium. The inputs are a lot more and the schedules really hectic. But at the same time gratification is instant.
It's said that you once stomped out of the sets because you were kept waiting.
That's pure fiction! When so many busy people are involved, you can't let a day go waste. Someone like AR Rahman doesn't even live in Mumbai. He flies down only to get quality work done.
With so many big names involved, ego hassles are bound to crop up.
(Smiles) Nope. On the one hand, you have Kailash Kher who wants his voice to be heard. On the other, there's little Naresh who's quiet as a mouse. But so far, it's been fun.
Your presence on the jury panel, despite your role as the UN's goodwill ambassador, may invite some criticism.
I'm aware of that. Javed
(Akhtar) is a veteran and Rahman the best composer in the world. The gap between us is huge. But I've worked with the UN on several issues at the grass root level. My job will be to get the message across.
Are you playing a modern-day Chandramukhi in Sudhir Mishra's Aur Devdas
Actually, it's Paro. And I'm super excited. For me, Paro is the typical Indian woman. She's silent but strong. She takes a lot emotionally without reacting aggressively. And in the long run emerges the winner.
This Devdas is apparently set against a political backdrop?
Yeah, but it's not out there to make a big political statement. It's set against the backdrop of rajneeti in Rajasthan and talks about the role of women in politics. We've all wondered what politicians like Jayalalitha and Vasundhara Raje Scindia went through in their rise to the top. (Smiles) Well, now you'll know.