After Corporate, Bipasha Basu once again gets real for her role in Rahul Dholakia's hard hitting drama Lamha and she says the biggest challenge for her is to break the stereotypical image of Kashmiri girls in Hindi movies.
"When you think of a Kashmiri girl in our movies, what comes to mind is a fair-skinned, light-eyed girl. But I want to disprove that myth. The pre-conceived notions have to be overcome," Bipasha, whose performance in Bachna Ae Haseeno got her much praise, told IANS.
Bipasha had asked her producers to invite a born-and-bred Kashmiri girl to Mumbai to study her body language, speech patterns and mannerisms.
"I've never done a film like this before. The role requires me to be someone else altogether. I've to change my entire personality. And for this I needed help. I wanted to play the character the way girls really are today in Kashmir. Very basic.
"I've done a bit role in another authentic film - Prakash Jha's Apaharan. For that matter, Madhur Bhandarkar's Corporate was very real and so is Rituparno Ghosh's Sab Charitra Kalpanik. But Lamha is something else."
The actress is hell bent to look convincing in the role.
"I think I'm going to be more keen on getting it right than the director. Going to Kashmir and getting to know the local way of life was difficult. All said and done it's still not entirely safe in Kashmir.
"My boyfriend John (Abraham) shot in strife-torn Afghanistan for Kabul Express. Now it's my turn in Kashmir."
Bipasha's co-star in Lamha is Kunal Kapoor.
"We did a film together recently, Bachna Ae Haseeno. But we had no scenes together. Still we ran into each other all the time during the shooting.
"Sanjay Dutt is also there. He's a nice man. We share a good working relationship. He's very protective and sweet," Bipasha said.
Asked how it was working with Dholakia, she said: "I've known Rahul Dholakia for years - long before he made Parzania. In fact, he had offered me his first film Kehta Hai Dil Baar Baar. He's a man of a few simple words. The story in Lamha is very powerful and real. It's a hard-hitting look at present-day Kashmir."
The actress said that she had been to Jammu and Kashmir as a child, but things have changed drastically since then.
"This was long before militancy occurred. This is a different Kashmir I'm going to. We'll be learning the language and by the time I start shooting, I'm thoroughly convinced I'll look convincing. The director wants to shoot in sync sound. But I don't think that's advisable. We'll tell the story of Kashmir in a layman's language. It's not going to be an arty film."