Ileana D’Cruz: I won’t do a film just because it’s great; rejected Special 26 because of the role
Raid star Ileana D’Cruz, who has scored a hat-trick of sorts with this film, following the success of Mubarakan and Baadshaho (2017), calls herself ‘selfish as an actor’ as she needs to like her own role in any film she is offered.Updated: Apr 03, 2018, 18:17 IST
With three successful films one after the other, spring must feel quite special for actor Ileana D’Cruz. “I want to curl up on the couch and watch TV,” she laughs, when we ask about her state of mind, following the good response to Mubarakan, Baadshaho, and now Raid.
“Honestly! People ask you questions like, ‘How do you deal with failure [when your films don’t do well]?’ For me, it’s the same as how I deal with success. I deal with it like, ‘Okay, the films have either done well or not done well. I should move on.’ I can’t hold on to it,” says Ileana.
Already established in Telugu cinema, she made her Bollywood debut with the acclaimed Barfi! (2012) opposite Ranbir Kapoor, and went on to work with actors such as Shahid Kapoor and Akshay Kumar. Content with the way her Bollywood career is shaping up, she says, “It’s slower than what I expected it to be, but I prefer that, because I like the choices I’ve made.” The actor has done only eight films in the past six years, to which she says, “It’s because I don’t sign just every film that comes my way! I’ve rejected quite a few films because of the story and the role. Sometimes, the story is great, but my character is not something I loved.”
One such film she turned down was Special 26 (2013). “My frank discussion with Neeraj (Pandey, the director) was, ‘I love the story, but I wish I had something more to do in it. I can’t ask you to increase my character, because the film demands that’,” says Ileana. “Then came Rustom (which Pandey had co-produced).” Ileana feels she is “selfish as an actor” that way. “I won’t be part of a film just because it’s great! I want to have a role for myself. Some films I’ve not done because of date problems; also, a few [that I turned down] didn’t work well eventually at the box office, so I heaved a sigh of relief,” she laughs.
In her latest film, Raid, she plays a homemaker, who is the support system for her upright husband, an income tax officer, played by Ajay Devgn. The film naturally gives more space to Ajay’s character. Didn’t she feel apprehensive about being overshadowed? She replies, “In every film, you have your own space. I don’t think I ever got into a film with the notion of ‘Oh! I have to try and make sure that my space has to be equally visible as everyone else’s.’ [In Barfi!] I was a newcomer with two superstars (Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra). It would have been intimidating! But I believed in Dada (Anurag Basu, director). The notion has gone now, where stars think ‘I should be the focus.’ They now look at a film in totality.”
Interact with the author on Twitter/ @RishabhSuri02