Ileana D’Cruz on female co-stars: I don’t like being jealous; I prefer to be inspired
Actor Ileana D’Cruz, the star of two big films this year — Baadshaho and Mubarakan — says how she turned the insecurity of her newbie days into a strength and a belief in her own USP.bollywood Updated: Dec 20, 2017 17:08 IST
She was already an established name in the Tamil and Telugu film industries, when actor Ileana D’Cruz entered Bollywood, and made a splash with her first Hindi film, Barfi (2012). Out of the seven-odd Bollywood films she has done in this time, six had her sharing the screen with another female lead — it was Priyanka Chopra in Barfi; Nargis Fakhri in Main Tera Hero (2014); Kalki Koechlin in Happy Ending (2014); Esha Gupta in Rustom (2016) and Baadshaho; and Athiya Shetty in Mubarakan.
Asked if she ever felt any sense of insecurity while working on all these two-heroine films, Ileana says, “I’m a fairly mature woman and I’ve realised that I’m not going to grow if I keep thinking, ‘The other heroine in the film is so much better than me.’ I would rather take inspiration from them. There are many women out there who’re stunning, have got great bodies, but I’m not going to be negative about it.”
While most actors would vie for maximum screen space in multi-starrers, for Ileana, that’s a trivial concern. “I’m not competing with everyone. I don’t like being jealous,” she says. “Someone can be great, but I’m good in my own way, too, and have my own USP. I’d rather work on myself. So that way, I’ve never been insecure about my screen space in a film.”
And what about the fear of being overshadowed by other actors, if they have stronger parts in a film? Ileana replies, “If I’m going to get overshadowed in a film, it’s because of something that I haven’t done, not because of what the other heroine has done, or because I’ve focused on the amount of scenes she had in the film. That’s not the case. In the end, only a good actor stands out; if I am not a good actor, I won’t stand out.”
I hold myself in a certain regard and I wouldn’t want to settle for anything other than the lead, unless it’s really an outstanding role. As luck would have it, I’ve always got to play the lead.
She did have a phase of insecurity, however — that was when she had just started out in films, at the age of 18, and was “incredibly naïve” about the ways of showbiz. Now, poised at 30, Ileana recalls, “I remember looking at one of my female co-stars and I was like ‘Wow, she is so beautiful, her skin is amazing, she dances so well, she looks stunning.’ Everything about her [gave me] a level of insecurity, and then, I felt absolutely awful. I started to feel that no one was going to look at me, if she was also a part of the film. But then, I thought to myself, I can either be inspired by it and better myself, or I can just be envious of the fact that she is great (laughs). So, there is no sense in being insecure.”
The Bollywood stint has so far been good, with plenty of lead roles coming her way. Calling herself “extremely blessed”, Ileana states, “I don’t know how that comes about, but I know that I hold myself in a certain regard and I wouldn’t want to settle for anything other than the lead, unless it’s really an outstanding role. As luck would have it, I’ve always got to play the lead.”
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