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'I’m covered from head to toe in Ghajini'

Till yesterday, she was being kept away from the media.. but not anymore. She is now raring to go and yak her heart out. Jiah Khan in a gabfest with Vajir Singh.

entertainment Updated: Dec 22, 2008 19:28 IST
Vajir Singh
Vajir Singh
Hindustan Times

Till yesterday, she was being kept away from the media.. but not anymore. She is now raring to go and yak her heart out. Jiah Khan in a gabfest with Vajir Singh.

So, you’re finally talking to the media after a one-year sabbatical..
(Smiles) It’s actually almost two years now.

Then why disappear?
I was under contract for Ghajini and that’s why I stayed behind doors. And because the film has been in the making for almost two years, I wasn’t talking to anyone.

But you could have always talked to the media without a word on Ghajini.
My contract stated that I wasn’t supposed to talk.

Considering that you were just one-film old, don’t you think the contract was a bit too hard on you?
No yaar. I think, with Aamir (Khan), many people do that. He believes in changing the entire perception of his co-stars. So, in a way it was necessary and good for the project.

But the producers are only promoting Aamir Khan and Asin.. you’re hardly seen.
I leave that to the professionals. I’ve done my work. They are doing theirs. And it’s done so the product comes out well. At the end of the day if the film works, it will help me.

You play Nayantara’s role in this Hindi remake of the Tamil Ghajini. So, you’re playing the second lead to Asin?
I agree I don’t play the romantic lead opposite Aamir. I’m more like his sidekick. But both Asin and I have the same number of scenes. It’s my second film and it was advisable that it didn’t look like another Nishabd.

Are you suggesting that Aamir is too old for you and you can’t be paired opposite him?
(Laughs) Noooooooooo. I’m not calling Aamir old. Pleeeease. It’s just the baggage I’m carrying from my last film. So, they’ve made it very clear that my character shouldn’t have a romantic angle.

Hmm. Sounds as if you regret doing Nishabd.
Not at all. I think I had a good launch. It’s only because of Nishabd that I got Ghajini. I’m also doing a film opposite Shahid (Kapoor) as well as Sajid Khan’s House Full.

Nishabd dealt with a touchy subject and it could have gone wrong. But thankfully, it worked for me. I think Ramu (Ram Gopal Varma) made a beautiful film.

Why did you decide to stay away from Varma? You haven’t worked with him after Nishabd.
Arrey, he should come to me with a subject first.. and of course I will work with him. I’ve admired his work since I was a 12-year-old.

You apparently complained to the Nishabd cinematographer, Amit Roy, about the way Varma shot you in the film.
Not at all. Ramu did a great job.. I don’t think anyone else could have captured me the way he did in the film. I was much younger then and he caught the innocence perfectly.

I was watching Nishabd the other day and I really liked the way I looked in it. Of late, Ramu made Aag.. and Contract and there was no role for me. He even told me that whenever he makes a film with me, it will have to be better than Nishabd.

Better or more sensuous?
You know what, Nishabd’s concept was sensuous but the way the film was shot wasn’t sensuous.

Well, talking about your role in Ghajini — is it anything different from Nayantara’s role in the original?
It’s played quite differently. In the South they prefer sex appeal.. a lot of oomph. Here, I had to lose a lot of weight. Aamir didn’t want me to look voluptuous which I was in Nishabd. But in Ghajini, I wanted to turn it around, so I’m covered from head to toe.. not even my neck is shown.

So, you’re going to disappoint the people who are waiting for another Jiah Khan movie.
Ha ha. They’ll not be disappointed because Aamir has cleverly kept a song that has some skin-show in it.

Was this an after-thought by Aamir Khan keeping your Nishabd image in mind?
The song was always there. It’s there in the original version too. But they’ve stylised it.

Is that why your co-star Asin was present on the sets when this song was being shot?
I don’t want to comment on that.

Are you both friends?
Listen, we don’t have any combination scenes. And I only met her twice.. it takes years to become friends.

Okay, okay. You worked on toning down, but what about your diction. You still have a British accent.
No matter what, I guess I’ll always maintain this accent. This is a part of me. Ghajini is in sync sound and my voice is not dubbed. A majority of the unit was from the south, including the director Murugadoss. They don’t understand Hindi much but I had Aamir with me and he was a great help.

Oh, you can pronounce your director’s name correctly?
(Laughs) Yes of course.. he’s Murugadosssssss. He’s amazing. I would love to work with him again.

Were you aware that Kangana Ranaut was the first choice for your role?
I think many people were approached and many more were auditioned. I feel lucky that I was the chosen one.

Just when you were signed on for the film, rumours circulated that your mother Rabiya Khan dated Aamir Khan’s father Tahir Husain in the ’80s.
The rumour came out even before I was signed on for Ghajini. It’s completely false and ridiculous. My mother had worked with Tahir Hussain. And it’s just like today I’m working with a director and after many years when my child becomes an actress the media creates a controversy. It’s totally baseless.

Did Aamir Khan and you ever discuss this?
Nah. You know Aamir. He thinks from his mind and not his heart.

Despite your sabbatical, you’ve been in the news consistently.. you’ve been linked to three men.
Really? Who are these three gentlemen?

Prince Alejandro, Kanishk Gangwal and Lakshyaraj Singh of Mewar.
Unless I come out and say that I have a boyfriend, I don’t think you should believe in anything. I’m an actress and I’ve been photographed with several random people. And suddenly I’m linked with them.

(Cuts in) I’m single. Period.

Going back to Ghajini, would you like to share any experiences?
Most of my scenes are pretty dramatic and I have to scream a lot. I don’t scream in real life.. I don’t shout. I don’t even get angry. So, I was really scared but the shots were approved in one take.

You don’t even get angry when someone makes a pass at you?
(Giggles) I don’t shout. I just walk away. I feel shy. Ha ha ha..

First Published: Dec 22, 2008 16:46 IST