14 years in the industry and still at the top...
I am extremely grateful that God has given me an increasingly overwhelming time in my life. The journey has been superlative in every sense of the term. I have to use the word because any other word I use will not be enough to quantify how full, fulfilling and overwhelming an experience it has been.
Changing public perception that models cant act..
Despite being offered films by Yash Chopra and Subhash Ghai I chose Mani Ratnam’s Tamil film ‘Iruvar’. Mani sir had made it clear that Iruvar was not supposed to be my launching film or mere showcasing because I was just a character in the film. I did not joined movies to prove any point to anybody else or to dispel any perceptions that existed. I knew I was here to be a part of this creative medium called cinema. My every choice, even if it was slightly against the tide, it got me my own little victories in each of them. I did Dhoom after 10 years in the industry and it got me the fruits.
Haven’t signed any new film, on rumours of taking break from work...
People have been talking about this so-called ‘break’ a bit too much. Vishal (Bhardwaj) came to me with two ideas. I liked one but he wanted to make the other first, which I wasn’t very keen on. That’s when I backed out. Now it’s really funny. Either you take on work to prove a point because all these assumptions are made or you make choices on films you really want to do. I prefer opting for the second. I feel if I don’t make an announcement soon, they’ll start saying she’s stopped working. I cannot get pressured by assumptions. I am meeting directors; I am reading scripts. But I don’t want to take on something unless I’m charged about it.
Getting thumps up for Guzaarish
I said yes to Guzaarish without even hearing the script. People had been really harsh to Sanjay during his previous film (Saawariya). And I felt bad about it. You can’t erase talent; you can’t run someone down like that. People go through phases in their careers. It’s important to stand by people when they need it the most. At that time, he gave me a brief idea about Guzaarish and the role. I said yes to him but there was very little of Sofia in the film. Sanjay felt that I would bring dignity to the character and the film. But he was clear that on paper, it was Ethan’s story and he was the film’s main protagonist. I’m just so happy that the audience, critics and whoever saw Guzaarish came away impacted by Sofia. She was going through the same emotions as Ethan as she was living the same life in parallel with the added responsibility of making a difference. And I am very overwhelmed that people got that.
The middle class values she has imbibed
Although I don’t face the same problems which any other middle class girl faces, but looking at a larger picture, my life is not different from the rest of the working women in the country. The amalgamation of characteristic qualities of a woman, fulfilling the responsibilities of both home and office makes a woman modern and successful. I am embracing my life with the same zeal.
Family and career-the balancing act
No rule book can be made to define this coordination. Life is full of mysteries and each day can bring in a new surprise for us. Apart from getting support from the rest of the family members, husband’s understanding and support is also essential. I’m lucky that I have got such a supportive and an enlightened family. Family for us is vital and sweet. The best thing is that each member of my family is understanding and accommodative of each other’s needs and requirements.
No regrets for the past
After ‘Devdas’, I have stopped saying that I will take a leave now or I will be resting now. Work is my relaxation. I got married during the shooting of ‘Jodha Akbar’ and ‘Sarkar Raj’. I kept a gap after that. In the interim, Abhishek and I kept meeting at each other at movie sets. For staying together, we didn’t hinder anybody else’s film. But still critics gossiped so much.During the shooting of ‘Delhi 6’, it was said that because of me, the work got stopped. Both I and Abhishek are actors and we do understand the requirements of the film. But we are also husband and wife!
My experience says that there is no alternative to hard work. Because we have opted for this field therefore we need to understand the specific needs of a particular time and decide our priorities accordingly. There are so many films that I refused became hits. But there are no qualms. It is important to give time to life as well.