Salman Khan has mellowed down. Are you responsible for that?
I donít think so. If he has mellowed down, thatís wonderful. On occasion, the media can be (struggles to find the apt word) aggressive and write something hurtful. But at the end of the day, thereís no need to be upset. Iím glad that heís more comfortable with the media because I think no one is against him.
Not many of Salman's ex-girlfriends have managed to rise out of his shadow. You are the only exception, no?
All I want to say to that is, write it on a postcard and send it to Salman. So he is aware.
How would you describe your chemistry with him?
(Pause) What do you mean?
Iím talking on screen, of course.
See, itís being said that Yuvvraaj is the first film in which weíve been teamed romantically. But I would like to point out that Iím in the film 100 per cent because of Subhash Ghai and not because of the pairing, which is secondary. And yeah, I think the chemistry between us is very spontaneous. It doesnít look forced.
Has the off-screen chemistry helped in achieving that?
(Smiles) Since weíve known each other for many years now, thereís an equation. Heís a very, very special person; you have to give him a lot of leeway, space and understanding. And thatís exactly what I do when we work together as well.
You must be the only non-Hindi speaking actress in film history who charges three crores a film. How does it feel?
I love it. I think it's great. (laughs) I think when the unexpected happens, that is the magic of life. English is my first language but I have to say I have worked very hard on my Hindi.
Your reaction to being called a glamour doll?
I've realized that there is need to go beyond the glamour doll roles. I'm still going to do them. I love them, I'm young and if I can't do them now, I definitely can't do them when I am 35. But there's also a desire within me as an actress to do different roles. In 2009, I am doing performance-oriented films. There is a Raj Kumar Santoshi film, a Yash Raj film and a Prakash Jha film; all of them are strong characters, which will get noticed. I will be very disappointed if I am not nominated for any role in 2009.
Salman has signed on Zarine Khan in Veer who looks like you. Comment !
(Laughs) Isnít that flattering? I think thatís so sweet. I even helped her with her make-up during her screen test. Sheís a lovely girl and I hope she does very well though I donít think she looks like me. But if Salman misses me and wants to work with girls who look like me, thatís so sweet.
Youíve said he is very unromantic.
I was speaking as someone who knows him, and not in an intimate way.
You were supposed to do all your interviews
together, but now you are...
That wasnít the promotional strategy at all. Iíve always given interviews on my own. But yeah, we are doing a few interviews together for news channels in Delhi. Having said that, Salmanís too unpredictable. (Laughs) Iím afraid to do interviews with him you never know what heíll end up saying.
Subhash Ghai has said that thereís not much of a role for the female lead in Yuvvraaj.
Now, where did you get that? Heís a legendary director and has a reputation for showcasing his heroines. I wanted that experience, even though I knew I wasnít the central character. (Laughs) Salman has pointed out too that Yuvraaj canít obviously be about me.
Have you come to terms with catfights?
The media eggs on most of these. I didnít come in with a big launch film, which shot me to the top immediately. I had to take baby steps, and now Iím being offered good work. So Iím very happy.
You did the Temptations tour with Shah Rukh Khan. Did you discuss the Salman Khan fight with him?
No, of course not. Heís a thorough professional we did a great show together. In fact, it was the first time I went on stage without getting the jitters.
Have you tried to resolve the issue between them?
I donít know, baba. This isnít about me itís about Salman and Shah Rukh. I know Salman for many years but I donít control him. (Smiles) I donít even have control over him. Itís a matter he has to sort out on his own.
Is it possible to sustain yourself in Bollywood with such an enclosed attitude?
Why not? Iím not Mother Teresa. I have my insecurities and problems like any normal person. I wonít sustain myself anywhere by pulling others down. I have six sisters and several responsibilities. I have to make decisions, which secure my future. I donít care who is doing what.
Arbaaz Khan is producing a movie in which he wanted to cast you opposite Salman Khan. Itís rumoured that Malaika Arora-Khan wasnít happy about this.
Thatís probably the most ridiculous thing Iíve ever heard. I canít think of one reason why sheíd have a problem with me.