'People ask, "Are you envious of Raj?" I mean, are you envious of your brother or sister or your mum and dad?'
'No. You feel a sense of pride when you see the other person excel.'
'Both of us are from the industry, so seeing the other person excel is what inspires me and instills faith and hope in me.'
Patralekhaa has done just three films in four years.
It is not easy being an actress in Bollywood, and Patralekhaa will vouch for that.
Her performance in her debut film Citylights in 2014 won her raves, but brought in no work.
She went on to do Love Games in 2016, a choice she seems to regret.
Patralekhaa will be seen in Nanu Ki Jaanu, which co-stars Abhay Deol. The trailer looks good, and she is hopeful about the film which releases on Friday, April 20.
"Web series are a tricky space. I am averse to sexual content," says Patralekhaa. "I am not comfortable doing it. A lot of Web space is exploring that, so I am completely off it."
Rediff.com's Patcy N takes notes.
We don't see much of you in the Nanu Ki Jaanu trailer.
Even I asked my director that.
The film does not move forward without me. My character is pivotal to the plot, so every time they tried to put my part in the trailer, it was giving away important plot points.
That's why they felt it was best not to show me in the trailer.
But the trailer works any way, whether I am in it or not.
You haven't tried comedy before. Were you sceptical?
It is a difficult genre, but I wasn't sceptical when I read the script.
I was really happy since I have never done a film like this.
I have always done hardcore drama, so I was happy that somebody wanted me to do a horror comedy film.
This is an unrealistic film set up in a realistic space. Faraz (Haider, director) wanted me to be as real as possible.
My character Siddhi is a lot like me.
During Citylights, I had to really work hard because it was nothing like me.
But here, she belongs to my age group, she thinks like me. So this film wasn't that tough for me.
What kind of work are you looking for?
I am looking for good scripts. If it is good, everything falls into place.
What I have learnt in these three-four years is to believe in the material.
The character must resonate with me. And that's the choice I am making now.
It's not okay to do wrong work because that sets you back.
Like Love Games?
Yeah. I was not comfortable doing it, and if I'm not comfortable, I will not do it.
Had Love Games worked, would it have been your entry into a different kind of commercial film?
No, Even that would not work. I don't know whether I should be happy or sad (laughs).
Did Citylights help your career?
I don't think many people saw it. Yes, it was critically acclaimed and it made a certain kind of money, but did a lot of industry people see it? I am not sure.
Did that result in work? No, it did not.
But I don't lose faith judging by what Citylights did or did not do because good work will remain for posterity.
Citylights was not my best work, but it was my first film where I fared okay. And that gives me courage to keep at it.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
I took a hit (setback) after Love Games. So I did a Web series, which was fun.
I played a college student and it felt real. It gave me a lot of confidence to do everything again.
Does Rajkummar Rao help you?
Oh no, he doesn't. He should help himself first.
Nanu Ki Jaanu releases on the same day as his Omerta on April 20.
It is great! We will conquer!
Yes, our films are coming together and we are promoting it together. He goes for Omerta and I come here.
Do you get irritated when people ask about your relationship with Rajkummar instead of your work?
I understand that because we are open in the media, it is easier for everyone to scrutinise it.
But it dilutes my struggle.
I have not come here because of somebody. (I have come here) because of my hard work, that was even before Citylights. That is what makes me sad.
When people ask, 'Are you envious of Raj?'
I mean, are you envious of your brother or sister or your mum and dad?
No. You feel a sense of pride when you see the other person excel.
Both of us are from the industry, so seeing the other person excel is what inspires me and instills faith and hope in me.
Do you get time to catch up films?
Totally. Once we are done with our interviews, it' Netflix!
Right now, I am watching Wild Wild Country. It is amazing!
Rajkummar is never here -- he is always shooting outdoors. He has not been in Mumbai since the last year.
He comes for a day or two, so it is impossible to follow shows together. So I binge watch.
The last films I watched were Raid and Emily Blunt's Don't Shout.
You played an immigrant mother in Citylights. In Love Games, you played a seductress. Now, you play a girl next door. How do you see these transitions?
Citylights was painstakingly difficult because in real life, this is who I am (points to herself).
I was 24 years old when I was shooting the film, and I was playing a mother of a five or six year old.
I did not have maternal feelings as such, I thought that was a task.
Acting in Love Games was shedding inhibitions, which I could not.
I think people could make out and that's why it did not resonate with me or any of you.
This girl next door (Nanu Ki Jaanu) is who I am, so it wasn't difficult.
Was the Web series Bose tough?
Yes. It was a period drama, set in Netaji's time.
To feel that brave and join Netaji's team was tough.
Even though it was a small role, it was very integral (to the story).
Working in a set-up like that feels like homecoming.
You know the actor (Rajkummar Rao), you know the crew because you have worked with them. So it is a very comfortable environment.
Are you doing any more Web series?
No. After Bose, I am not looking for anything because Web series are a tricky space.
I am averse to sexual content because I did something and it did not work for me.
I am not comfortable doing it.
A lot of Web space is exploring that, so I am completely off it.
But Ekta (Kapoor) ma'am had spoken to me about something exciting. Let us see if that works out.
Which was the weirdest film offered to you?
There are so many!
It is not like I get 100 scripts.
I get one or two scripts in a month, but they are really bad.
Earlier, I didn't get scripts, and would not have work.
Now, I get scripts, but they are not worth it.
You posted a picture of yours in a bikini on Instagram. Did you get any film offers after that?
I have worn a bikini in Love Games.
But you said you were not comfortable.
I had problems with the other things, not the clothes.