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REVEALED! The secrets of Bipasha's Aatma!

Last updated on: October 4, 2012 16:08 IST

REVEALED! The secrets of Bipasha's Aatma!

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Nishi Tiwari in Mumbai

Here's an inside look on the sets of Bipasha Basu's forthcoming film, Aatma.

"I'm not going to do that," Bipasha Basu says, with finality. There's a hint of a frown on her face.

Dressed in a cute lacy dress that reaches her knees, with her hair styled in soft curls, the actress is shooting a scene for Suparn Verma's upcoming horror movie Aatma.

She's just got back to work after a bout of exhaustion and a brief stay in the hospital and is still visibly weak.

She's supposed to fall off the bed in the scene they are shooting but Bipasha is not sure she should do this -- she's slightly wobbly and has a minor sprain in her right wrist.

"Figure out some other way to do this," she states.

Later, of course, the professional actress that she is, she goes right ahead and does the scene the way the director wants, several times over in order to get it right.

After the unprecedented success of her last film Raaz 3, Bipasha is now shooting for Aatma alongside Nawazuddin Siddiqui and a six-year-old debutante named Doyel Dhawan.


Image: Suparn Verma and Bipasha Basu on the sets of Aatma


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When I was asked to visit the Aatma sets and write about it, I approached the idea with much trepidation. Let's just say that I've slept better than I did the night before the big day.

It's a sunny Monday morning as I arrive at Future Studio, Goregaon, in suburban Mumbai, the location for Aatma's shooting.
Suparn meets me warmly, and gets ready to take the first shot with Doyel.

Bipasha, who is not required for the first shot, makes her entry wearing a floral top and skinny jeans.

I look around. The core members of the crew are a bunch of young, self-assured people who are having a lot of fun as they go about their work.

Sophie Winqvist, the cinematographer of the film, is from Denmark and has a big, bright smile. We exchange brief, approving glances as Doyel gets her scenes right.

My colleague Hitesh Harisinghani is also part of the crew, and keeps me company, as a 20-something guy approaches us, and tries to bum a cigarette off him.

Apurv Singh Karki is an assistant director from Nainital who has done some work on documentaries and shows for Doordarshan in New Delhi. He tells me that he moved to Mumbai a few months ago and loves it here.


Image: Bipasha Basu and Suparn Verma with the crew on Aatma sets


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As creative director of the making of the film, Apurv is documenting all the behind-the- scenes action and can be spotted lugging his camera around in all earnestness, watching closely when others get to work.

He excitedly tells me that Nawazuddin Siddiqui is supposed to be arriving post lunch. He then whips out his cellphone to show me a picture he's taken with the actor. I make an appreciative remark as I remind myself to take a picture with the actor when I get to talk to him.

Apurv tells me that much of the credit for the easy-going vibes on the set goes to Suparn. "He's so chilled out. This happy atmosphere around here is because of him. Our art department is extremely organised too, thanks to Promita Pal and Nihit Agarwal," he says.

Meanwhile, Vipin Singh, a member of the production unit, is cautious when he first meets me. After he learns I'm a journalist, he rattles off names of films that he's had bit roles in, like Omkara, Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge and Heroine.

Image: Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Suparn Verma on the sets of Aatma


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After the lunch break, Bipasha emerges from her vanity van in the lacy dress.

Suparn discusses camera angles with Sophie and rehearses lines with Doyel. Doyel pays close attention to what's being said but is visibly upset.

Bipasha sails through her lines but Doyel is having some trouble. Bipasha is extremely encouraging and supportive. She helps the little girl with her dialogues and heaps praises on her when she gets it right.

The scene that's being shot couldn't possibly be longer than two minutes. But it takes four hours to shoot, and is eventually okayed by everybody.

When the camera isn't rolling and the break is too short to allow her a visit to her vanity van, Bipasha spends her time meditatively pacing the room, exchanging notes about how to approach the scene and getting her hair/make up re-touched.

There's also a brief exchange between her and her little co-star. The actress seems to take it as a welcome distraction.


Image: Bipasha Basu, Shernaz Patel and Suparn Verma on Aatma sets

Tags: Doyel , Bipasha , Sophie

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There comes a point when, realising that there are more people in the room than required and it's getting stuffy, the assistant director asks those who aren't required to leave. They ask Apurv to go too, who protests mildly before leaving.

Bipasha moves around cautiously, extremely mindful of the state of her health but doesn't let that come in the way of work. She politely offers feedback as she watches the playback with Suparn and producer Abhishek Pathak.

After a series of retakes, the shot gets canned and Doyel goes out to spend some time with her parents. Her father Tript, who's just flown in from New Delhi to be with his wife and daughter, has been watching Doyel from the sidelines and can be occasionally found playing games on his Ipad.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui has just entered the building. He's dressed in a crisp white shirt, beige trousers and tan shoes. He is of medium height and frame and stands out in the dimly-lit room despite his modest physique.

As he gets ready to shoot, I overhear a female crew member whispering to her colleague, "Nawaz is cute."


Image: Suparn Verma, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Abhishek Pathak on Aatma sets


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The scene with Nawaz is complicated and everybody is shooed out of the room once again. This time I leave too.
Abhishek Pathak, meanwhile, tells me that that film is almost complete and they are planning to lock a date in December or January for its release.

He's one of the scores of people who watched Gangs Of Wasseypur and was massively impressed with Nawazuddin Siddiqui's acting skills.

"He got a standing ovation from the entire crew on the first day he walked onto the set," the producer says fondly.

Nawaz himself is unassuming and honest to a fault. When I ask him what kind of roles he's being offered after his widely-appreciated performance in Gangs Of Wasseypur, he tells me that he's received as many as 150 scripts and is struggling to decide which ones to go for.

"I'll select scripts the way I have done so far. I want to do the kind of films that have got me here.

"I can't do meaningless films, scripts that are written for the wrong reasons. I need to be personally satisfied with my performance," he says.


Image: Suparn Verma and Nawazuddin Siddiqui on the sets of Aatma


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I tell him about the Ranbir Kapoor interview in which the actor, when asked which of the recent releases he wished he'd been part of, said that he really wished he was a part of Gangs Of Wasseypur and had done Nawaz's role.

"I think I should have done Rockstar and Barfi!" Nawaz quips. But he says that Ranbir Kapoor has a great understanding of his work and is a fine actor. According to him, Ranbir is changing the definition of stardom.

About Bipasha he says that she's the most easy-going female co-star he's ever worked with.

We wrap up the interview and Nawaz waves to me as he makes his way to the set.

All this while, Bipasha has been flitting between the set and her vanity van, almost as if she's saving up all her energy for work.
As I make my way out of the studio after spending eight hours in it, it hits me. I forgot to take a picture with Nawaz!

Image: Suparn Verma and Bipasha Basu on the sets of Aatma


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