Eesha Koppikar: I am pregnant with Shabri
Eesha Koppikhar has barely been in Mumbai in the last few weeks. Her long awaited project Shabri is finally due to release this Friday and she's just back from a hurried tip to Shirdi.
Produced by Ram Gopal Varma, Shabri is a fictionalized account of a dreaded woman gangster. Had the film released four years ago, Eesha would in all probability been swamped with offers.
Today, even industry folks can't predict the fate of the film. But Eesha is undeterred, and believes this film will once and for all establish her credentials as a serious actress. She discusses the film with Preeti Arora.
You've just returned from Shirdi. Before that, it was Ajmer Sharif. Worried about Shabri?
Not at all. It's the role of a lifetime for any actress. There are no fears or apprehensions. We (director Lalit Marathe and Eesha) are confident about the response it will generate.
Image: Eesha Koppikar
'Ramu said Shabri was a notch higher than Satya, Shiva and Company'
Why was the film stuck for so long? In a recent interview, Ram Gopal Varma claimed he was no longer involved with the film?
Oh that is news to me! It was Ramu who narrated the film to me and convinced me that I was the right choice for the film. It was a Film Factory production when we started out. Ramu has invested his own money in the film. When he saw the rough cut, he said this film was a notch higher than Satya, Shiva and Company.
Even now when we meet, he is pleasant and courteous. Yes, he hasn't been promoting Shabri which is a pity. Only he knows the whole truth.
Is there a sense of frustration about the delay? And even now, the film is releasing only in Maharashtra?
No, none at all. My favourite proverb is 'Man proposes, god disposes'. If the film is releasing today, then it is in my best interests. God knows best. I believe in a supreme power and the power of prayer. I will seize any opportunity to worship at a holy place, whether it is a dargah or a church or a temple. I won't say I am visiting Shirdi because my producer asked me to.
Having said that, one of major concerns over the last two years was what if Shabri never did get a theatrical release. Today, thanks to my higher power, the prayers of the entire team, Shabri has returned from the grave. I am deeply grateful.
Image: Eesha Koppikar
'I love films and acting far too much to even think about quitting'
Two years ago, you got married and you almost disappeared. Why this hiatus?
In India, you don't just marry an individual, you marry a whole family. I have chosen to live with my in-laws. Sharing space, becoming a part of a new family isn't the easiest thing to do. There was a conscious decision to take a break from films, spend time in getting to know Timmy's family, his business.
And no, I couldn't have managed both. I'm really hyper as an individual. A workaholic. My strength lies in my ability to multi-task. When I don't have any work on my hands, I turn restless. If I had continued doing films at that point, I would have neglected my duties as a daughter-in-law.
Your so-called well wishers maintain you were setting a distance with the film industry.
No, taking a break is very different from quitting altogether. And I love films and acting far too much to even think about quitting. Maybe some husbands would be uncomfortable seeing their wives on screen. Timmy isn't one of them.
Image: Eesha Koppikar in a scene from her film Girlfriend, co-starring Amrita Arora
'A lot of (married) actresses tend to become flabby'
So tell us something about Timmy.
Timmy isn't a person who feels the need to dominate me in any manner whatsoever. He's comfortable in his own skin.
At the very beginning of our relationship, he told me I was free to pursue my own interests and that he would support my decisions. There were some sizzling scenes in Right Yaa Wrong but we watched the film together and he didn't feel uncomfortable. I feel blessed to be with somebody who is so secure that he unhesitatingly gives me my own space.
Some actresses complain they are perceived differently once they are married.
True, industry folks are hesitant to approach you. As a married woman, one needs to let people know one still wants to act.
Also producers are worried; you may not be committed enough in terms of schedules, late nights etc. A lot of (married) actresses tend to become flabby. But once producers realise marriage hasn't affected you, you are still keen about your career, then it's all right. The initial positive vibrations need to emanate from you.
Over the last few weeks, I have been offered two films. One is a comedy and the other is a light-hearted romance. I won't divulge any more details since I haven't signed yet.
Image: Eesha Koppikar in Shabri
'I am not getting involved with Timmy's business'
What do you think you have in common with Shabri?
A lot actually. Shabri is very positive and her faith, her self-confidence in tricky situations is what prevents her from giving up. Often she tries to run away from a messy scenario but soon she returns and faces the problems head-on. I am like that. I may initially block out an unpleasant incident but my headstrong personality leads me to look at the calamity in the eye.
What about the rumours about you becoming an active part of Timmy's hotel business?
What rumours? It's true. But I am not getting involved with his business.
With Timmy's expertise, I have launched a company called Soul Konnect. There is this misconception about health food being tasteless and dry. Soul Konnect will have its own restaurants, coffee shops, packaged foods. Work on the central kitchen has begun. It's a big venture and I am aware of the work it entails. Hard work is what I thrive on.
For some time there was this buzz that you were pregnant.
Of course I am pregnant. I am pregnant with Shabri and ready to deliver.
Image: Eesha Koppikar in Shabri