'There is always so much to learn from Aamir sir.'
Mona Singh is very happy to reunite with her 3 Idiots co-stars Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor in Laal Singh Chaddha.
With the release date pushed to December, it's going to be a long wait, but she's says it will be well worth it.
"Forrest Gump, for me, is Aamir sir because it is Indianised," Mona tells Rediff.com Contributor Sameena Razzaq.
Laal Singh Chaddha reunites you with Aamir and Kareena after 3 Idiots. How was the experience?
I had a blast working with Aamir sir again.
It was reunion after 10 years.
We shot 3 Idiots in 2008 and it released in 2009.
So after 10 years, the three of us came back together.
Even the director was saying 'Arrey yeh bhi 3 Idiots jaise ho jaaye'.
There is always so much to learn from Aamir sir.
As a team, we had a lot of fun shooting in Amritsar and Chandigarh. It was extremely cold and beautiful in the locations where we were shooting.
Everybody knows Aamir Khan is a perfectionist. What was working with him like?
He always has the best suggestions and it always works out for the scene.
He knows about everything.
He knows about lighting, direction and, of course, acting... He knows it all.
The process of working with him, the process of learning and unlearning is very fascinating. So I enjoyed it.
Who makes a better Forrest Gump: Aamir Khan or Tom Hanks?
Forrest Gump, for me, is Aamir sir because it is Indianised.
It is an Indian version and most of the people who have not seen it in India will get to see Aamir sir playing Forrest Gump.
We saw Forrest Gump in the early '90s and it's one of my favourite films.
I loved Tom Hanks in that, so the comparison is not really good.
Your Web series Black Widows was received well even though the concept was unconventional. The success must have been reassuring?
Yes, it's overwhelming.
The Black Widows rating was 8.3; it was trending at number four.
The reviews were great, so yes, it was a beautiful feeling that something that we had worked so hard on was being watched and talked about.
It's a big achievement.
With so much content coming out, people do get a little critical but that did not happen with our show.
We worked during the lockdown in Kolkata.
We shot for almost 55-60 days.
We were out of our homes and shooting in difficult situations but at the end of the day, when the show was critically acclaimed and loved by all, it feels great.
Is it really so easy for a smart, independent woman to walk out of an abusive relationship?
It's never easy, especially when you have children.
But then, one has to decide if you want your life to be like this or do you want to take charge, respect yourself, have some dignity and walk out on mutual terms and agreements.
We talk about women's liberation and independence so assertively but deep down, many women still need a man to make them feel complete and happy.
I don't agree.
It depends on who you are as a person and how strong you are, what is okay with you and what is not.
Nowadays women are going on their own.
They don't need a man to complete themselves.
They feel whole and complete even without a man.
There are single mothers, who are adopting kids or having babies on their own.
Times are changing.
Women are working; they are getting out.
They are becoming more independent.
They are voicing their thoughts so yes, it is changing.
But the kind of women you are talking about, they are there in the society and you can't blame them.
It is who they are.
Maybe they are too under confident and they need the validation of a man in their life.
There is nothing wrong; it's their choice.
What did your husband Shyam Rajagopalan think of Black Widows?
You know, when I was offered Black Widows, I was so excited about the project.
I instantly said yes.
My husband was like, 'Arrey, who are you talking to, what's going on?'
So I was like, I have just said yes to a show and it's very exciting -- we three women kill our husbands!
He loved the show.
On the first night of its release, we binge watched it. We slept at 5 am because we had nothing to do the next day.
In Kehne Ko Humsafar Hain, you played the 'other woman' and in Black Widows, you played a woman who kills her husband to enjoy a life of freedom.
These roles would have had a different reaction on television, but thanks to the OTT, you can get away with them.
Yes, I am sure shows like these wouldn't even have come on television.
If someone had dared to make a show like this on TV, it wouldn't have lasted for more than four or five months because the TV audience is very massy.
You don't know where all the show reaches and they always want to show women in a positive light.
If you talk about Kehne Ko Humsafar Hain and me playing the other woman, if I was playing the same role on TV, I would have been made a villain, not a woman who is absolutely normal and has just incidentally fallen in love with a married man.
It would have been very complicated on TV.
I am enjoying this phase of the OTT platform.
Everybody is exploring, everybody is experimenting and people are coming up with great content.
There is always the pressure of motherhood if you have a late marriage. You chose to freeze your eggs but you keep saying that you are not ready for motherhood.
If you decide to have children late, will you get enough time with them since we are all aging?
We are all aging, yes.
When I wasn't married, people used to say the time is ticking, you should get married.
Now that I am married, they are saying the time is ticking, you should have a baby.
I never go by society norms.
I am leading my own life.
If God will bless me with a child, I will happily embrace it.
But right now, I am in no mood to have a child because we are going through this pandemic and once things open up and become normal again, I would like to travel with my husband because I still haven't done that.
I got married in December 2019 and the lockdown happened in March.
We wanted to go to Spain and France for our honeymoon.
The whole of January and February I was shooting for Laal Singh Chaddha so I never had the time.
You are getting good roles in films. Do you still feel TV actors are looked down upon simply because they don't get easy acceptance in Bollywood?
I have never thought like that.
I think there is immense respect for every actor in Mumbai, as long as you are willing to explore and experiment and wait patiently for the best role to come your way.
If you are in a hurry, if you are desperate and if you feel you are not getting work, may be you are not made for it.
I have never said I don't belong to TV or that I am quitting TV.
Today I am whatever I am is because of Jassi (Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin).
I got so much love, even Aamir sir told me during shooting of 3 Idiots, 'Oh you are Jassi right? You were so good. I have seen it.'
Shah Rukh sir came to Film City and said, 'My kids are your fans.'
So I don't know why TV actors feel that they are looked down upon.
I have never really tried for Bollywood.
Everything that I have got has come organically.
I have never hired a manager to pitch for me for movies.
You haven't done TV in the last four years. Do you think television has lost it when it comes to meaningful content?
It's a very long commitment.
I am scared of that so right now, I am exploring the OTT space.
You get to do so many different roles.
A show ends in three months and if it works, there will be seasons.
That's working out best for me.
The minute you commit to television, your three years are gone. During those three years, if you get any other offer, you can't take it up.
If a show is very different and challenging comes my way, I will definitely do it.