What is it like working with Mani Ratnam and Sanjay Leela Bhansali?
Aditi Rao Hydari confides in Subhash K Jha.
For an actress with no Bollywood connections -- unless you count her first cousin, director Kiran Rao, as one of them :) -- Aditi Rao Hydari has made fabulous headway.
How many actresses work simultaneously in Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Mani Ratnam movies?
Not that she is smug about this.
"There is so much more to do!" she sighs nursing a throbbing head and a clogged nose on a feverish afternoon.
"I agree working with Mani Sir and Sanjay Sir is every actor's dream come true. When I think of how much I've learned from them, my eyes well up," she says.
"I remember when I had come to Mumbai, I was this lost waif trying to find my way around, my best friend, who has remained my closest confidante over the years, asked me my wish-list of directors."
"I vividly remember I had mentioned three names: Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Mani Ratnam and Vishal Bhardwaj. I've already got two of those on my wish-list. Soon I hope to get Vishalji to direct me."
How different was the experience of working with the two stalwarts?
"Sanjay Sir and Mani Sir are very different creative artistes. They are a world apart in terms of treatment. My journey with both of them was very different," says Aditi.
"But the destination was the same. Perfection. Or as close as humanly possible to get there."
Aditi is now at home waiting for the crisis precipitated by premature protests against Padmavati in Jaipur to be resolved.
"What has happened is very distressful," she says. "Sanjay Sir is a true artiste and a responsible artiste. He would never do anything to hurt anyone's sentiments."
"It is sad that instead of granting an artiste of his calibre the freedom to fly, some try to clip his wings."