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Bipasha: I do not want to be an accessory in a film any more

Last updated on: March 21, 2013 18:30 IST

Image: Bipasha Basu
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar Patcy N, Ronjita Kulkarni in Mumbai, New Delhi

'I want to do films in which I have something to do. Aatma was the best role I got.'

Bipasha Basu gets candid about her new film, and the woman that she is.

Bipasha Basu is one of the friendliest actresses in the film industry.

Even when she's having a bad day -- it certainly was a very tiring day for the actress, who spent an entire day giving endless interviews and promoting her film Aatma, which releases today, at the Westin hotel in Gurgaon -- Bipasha makes sure to flash a warm smile and offer you a drink (in this case, green tea).

When a staffer tries to empty a packet of sugar into her green tea without asking her first, she doesn't throw a tantrum. She politely waves her hand and says, 'Thank you' and then good-naturedly, rolls her eyes at me.

When Patcy N met up with her earlier -- at the Taj Lands End hotel in Mumbai -- Bipasha chatted happily, admired Patcy's multiple earrings while lamenting about her navel piercing that had caused her much pain when it was done ("I blacked out because of the pain!").

Bipasha gets candid about Aatma, and the woman that she is, with Patcy N and Ronjita Kulkarni, in interviews held in different cities, and at different times.

What is this fascination with horror movies?

There is no fascination. I am just fascinated by a good film and a great role. I do not want to be an accessory in a film any more.

I want to do films in which I have something to do. It just happened that this was the best role I got.

The others were very frivolous; I just had to look pretty. I've done that for 13 years, and don't want to do it again.

I may do it after a break, but now I want to do something more content-driven.



'I don't like darkness'

Image: Bipasha Basu and Doyel Dhawan, who plays her daughter, in Suparn Verma's Aatma

What made you sign Aatma?

The story. The human drama is fantastic.

And I liked the fact that I get to play a mother in the film.

The beautiful relationship between a mother and a daughter, the dysfunctional marriage, the beautiful relationship between a father and a daughter... it is a very beautifully written film, where the emotions are very strong.

Does shooting a horror film affect your mind? Do you get scared of dark rooms for the next few days?

I am anyways scared of dark rooms. I don't like darkness; I can't sleep alone in a room. I always share my room with my hairstylist when I am on outdoor shoot.

I never stay alone. I am a people's person and don't like to venture out in the dark alone.

It gets worse when I am shooting for such films. During Raaz 3, I didn't sleep on any night.

During the Aatma shoot, I did sleep, but during these promotions, I am not getting sleep because I am speaking all the time about all these things!

So now I am very scared!



'I didn't want anyone to see my face, I was so humiliated'

Image: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Doyel Dhawan and Bipasha Basu in Aatma

Apparently, you were traumatised after shooting a scene of domestic violence in Aatma where Nawazuddin Siddiqui beats you up.

Is that true?

My character is in love with a man, and she marries him. But then he starts beating her up.

It's a very humiliating experience.

The scene was so intense it reached a level where it became very real. It became so real that when Suparn (Verma, the director) called 'cut', I was still on the floor howling!

I didn't want anyone to see my face, I was so humiliated. I just wanted everyone to go away, and they left.

I cried for half an hour. Then my make-up artist and hairstylist took me to a room where I cried some more.

I thought to myself there are so many women in the world who are in these abusive relationships, women of power, strong women, women with individuality, who, in the name of love, get into these relationships and give these devils love and then get this back in return.

It stirs you up as a woman.

Have you been traumatised earlier while doing a scene?

In Raaz 3, Emraan Hashmi's character abuses me, pushes me and tells me that I will be nobody and will be reduced to zero. Then he leaves me.

I was supposed to cry, but I started laughing loudly and in such an evil way! They cut the scene. But after that, I started crying because my character was so evil that I couldn't deal with it!

I just wanted the film (Raaz 3) to get over!



'My first eerie moment....'

Image: Bipasha Basu and Doyel Dhawan in Aatma

We've heard of eerie incidents occurring on the sets of horror films.

Have you encountered such incidents on the sets of your other films?

My first eerie moment happened on the sets of Gunaah, and that was not a horror film.

We were shooting on the top floor of Mukesh Mills (in Colaba, South Mumbai). I was a new actress then and had no idea that it was supposedly haunted.

I had to say a long monologue and move from one room to another. I knew my dialogues thoroughly, as I am very good with dialogues. But as soon as I would start to say my lines, I would suddenly forget them.

Also, I wasn't able to walk ahead. I tried it about eight or 10 times.

Then the caretaker of Mukesh Mills told the director to take me down and tie my hair. I was sent down and they got some baba to come over and give me some water. I had it and immediately fell asleep.

Later, my hairstylist told me that one of Saroj Khan's dancers had been possessed in the same room a month ago, and she later died.

I never went to Mukesh Mills again.

You always make an effort to know the names of the people you work with, and then remember them. Why is that so important for you?

They become your family for the next 60 or so days, so it's important to like them. If you are cold, you will never connect with them.

I am a people's person, so I like to chat with people. The only time I don't talk is when I'm doing emotional scenes.

I have a very simple technique. The world can go upside down, but I put on my headphones and listen to Creed (the American rock band). I just listen to them and get disconnected from the world.



'Oh, Suparn is insane!'

Image: Director Suparn Verma and Bipasha Basu

How was it working with director Suparn Verma?

Oh, he is insane! He is mad, but he has a big heart. He is a good guy, you can see that by the way he handles Doyel (the child artist in Aatma).

He is so patient with her. I have seen people deal with children on the sets, and it's not always good.

What I like about Suparn is he will hug me and also a spot boy. In that way, we are very like-minded, we don't treat people differently. We treat everyone equally.

You have been making movies and then promoting them. When was the last time you took a break?

I took a break on my birthday in January. I went to Goa for three days and four nights and had a blast.

I don't think I need too many breaks. For me, life isn't just about working. For the last seven years, I've done only three films a year.

After Aatma, I am only doing one film -- Vikram Bhatt's Creature.

So I get time to myself, for my passion, my family, everything. I balance it well.



'The concept of Saturdays and Sundays doesn't exist for me'

Image: Bipasha Basu, her close friends Deanne Pandey and Rocky S with other friends
Photographs: Rocky S/Twitter

So, what's a star's life like?

We don't have weekends. I don't even understand the concept.

On my Blackberry, my friends' statuses scream out 'weekend is coming' and they cry about Mondays. We don't have that system.

From the time I've been 16, I've been working on dates. If someone tells me let's meet on Thursday, I don't know what day it is. I ask them to tell me what date they want to meet.

The concept of Saturdays and Sundays doesn't exist for me.

The concept of Friday exists for me only when my film is releasing on that day. That's the only Saturday-Sunday you remember!

How do you spend your holidays?

I wake up and have a leisurely work-out in the gym for about one-and-a-half hours because I don't get that kind of time otherwise.

I go to the spa, catch lunch with my girlfriends or go for a film...I have 100 friends! I'm like a friendly ghost!

Everyone is my friend. I have so many groups of friends. So when it's my day off, I have to see how many people I can meet in a day. My off days are very demanding!



'I'm very comfortable with my image'

Image: Bipasha Basu in Jism

You play a mother in Aatma. Are you trying to change your hot image, and become de-glam

I've done enough de-glam and art-house kind of films in the last 13 years. I have never done anything with the thought of changing my image.

I do a film because I like the story.

I'm very comfortable with my image. People understand what kind of woman I am. They respect me for who I am.

In my last film (Raaz 3), I played an actress whose career is getting over, and she resorts to black magic to restore her career.

If it's a question of image, I don't think any actress would have played that role.

I don't plan my career. When I did Jism, people told me it was suicidal, that it was too adult and bold because I was playing a negative role.

My then manager told me you can get any film in the market, but you want to do an adult film. He told me I didn't have sense. I just told him to relax.



'People should write female characters with more depth'

Image: Bipasha Basu
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar

Did you watch Jism 2?

I didn't. It's a different film. The film that I did is done, it got its recognition, and now someone else is doing a different film.

Did you feel bad when it was offered to Sunny Leone, not you?

They did offer it to me, but my priorities were different then and now.

Are you deliberately choosing strong, women-oriented films these days?

People should write female characters with more depth -- they are so shallow and frivolous.

You have to look good, sing songs, be there for the guy -- it's like a support structure.

Women have a lot more intensity than that. In a society, where women are so integral a part, I wonder why that reflection doesn't come through.