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'The Dirty Picture is not a porn film'

Last updated on: November 24, 2011 18:51 IST

Image: A scene from The Dirty Picture
Patcy N in Mumbai

In the first part of the interview, Vidya Balan spoke about how her new film The Dirty Picture was inspired from Silk Smitha, a very bold actress of her time.

In the second part, she discusses her costars Naseeruddin Shah, Emraan Hashmi and Tusshar Kapoor, marriage, and much more.

Tell us about your experience of working with Naseeruddin Shah again after Ishqiya.

It was heart warming, especially while shooting Ooh La La. That was a new experience for both of us. He told me that he had left dancing for the last 20 years. The last was I guess Tirchi Topiwale (Tridev). Especially when we were dancing in the midst of oranges, that was hilarious. We were laughing like mad.

We had to roll down a slope. I have the greatest respect for all the actors who have done all that. It is not easy rolling down the slope. More than (getting) hurt, I could not control my laughter.

I have done all kind of silliness when I was dancing in this song -- dancing between pots, posing like old sculptures. We have grown seeing all this in old movies, but we never thought we would get a chance to do it.

Was it a tribute to Jeetendra and Sridevi?

Yeah, obviously. A tribute not only to Jeetendra and Sridevi, but to that era. All the songs that were picturised in the midst of pots, colours, dupattas, saris all that is clearly the 1980s... All the characters that I have played were simple. Sometimes I have had just one or two costume changes. But in this film I had 100 costume changes.

'Physically, this film has been exhausting and draining'

Image: A scene from The Dirty Picture
Which one did you enjoy more -- 100 costumes or just two?

I enjoyed this because I will not have to do this all the time. There were days when I have gone through seven to eight costumes. With them, there is make-up, hair. That's why not just emotionally, but physically this film has been exhausting and draining. It was also very exhilarating, because you will get the opportunity to do all these things only in such a film.

Which is your favorite costume in the film?

Undoubtedly, the red sari -- the sexiest outfit ever.

You do love your saris...

I love the sari, because like I said it celebrates the woman's body more than anything else. It adapts to any body. It does not mater if you are fat, thin, tall or short; it makes ever woman look like a woman. It celebrates the femininity and the sensuality.

'Naseeruddin Shah can make you believe that he is a flower vase'

Image: A scene from The Dirty Picture
How was it doing an intimate scene with Naseer? 

There are always fewer people on the sets when you are shooting such scenes. I knew that Milan was not the kind of person who would shoot it badly. I knew it was required for the story. I went into the film knowing what I was required to do. I have worked with Naseer sir before. He is a veteran, he is one of the living legends. You just feel absolutely comfortable. I had enough people to take care of me I was fine.

And the age difference did not matter?

No. When you are faced with an actor like Naseeruddin Shah he can make you believe that he is a flower vase. He is that brilliant an actor that you forget that he is Naseeruddin Shah.

You have worked with Amitabh Bachchan (Eklavya and Paa) and Naseer. Who do you think is better?

It is like asking whether your right eye is more important or your left one. (Laughs)
It is impossible to compare, but I think I am privileged because I got to work with both of them twice. I feel awkward saying this, but when people say who is your favourite actor, I am very tempted to say these two names. I have watched them all my life and when you wok with them you realise that they are so humble. It's unbelievable. That's the thing that continues to amazes me.

'I would like to kiss George Clooney'

Image: Poster of The Dirty Picture
How was it working with Emraan Hashmi and Tusshar Kapoor for the first time?

Initially, Emraan wouldn't talk too much. Once we did a few scenes together, we got along. But he is still a man of few words, so when we all were having fun and playing pranks, he is shy and keeps to himself. But the working experience has been good.

With Tusshar it is great fun. We pulled a prank on him even on the last day of his shoot. We were doing some patch work shoot. Milan told me to play the prank. He asked me to do the complete opposite of what I had to actually do in the scene, but the joke fell flat, because whatever I did or said Tusshar just said his dialogues, he didn't get affected by what I was doing at all.

As intense a director Milan is, he is also a prankster, he has worked a lot with Ajay Devgn. He is such a brilliant actor that I keep on telling him that I will direct him someday.

Who is the better kisser -- Emraan or Tusshar?

I would like to kiss George Clooney, that's all I know.

'Despite all the success and everything, Ekta is a girl by heart not a woman'

Image: Poster of The Dirty Picture
How was Ekta Kapoor as a producer?

She is fantastic, because her conviction is very strong. She is really the driving force behind The Dirty Picture, but more importantly, she respects Milan completely, she has completely faith in him. She never visited our set.

People speak about her temper....

She has been nice to me ever since Hum Paanch (Vidya's television debut) days. I have had a good relationship with her. I will only say that I have great admiration for her because she started off so young. She has written her own rules and it has worked. She has just done what she believes in.

How has she changed over the years?

Today when I see her I see that much more confidence in her. She had passion and now too. Despite all the success and everything, she is a girl by heart not a woman

'Kids nowadays watch more vulgar things on the Internet'

Image: Tusshar Kapoor, Vidya Balan, Emraan Hashmi at the music launch
People are calling this a porn film because of the title... 

First of all it is not a porn film. We kept the title The Dirty Picture because of the way we think about these dancing stars or sex symbols. We can't see these actors with the family. Our perception of them is that it's a dirty picture, but there is much beyond that is what you will see in the film.

We all enjoy seeing these type of films or women, but in front of others we will say, 'Chheee.' 

This is an adult film but promos are seen by kids at home...

It is an adult film and yes the promos are seen by all, but kids nowadays watch more vulgar things on the Internet. You have to teach children the sense of responsibility where they set their limits.

'Hopefully, I will get a chance to play a lady dacoit'

Image: A scene from The Dirty Picture
Have your parents seen the promos?

My mother could not recognise me. My sister and my brother-in-law, who are important critics (for me), paid me a very big compliment. My sister said, 'If you were awkward, it would have looked awkward, but you have done it with no fear, I am proud of you.' My dad never reacts after seeing any of my promos whether it is The Dirty Picture or Parineeta. Only after seeing the No One Killed Jessica promo he said it reminded him of how I looked in my college days.

Do you think this film will affect your image?

I am just playing a character. Thankfully, directors are coming to me with different kinds of roles. Hopefully, I will get a chance to play a lady dacoit

'In Kahani, I play a woman who is six months pregnant'

Image: Poster of The Dirty Picture
Your role in your next film, Kahani, is a complete contrast. How difficult was it for you to adapt? You were working in both films simultaneously?

That is why I became an actor -- to be able to play different people all the time. It is the madness in me that makes me happy by leading other peoples' lives. In Kahani, I play a woman who is six months pregnant... It is about a woman who has come down from London in search of her husband. It is a completely different zone.

Kahani is a thriller. It is a fast-paced film. I shot it in my favourite city, Kolkata, for two months. It was great fun. It is great when you are living one life and then you come out of it and are living someone completely different.

At the end of every film, I go through those pangs. I get a little sad because I live someone's life for so long and suddenly you know you will never ever be that person again unless there is a sequel.

'This is the first time I have depended on the director so much'

Image: A scene from The Dirty Picture
Do some characters disturb you in the end?

It is physically mentally and emotionally draining. I have to still learn to completely disconnect when I go back home. I get too involved in my character I think that is also one reason why I fell ill in between, but slowly I will learn that too.

During this film I fell ill it was not only about the character, but also about the schedule that we went through. 

Everything has been very elaborate. When I say I had 100 costumes, in this film it means I had to try each costume at least two to three times to know the make-up and hair. All that is also tiring. It is not just the shooting part of it. 

The preparation on this film has been very exhausting. They made almost 130 costumes, so the trial of all. Plus Milan is the kind of director who allows you your freedom once you enact the scene he will say you have interpreted it like that and then he will tell you what else you can do in it, so it is always a work in progress. It keeps evolving. You can't go on the sets and take things lightly. Milan gets into detailing; he is very dedicated and committed to what he is doing.

I have submitted myself to Milan to get through this film. I have worked with many good directors, but this is the first time I have depended on the director so much. Milan showed faith in me. He said, '30 percent I will tell you what to do but 70 percent I am leaving on to you.'

You rejected many films for The Dirty Picture...

I can't do all the films that come to me. I said no to Ghayal, too, because I had no dates up to December and they wanted to start the film immediately. So, I did not even take the narration. I was never part of Daayan.

'I am not ready for marriage'

Image: A scene from The Dirty Picture
What was the high point and low point in your life this year?

The low point was when was I took ill about a month ago. It was really bad. I didn't have any energy. I was completely exhausted. I was asked to take six weeks rest, but because I took complete rest for two weeks I could be back to work.
The high point was the birth of my niece and nephew, my sister had twins.

When are you planning to marry?

I am not ready for marriage, but I believe in the institution. So, someday I will be happy to get married.

What are your forthcoming films?

There is Kahani. After that I haven't signed anything. I will take a month's break and sleep in January.