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On the celebrity route

Bipasha Basu has tasted success in modelling and acting. In a freewheeling chat this hot actress opens up on her life and future plans.



DUSK TO DAWN: Bipasha Basu believes in living life on her own terms. — Photo: K. Ramesh Babu

IN A short span of time Bipasha Basu has sizzled on the silver screen with élan. For this former ace model, films just happened by chance, but she has taken to acting as easily as ramp modelling.

Very much a part of Bollywood today, Bipasha is in the news for her role in Jism, a role considered rather daring by all standards.

But Bipasha is not bothered by all the unsavoury remarks and the ugly incident recently where she was almost harmed. She continues to go about her work unfazed, with aplomb. It required guts to do a role like Jism and Bipasha has oodles of it. On the sets of Rudraksh in Hyderabad, a film directed by Mani Shankar, Bipasha talks freely in between shots. Was it the uniqueness of the script that excited you? "Definitely it is one of its kind in Bollywood. It has never been made before. I really think Mani Shankar is an absolutely genius, intelligent and a well-read man," she says full of praise for Mani Shankar.

Bipasha's oeuvre displays varied roles - unconventional and unlike the stereotypical heroine. "Different is a badly abused term in the film industry but I really try to do different kinds of films. I always see myself as an audience, whether I will be able to see and enjoy this film and it's working in my favour till now. I don't think the audience wants to see the same thing again and again."

In Rudraksh Bipasha is a scientist working on paranormal activities in different countries before she comes to India. "She is in touch with Indian mythology, yet radical in thought. She has to understand everything on the basis of science. This film is a beautiful blend of spiritualism and science," she says.

Is she confident of its acceptance by the audience? "I think it will work beautifully. Our audience is intelligent. The film has an interesting concept."

On her preparation for the role she says, "Just talking to Mani Shankar is good enough. He's like two-three books put together. Working with him has been a pleasure."

After this experience with Mani Shankar Bipasha is game to act in any of his ventures.

Right at the beginning of her career Bipasha is acting with Amitabh Bachchan in Aitbaar (a Vikram Bhatt film) -- something every actress would dream of. But she is cool about this, though she admits it is a great honour "working with somebody who has been a legend in the film industry, who has done so well and given us beautiful films. You get to learn a lot from him. He is an institution of his own."

About 50 per cent of the film (slated for a Diwali release) is complete. How has the interaction with the Big B been? Has it been a learning experience for you?

"Yes, to an extent you get to learn a lot of discipline from him which everyone lacks in this industry."

Bipasha has quite a few films with Vikram Bhatt. Is there any reason for this? "I guess their sensibility matches with mine. I understand their kind of film-making and vice versa."

In fact her forthcoming releases with the Bhatts are Footpath (with Aftab Shivdasani) and Aitbaar where John Abraham is another co-star besides the Big B.

"Aitbaar is a love story with a thriller background. It is the story of a girl who has two possessive men in her life - her father and the lover."

Bipasha's transition from modelling to acting was quick and smooth. How does she view the transition? What motivates her to act?

"Films are a completely different industry. You cannot compare it with modelling at all. Acting gives you the scope of growing - growing beyond what you are because you play different characters all the time. You get to live a life of a character. It's the kind of growth which you cannot explain but it is an amazing industry to be in."

Bipasha set the big screen ablaze with Ajnabee. What drew her into acting? "I have been lucky. I was offered acting at a point of time when I was getting tired of modelling. I wanted to do something else. When I was offered I said why not? I started like that and I slowly got interested in it. With Raaz, the involvement was complete. Acting is something that excites me at the moment. I do not intend to do it all my life. I give myself maybe five-six years in the industry."

What would you do when you quit films? "May be open a restaurant as I wanted to before joining films. I am a foodie I like to provide people with a place where they would get value for money in terms of entertainment and food going hand-in-hand. I want to start a place like that in Mumbai."

She has never planned her life. "Whatever has happened in my life - from studies to modelling to acting happened by chance and luck. I don't know where I am going next."

Do you believe in destiny? "Yes, Hundred per cent." Surprisingly Bipasha is not interested in period film roles. "We have seen beautiful period cinema. We had one Devdas and now we have another. We are going to have another Mughal-e-Azam. To me it does not make sense doing the same film over and over again. In trying to recreate something, which is part of history. It can never overpower the first one. I don't think I see myself in a period film."

Rewinding about the incident where she was almost harmed, Bipasha feels the media blew up the issue. "Such things happen to woman everyday round the world. It was shocking that it can happen to you. It's like a violation. You don't want to be touched by anybody and you are. I guess any woman would feel like that. I wanted to beat up that guy. I broke down a bit but now it is all forgotten."

She, however vows, "hence forth I would not allow a man like that go off easily. Any woman should stand up and fight for it and give it back to these kind of men."

On living life as a celebrity Bipasha admits to being under scrutiny. "There are speculations and rumours. But I don't compromise and lead the life I lead before. I go to places I used to go but now with a bit of caution. I am basically an outdoor person - love to go for walking and long drives." Mumbai is a great place for celebrities "because people are absolutely non-interfering, not glamour-struck because they have seen every one all the time," she says.

For a girl who has lived life on her own terms (with her non-interfering parents who are of course a source of support) so far, is marriage on the cards? "Not for another five to six years," says this girl who has been compared to Sophia Loren by Sir Paul McCartney. Let us hope she is successful in whatever she does.

RADHIKA RAJAMANI

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