Tall, talented, gorgeous Pooja Batra, also an ex Miss India Asia-Pacific, as a model she has done more than 250 events and endorsements way back in 90s. Her claim to fame was with Anil Kapoor, Tabu starrer VIRASAT. Post that she did quite a few films in Bollywood and later moved to LA. She has also done a Hollywood film ONE UNDER THE SUN which was screened at Cannes film festival last year in which she played an astronaut. The lanky actress also did few Punjabi and South Indian films.
And now she is back in Bollywood with upcoming psychological thriller MIRROR GAMES, wherein she essays the role of a psychologist.
In an exclusive candid conversation, Pooja spoke at length about her journey in Bollywood, her regrets, her take on relationships and why she will not do any bold scenes in Bollywood. She also spilled beans about her deepest secrets.
Excerpts of the interview:
What inspired you to take up acting?
I have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), which half of the world has it. If I watch a movie, I get inspired and it stays in my mind for 15 days. I think that’s how I got drawn towards acting.
After a hiatus you will be seen in a Bollywood movie MIRROR GAMES. Comment
Yes, I am back with MIRROR GAMES and I play a police psychologist for which I did a lot of therapy sessions which I was going through in my real life as well. It’s just that I don’t stay here but I have done a Punjabi movie in the past, a Hollywood movie ONE UNDER THE SUN wherein I have played an astronaut, who goes to Mars and comes back to earth with super powers. As my comeback film is releasing soon, I am actually both excited and nervous for the movie.
As you are back, how has Bollywood evolved according to you. What changes you are witnessing?
Bollywood has changed there is a huge shift as new actors, new directors, new people are coming in. You just can’t see the old people now. The content is really great nowadays. I have worked with Varun Dhawan and trust me the new breed of actors and cinema are brilliant.
How has your Bollywood journey been so far?
It started off very well. I wanted a better role, a better production house, a better director, some more roles like, Anita in VIRASAT, a substantial role which I see now. I left films when my career was going good. I believe had I stuck around, things would have been different. I have learnt from the experiences. You are supposed to go through various aspects. I opted for what majority of Hollywood stars do. I went through a normal life and shifted my base to a different country. Despite staying in LA, I have a strong base in Bollywood and Hollywood. Had I stayed here things would have been different for me.
Why are you so picky and choosy about roles?
After VIRASAT I became typecast, same kinds of roles were being offered to me. I wasn’t happy with the roles. Life took over, and I took a break, I want to do roles that I haven’t done before. An actor’s job is to portray real characters. I wanted to do roles like Anita in VIRASAT, Priyanka Chopra’s role in MARY KOM, but back then such scripts weren’t written.
Do you regret any thing in your life?
Everyone has regrets, so do I. There are certain decisions that I have made and also a phase of my life. But things happen for the best.
How do you plan your career now?
I live by the day. I don’t think much and I am hoping good roles come my way.
What do you consider while taking up a project?
There are three major aspects on the basis of which I select a film and it’s – script, script and only script. And then comes certain variables like co-actors, directors and distributors.
How important is socializing in parties to get the right film?
You have to be seen at the right party and by the right people and be pretentious.
Are you comfortable doing bold scenes.
I don’t want to do a bold scene in India. A film like HATE STORY 3 is not what I call a bold movie; but a film like BOYS DON’T CRY is what I call a bold film.
What kinds of roles you are eyeing at?
I would love to do a film based on the life of Rani of Jhansi. I believe I have that look of hers, and I am intrigued to action as I am a green belt.
The trend of biopic is here, which actor you think is suitable if a biopic is made on you?
Alia Bhatt can play me in my biopic.
What is important for you being a great actor or a huge star?
Both are equally important. People appreciate your acting and more and more people see you both these add value to the success of an actor’s life.
Do you think male actors are paid more than female actors?
There has been a disparity always. It has been by and large a male-dominated industry.
Had you not been an actor what would you be?
I had got a call for Indian Air force for female Pilot profile. I was selected and I had to join, wearing those white canvas shoes and with that long list of things that I had to do, simultaneously I was modeling and doing movies. When I weighed the two glamour quotients, I found myself interested in films. But it wasn’t easy to convince my family initially and I wasn’t comfortable doing it.
Being in this industry, every actor needs to be fit. What’s your fitness regime?
I like exercising and I am an active person as LA is a hike centric city I love it the most. I am training in MMA. Apart from being a fit person, I am also a very good cook.
As you have gone through a lot in personal life, what is your take on relationships now?
I have no relationship advice to give to anyone. I can just say go with the flow, everyone has their own journey. I believe relationships are individualistic.
Define Pooja Batra in one word?
What are your upcoming projects?
I have lent my voice for a documentary which talks about sex and human trafficking.