Ileana D'Cruz: Not Ajay but Kajol is my favourite actor

Ileana D’Cruz has been a star in Tollywood. Before she made her mark in Bollywood, Ileana has done films in various genres - be it comedy, grey shades or a loud character she has been seen in movies like, BARFI, PHATA POSTER NIKHLA HERO, MAIN TERA HERO, RUSTOM, HAPPY ENDING, BAADSHAHO, MUBARAKAN and now she will be seen in RAID with Ajay Devgn.

She has transformed from glam to de-glam roles with easem looks perfect and is not seen in many Bollywood parties. In fact, she is more of a family person in real life.

In conversation with Ileana D’Cruz as she speaks about her choice of films, and shares how she is delighted to work with Ajay Devgn, she also spoke why she isn’t seen in Tollywood films now

Excerpts from the interview!

This is the second time you are working with Ajay Devgn, has the chemistry been better?

Yes, this is the second time I am paired opposite him and I am blessed as he is an easy going actor. He keeps saying he’s a very lazy actor but I don’t think that as he comes on the sets, does his lines smoothly and I just wonder how does it do it so well. I think it has a lot to do with experience as well. We’ve become friends from the first time we met and we respect each other as actors.

You had a beautiful song ‘Rashke Qamar’, which became immensely popular picturized in BAADSHAHO and now two songs in RAID, how does it feel?

I love ‘Saanu Ek Pal’, it’s one of my favourites. The filming part of these songs is really funny because Ajay and I are like buddies and doing these romantic scenes were comical to us. I used to burst out laughing saying do we really need to do this. It was fun shooting too though with essence of romance in the 80s. In general too romancing onscreen is very tricky. We were shooting ‘Nit Khair’ in front of so many people and huge crowds so it was funny romancing in front of them all. There was this one shot where I trip and he catches me, I didn’t know how to trip convincingly but overall we managed to do justice (laughs).

Have you watched Ajay’s film in the past?

Yes, not many but, I am a huge fan of Kajol and have watched KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI, PYAR TOH HONA HI THA and more. I like Ajay and Kajol as a couple they look beautiful together. I have even told Ajay that Kajol is my favourite actor.

You always give your insights for the costume you wear in movies, did you do it in RAID as well?

The stylist of the film wanted me to look like Rekha ji in the 80s. It’s a simple quintessential Bollywood look with open hairs, salwar suit and low key night suits. I did have some of my inputs for costumes in RAID. I don’t play a sati savitri girl, but yes a strong women who supports her husband.

After entering Bollywood, have you said a goodbye to films down south?

After doing BARFI, the offers from south slowed down and I don’t know why? I remember going to Hyderabad for an event and there I asked my colleagues as to what was going on and why wasn’t I being offered any film. I was told they thought now I wouldn’t want to do any Tollywood films. After that communication I got a lot of offers again but I haven’t liked anything that I was getting. I was looking forward to doing a film recently with an old co-star down south but I just didn’t like the story. I’ve had a big stand there and I think I just can’t do any film. The film should have to be good.

Tollywood is known for its other side which casts women only for the face and there are no prominent roles for them, what do you have to say about that?

This is a problem with every industry. Even in Hollywood, JUMANJI was questioned by a director for having its female star cast wear mini shorts in a film based out in a jungle where the men were fully clothed. Objectification happens all over, it has to be your individual choice to decide if you want to be a part of it or not. I have done roles where I have been objectified, no doubt. My waistline used to be zoomed at and I never understood it. I was a gawky teenager back then and didn’t felt attractive. I could be referred to as the sidekick of a popular girl. So for me to be objectified was very odd.

Are you satisfied with your work as an actor?

I don’t know how people look at me. I definitely know that I’m a different actor. I’ve been told this by most people I’ve worked with. Even Arjun (Kapoor) said that I’m very committed on set but the minute I’m off set I’m off the grid. I am more of a family person; I would always be a family girl first then comes career. Lots of actresses prefer to be in the Bollywood circle but I have my family all over the world so I keep traveling. I balance that out. Family will always be priority for me.

What kind of roles would you like to do?

I would now like to do a really glamorous role but I don’t think I’m too fit for it. I want to do a very heroine centric film. I have to blame it on Raj (Kumar Gupta – director) though because he used to tell me why I don’t do such films considering I’m such a good actor so it used to give me a boost. I have three such heroine centric offers and I am looking keenly at one. I would love to do the remake of Sridevi’s CHAALBAAZ. I was in shock when I found out about her demise. My first reaction was that it was a really stupid joke. I couldn’t believe she could be no more. I was upset about the way it was splashed in the media. It was so insensitive. Last time I was at a funeral was of Priyanka’s (Chopra) father, I started crying because I couldn’t imagine what she must have been feeling. And I can’t imagine what Sridevi ji’s family must be going through. For us she was a huge star, but for them she was a mother and a wife. They just have to read about her everywhere they go and deal with it. They should be left in privacy out of respect. The show goes on but the family will remain affected.

What kind of films do you like watching?

I like animated films. They’re so chilled out. I love to watch comedy films as well.

Did you ever feel bad that you declined a film?

I don’t regret refusing a film. There was this film that I wanted to do but I was replaced and the film ranked and I thanked my stars. But the film was good. (Laughs)

Still from RAID: Ajay Devgn and Ileana D\' Cruz
Still from RAID: Ajay Devgn and Ileana D\' Cruz