By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service
Mumbai, Aug 17 (IANS) Director Vishal Bharadwaj has a knack for
making all his actors look completely different on screen. His film
"Omkara" is no different.
Ajay Devgan, Kareena Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Konkona SenSharma and
Bipasha Basu are seen speaking, behaving and acting differently in the
Bipasha, who had two sizzling item songs in "Omkara", was very
"The first day when I went on the set to perform the 'Bidee jalai
le' song in 'Omkara', I saw the crowd, I panicked and ran away,"
Bipasha, who was harassed by two organisers in New Jersey where she was
invited to take part in Independence Day celebrations, told IANS.
"I had never seen so many unshaven, unkempt and lecherous men in a
crowded sweaty place. When I saw what I had got myself into, I got
really scared. And let me say I don't get easily scared.
"On top of it all, Saif came up to me and whispered, 'Are
you...like... scared? Don't worry. You just dance. We'll take care of
you. If anything happens just tell us.' But once I started to dance, it
was okay. Later, I came to know they were all fine actors. They had
been preparing for the dirty Uttar Pradesh bhaiya look for weeks."
Bipasha is amazed at the authenticity of the presentation of
"Omkara", a film based on Shakespeare's "Othello". Though she has
earlier done a realistic film - Prakash Jha's "Apaharan" about crime in
the cow-belt - she wasn't really an integral part of the drama
"Doing item songs can get very boring. But the ones in 'Omkara' are
special. I've the highest regard for Vishal. Even being cast in a small
part in his cinema is an honour. Space wise I've a small role in
'Omkara' but the projection is amazing.
"I really like one thing about myself. I really try to look and
behave like the character I play. And no matter how small my part,
everyone tells me I'm convincing. As an actor that's the biggest
compliment I can get."
Bipasha is frank enough to admit "Omkara" isn't quite her film.
"It's definitely about the Ajay-Kareena love story. My character
Billo started off as a special appearance. My character is relevant to
the story. People who have seen the film have enjoyed Billo. There's a
lot of entertainment value attached to my character. Billo is loud,
aggressive and fun while everyone in the plot is serious."
She's the spot of sunshine in the dark drama.
"'Omkara' is a serious film. I provide the light moments. When
Vishal narrated the role to me, I told him it sounded like a special
appearance. I was so thrilled when he told me that the first member of
the cast that came to his mind was me as Billo.
"I must say Vishal has great vision. Whenever a dancer's role comes
to me, I get the coldest feet in the world. It's quite crazy. But my
mind-blocks have gone."
Bipasha chuckles when she recalls shooting the "Namak" item-
"That's my favourite among my two item songs. Looking at the number
you wouldn't think it was that tough. But when I heard the song, it
sounded difficult. And to lip-sync Rekha Bharadwaj's intricate
rendition was doubly tough.
"On top of that they got a dance-guruji Bhushan Lakhandri instead of
a routine choreographer to do the number. I fainted. I thought he'd
expect me to be as trained and skilled in dancing as Madhuri Dixit or
Aishwarya Rai. The only dancing I knew was going mad in a disco."
"I did it without any training whatsoever. But in spite of my
reservations Bhushanji and Vishal had faith in me. I pulled it