Phoonk De seems like another Beedi in your career. Did you expect it to turn out like this?
See, Beedi wasn't an instant hit. I had no inkling that it'll become so huge. In contrast Phoonk De in No Smoking is more of a mood song. It is not a dance number like Beedi. It's more sensual and dulcet. I like to listen to it when I'm driving. But the response for this song has been more immediate. I can sense that from the number of messages on my phone. And what's interesting is that it's not even my film. I think the combined talents of John and me, Vishal Bharadwaj's music, Rekha Bharadwaj's voice and Gulzar saab's lyrics has made the song a great package. And I'm very glad for it. For someone who was termed as a non- dancer you've managed quite a few dancing hits to your name right from Mehbooba Mehbooba, No Entry, Beedi to now Phoonk De . Interesting?
It's fascinating actually. I've always maintained that I'm not a trained dancer. Sure, I've rhythm. But my dancing knowledge was restricted to dancing in a discotheque. It's really amazing that I've managed all these dancing numbers. You know a funny thing happened recently. I decided to join a dance class to learn a bit of jazz and salsa. I was amazed to see that in these dance classes Bollywood dancing is so popular. All my friends wanted to learn what I do on screen. So I decided against it. As for the dancing hits, they have all fallen in my lap.
That's how you explain your acting career also, don't you?
Yes I agree. I know that I'm hardworking but I'm not desperate. I've never gone to any extreme lengths to get a role. If something isn't working for me then I'm quite capable of trying out something new and intelligent. I know it's an insecure industry but thankfully I'm made differently. I feel very comfortable with the highs and the lows of my profession. I know that I've my own niche and I'm not competing with anyone. Every year magazines come up with these number games. I admit that I glance at the numbers but it doesn't affect me if I go down a couple of numbers.
So you don't want to be the No. 1 heroine?
I might feel good if somebody puts me at No. 1. But otherwise also I don't feel bad. Work is not the be all and end all of my life. I'm quite passionate about my work but I'm not desperate.
Apparently you were offered the female lead in No Smoking , why didn't you do it?
I would've done it if I were offered John's part.
Speaking of John Abraham with whom you're positively sizzling in the song, what's the raaz of the chemistry?
(Laughs) Yeah well even I think we look good together. I think that's because John and me have interesting features and bodies. There's also the comfort factor. But I must tell you that in Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal our chemistry is totally different. Instead of oomphy and sexy we'll come across as sweet and cute. These words have never been associated with John and me so I'm excited to see how the audience reacts to us.
The buzz is that you've gone deglam for Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal ?
I don't know how to interpret the word deglam. It conjures up images of a servant in oily plats. I haven't gone non-glam for the film. It's just that since I'm playing a medical student I'm not OTT glam. She's in a ponytail with her chashma and most of the times she's attired in track pants and jackets. Since the character is not glam I had to play her like that unlike Race where from frame one I'm dripping fashion since I play a model in the film.
Is it true that you experienced racism in London during Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal shoot?
Well let me first say that I never experienced racism before this one time when we were shooting at a signal in Southall. Arshad (Warsi) and me were standing when two boys started rapping a really disgusting racist song. They went away in a jiffy but we heard the song. After the incident I understood that racism is indeed prevalent. It'll be foolish to deny it. If you speak to Asians living abroad they'll all say that they get different treatment. Racism is a subplot in Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal . It needs to be discussed since it is relevant.
Is it true that you had a massive showdown with Arshad Warsi on the sets of Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal?
The whole thing has been blown out of proportion. It's just that Arshad reported five hours late for shooting and we couldn't reach him. He had a genuine problem since his driver hadn't come. I had just flown in from Durban but I was ready at seven in the morning. I waited for five hours. My issue was with the unit that if Arshad is running late then as a co actor I should have been informed. God knows why this has been made into such a big deal.
But John and Arshad didn't get along?
See every actor has his own point of view of doing a scene. John and Arshad had many discussions while shooting. I think it's great since it helped in clearing a lot of loopholes in the script. There was never any viciousness between them. Ditto for Arshad and me. At the end of the day I want to work with good actors and Arshad is a fantastic actor. On top of it, I'm very fond of his wife Maria and son Zeke. There is no war between us.
Speaking of Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, are you a sporty person?
Yes I'm quite athletic and sporty. But I don't play football; I just watch it on television. I used to play basketball in school. These days I'm learning boxing without the kicking. I can't kick too much since I have weak knees. Other than that I do a lot of gymming and spinning.
So are you acting in Ben Kingsley's film?
Well it's not yet on the dotted line but we've spoken about it. By word of mouth, it's on. The scripting will take two more months. Nothing will happen before September next year on the shooting front.
So you will be playing Aishwarya Rai's daughter in the film?
Yeah since she is Mumtaz Mahal and I'm playing Jahan Ara. But we don't share any reel time space since my role begins after she dies in the film.
In the last couple of months a lot of stuff was reported about your personal life. Things seem to have settled now?
I'm not really thinking about it deeply since it might start all over again. My break ups, hook ups and patch ups all depend on media's mood. This has been going on for the last two years. Really I don't care about it anymore. As long as they link me with handsome men, I'm ok. I pity John though. The poor thing is linked with all kind of girls. It's as if he has no taste and preference in women.
Recently you made a statement with some pretty smart choice of words. You said, "I'm single till I get married." Care to elaborate on it?
Yeah it's pretty smart of me, isn't it? I was so fed up of answering the same question again and again so I said it. See, I believe in the institution of marriage. As a person I give maximum priority and value to relationships. I'm very clear that the relationship I value the most will get to marriage and I'll talk about it only when that happens.