Celebrity Interview: Aishwarya Rai

By IndiaFM News BureauimageWe hear you are playing a negative role in Dhoom 2, what was it like and what was the rationale behind taking on this role with negative shades.

Firstly all the talk on a lot of aspects of Dhoom and my character in the film. I guess assumptions are fine, because it definitely keeps the curiosity picking and the audience out there wondering, how much truth there is to it, so I am wondering whether at this point in time I should shed more light or let the audience go discover for themselves in the theatres. Speculation has been aplenty right from the time we starting filming, so it’s all a lot of assumptions. Slating or slotting the characters already I don’t think should be done, because I will not define my character as negative or positive for that matter because she’s a live wire in the film and with a character that’s just typically her, when you discover Sunehri you will find that she’s just a singular individual, it will take you a while to even figure her out and that was the idea in the way we agreed that I perform her, where you will not be able to slot her, she completely throws you. It was definitely exciting for me to discover and deliver Sunehri simply because in a given scene, while having relatively regular pieces of conversation within that its layered, in a single moment she’s striking a conversation, in a single moment she exudes excitement, almost hero worship to Mr A, in the next second she’s turning on an attitude and challenging him, almost reckoning to be an equal, so in that sense, just like Mr A takes the audience a while to figure out, so does Sunehri. So thereby when I say performing Sunehri was defined in my mind, this is what I mean by etching her out, that there were so many little little aspects that it felt very important in creating her in terms of content apart from of course the visual impact and that is something all the characters we all definitely focused on, as something we brought to the table as a team from director down to the stylist.

Did you do your stunts yourself? What was it like?

A couple of them, as would go with an action film and with safety first being the mantra always in every film set and that isn’t anything new, its common knowledge, within the film fraternity as well as the audience. But nevertheless a lot of the work was something that we as a team of actors and technicians did push ourselves for, to experience the adrenaline rush first person because that’s what makes it super exciting in terms of what you deliver and also in terms of what the audience gets to actually experience on screen when they see the artist/ actor in person, pushing themselves beyond the norm. The high point probably was actually at Orabi Gorge, where we had the jump, there’s this one moment where Hrithik’s character Aryan challenges Sunehri, (that’s me) in the film to jump, given the premise of the scene which when you see you will enjoy it, and she takes a beat and goes for it and so does he and you see a glimpse of that in the promos. That was a trip, it was an absolute high, and never in my life have I experienced just literally jumping off the edge, I had to actually do that, of course they looked after our safety, and there is a bungee that we are connected to in person as well, even in the moment on screen, but to actually do this literally just jumping straight foot first like off a diving board, was fantastic. Even when you are actually hauled up, just after a take, when you’ve spent it out there, it was, quite a moment for both Hrithik and me, because just next us, there was a trickle of a waterfall so we were actually seeing the water drops just literally going down in reality what visually we refer to as slow motion, literally the drops were going down forever.

This is your first film with Hrithik and Bipasha, how was the experience of working with them?

Superlative, I mean it really has been fantastic, fun just like the rest of the team, be it Abhishek, Uday, I think the fact that the 3 of them have known each other since childhood, they constantly share their anecdotes which just make you feel that you belong to those bunch of kids who went to those Birthday parties, or hung out in their schooling years, you just felt that you were part of the inner circle, because it was so wonderful to see them spontaneously and at the most unexpected moments, have a recollection and relive it, made you feel you were there as well and the brief moments that I got to share with Bipasha, I must say she’s a real cool girl, and I am glad we are a team on this film, all of us, because the camaraderie was genuine, the spirit was fab and the energy was about being team players, and that’s something that everybody brought to the table very professionally while on the job and aside it just kept the energy what it should be, on a film like this, very naturally. So we had a blast while making the film, solely zeroing on my specific co-star for the film, that is my pair that’s Hrithik, like he himself was saying that its great that he also had eased up a lot and he says that generally, not just from this film, we had a world tour and a commercial together and I guess both of us had been psyched by perception about being extremely professional, being very detailed, almost obsessive about our work, each of us had been told that about the other, but when we have worked together, I can safely say that, I think that’s a given. In any committed passionate professional would be that detailed for what they bring to the job, and I relate to that, so I don’t think there’s any need to make much ado about it. It’s fairly natural to work that hard or be that much of a perfectionist on the job.

What do you think of the music of Dhoom 2 as compared to Dhoom?

I would never make comparisons, because the fact is that Dhoom was a super success and it was a signature tune at that point in time, in every club, car, bikes, a raging success, and I am glad that Dhoom 2 was received with equal if not more responsive. It has been superlative again and very very positive, and I think it was very clever, to have the first promo go on air with KANK, it was very gratifying for the whole team to have received such a tremendous response, where the audience was already in Dhoom 2 while watching the movie! This is something we heard in first person, we all received it on text and as a team we were overjoyed. It was very very good to know that people were so looking forward to this film, with so much anticipation, we’ve had a blast making it, so we can’t wait to share it with our audiences.

Did you watch Dhoom and what did you think of the film?

It’s evident that because at that point it was definitely a cluster breaker. The identity is youth but I take it as just going by the success, they become family experiences that kids enjoy, parents go the entire family goes and they just have a good time, and you come away with an adrenaline rush. I sincerely believe that age is a state of the mind, even 20 years later I will say this. And everybody has been there done that or has aspired to be there do that and have all these experiences in person, if not, cinema is the perfect dream world, the closest thing to experiencing any moment in person. So it was good to know that Dhoom was well embraced, so when approached with the idea of Dhoom 2 touted as a sequel, but I always call it yet it is a brilliant idea, and Adi knew what he was doing when he came up with this idea, going by the response. We were very very happy to be on team, its really funny, how 20,000 ideas fly around within the team of course, about the next Dhoom and the next Dhoom, and the next Dhoom, so it obviously a very clever franchise. At the end of the day it’s a fab experience for the team as well as for the audiences. It’s like college will always be an experience everybody cherishes and the pulse and pace of this movie, is one that is universally enjoyed.

You have so many releases coming up, what makes Dhoom 2 special?

It’s definitely a first in my career and it’s interesting it’s happened in the 10th year of my film career. Of course that’s by choice, its not a moment if I may say so, a moment I have been waiting for to happen to me, in the sense that there have been offers to do roles in the western mode but I have been very choosy, very evident in the choice of films that I have done and made so far. This was a tough offer to resist, because I thought it was perfect, if this was what I wanted to bring on board, this was the perfect premise to do so. So in terms of playing an out and out westernized character, so obviously youth oriented and trendsetting, so obviously fashionable and fun, but at the same time racy, evidently hot and super cool, this was the perfect premise to do so, so yes I chose to project the way I never have before on this film, because I felt it seemed so natural and at ease and it went with the language of the film. If you do find Sunehri sexy at every given point, Sunehri just is, she isn’t someone who is working to turn it on in every frame, unless she needs to as a character, while interacting with another character. So I thought it was great where, wearing shorts or short skirts, dressing a certain way was just natural to the character, it wasn’t about trying to work it on celluloid. I don’t need to resort to tactics, to get attention, thank you very much, I have more than my fair share of it even in my saris! It’s not something I needed to explore for the sake of the apparent, it was a definite character created, and it’s just the language of the entire film and of all the characters. We have shot in Rio, where it was only natural to be dressed a certain way, we have shot in South Africa, yes also in Mumbai, but while interacting with the characters it’s all a natural progression of the celluloid theme. Hence the comfort level.

What was the best moment during the course of shooting the film?

The film as a whole, but like I say apart from the part of the absolute thrill of working on celluloid, I must confess, I thoroughly enjoyed the team, I enjoyed the gang, off-screen as well, because like I just shared with you earlier, that it was so nice that everybody was just being, it was the whole team. There were a lot of laughs, a lot of fun. There has been a lot of talk about the fitness regime, something that I only explored very honestly for a month to 5 weeks before we started the film, then it has only been my schedules throughout the last year, my different films I ‘ve been working on, I didn’t get a chance really focus on the fitness. So for all the talk in the media, this is the truth, it was just 4-5 weeks last year before we started. Then after making Guru, both Abhishek and me had to put on weight for Mani’s film, so we resumed the schedule, I suggested we take Deepika ( the fitness instructor) with us because we were doing the action part of the film, and whatever little bit we could do, which was barely 2 weeks, while filming, but the fun part was that everybody would be in the gym, I mean everybody not just the actors. And it was fun because while we would all try to get into a bit of a routine, I think we were just having so much fun hanging around, that we’d be just about that sincere and then the next plan to go out to dinner, which we would all do very happily and try and hold on to the myths that if I gorge now it will show 20 days later, so that we are on safe turf, it was like a college /road trip, I’d say this film, where while we were working in all sincerity but it was all so much fun, on set and after hours. I think that is by far the best memory the best is everything about D2 is fabulous while making it, but I think we’ve come away being really good friends, time and tide will be able to define the strength of the friendship but nevertheless it definitely went beyond being co-stars, and its something that I really cherish and hold dear to my heart.

How did you enjoy shooting on location in South Africa and a message for your fans there?

South Africa incidentally has a home turf kind of significance in my life, because yes, I did win my title in Sun City of Johannesburg, and I have been there a couple of times, not that often, but a couple of times, my work took me back there, to Cape Town to film Dil Ka Rishta extensively which was again a family experience, so my memories are very very warm, and people have been extremely loving and its something that a lot of my film fraternity really cherish and enjoy with the people of South Africa. Even the year I was giving up the title, when Amitji was on board the panel of the jury, at the pageant, it was overwhelming to see the strength with which our people had descended to Sun City and the applause that he was rendered just took the entire pageant’s breath away because it was so good to see, and such an awakening to the rest of the world to recognize, how passionate our people are about our cinema, and the members of our film fraternity, and the love that they are so generous with. Hence I personally share a very warm bond with our audience out there and I can just extend a heartfelt thank you, for their love and blessings and good wishes all through my career and it was great fun now coming back there and shooting for Dhoom 2, a fun experience for us and again with a lot of very fond memories, I am glad that every time I have come there and worked or filmed, or participated in a pageant, I have come away with super success and a lot of love and great memories, so I guess that’s a good sign.

Did you do any kind of special preparation for this role?

Like I said one was the visual was very imperative, as a pre- requisite, its something we as a team agreed we definitely would work on, as I do work on every film, here it zeroed in on the physical appearance in terms of fitness, and it was a body language and a body type that I hadn’t brought to celluloid before, and since I was going to dress a certain way, I needed to just be the person who wore those clothes, very naturally and not because it was an element of worked on excitement, I am glad that it has turned out exciting, that wasn’t the reason for the costume. People who have well toned bodies as we look around, naturally dress a certain way, when you’ve really worked on your midriff you see that they are happy to wear shorter tops, when you have worked on your legs, they naturally wear short skirts, not because they need to show their legs but they feel natural and comfortable in it. So that was a body type that I was determined to work on, and I was very glad to discover that the first time in my life that I have got down to working out, my body responds very quickly and its very reassuring to know that, so with a little bit of focused time and work it was good to know that we can achieve it, and bring that on board. In terms of the styling, working with Anaita, whom I worked with several times in my career specially in my modeling world, or in the fashion magazine assignments, we’ve worked many times before, so she knows me, my body type, my aesthetics, my comfort, and so we worked on it together very easily and she’s done a fantastic job, because that’s what again people right from on the set and now the audience have begun to identify. The clothing feels like me, it feels natural even if it means seeing me for the first time in the western mould. It doesn’t seem uncomfortable, it doesn’t seem unnatural, and that’s something Anaita knows about me, so we worked on it together and arrived at Sunehri. We decided that we would go with a different hand in terms of makeup and hair styling because that again would bring a newness to board, so I worked with Subbu who also I have known from my advertising, and modeling experience, though this was the first film we were working on together. So we did one day of a look shoot as in a test with my dear friend Farooque and once we arrived at Sunehri, there she was bang on ready to go on set. Obviously the final verdict is the nod from Adi, it was fun to arrive at her in terms of the visual. In terms of preparation to characterization, we were clear again as a team as I said before that we would create a character, while we knew that the visual would be the initial head turner, we needed to create someone who would be, specifically a character from this franchise. Also it has worked out really well, fortunately or coincidentally that currently I am having so many different releases, Umrao Jaan, Dhoom 2 and Guru, and ahead there’s Provoked and Last Legion, it’s great that not only visually we have arrived at a specific character, but also in terms of her mannerisms her personality is very very specific and can be identified as someone who belongs solely to this film.

What next? Can we expect to see you doing some more action films in the international front?

Well I started in fact just pre Dhoom 2 I made Last Legion, which was definitely action not contemporary though and I experienced sword fighting and I am a warrior in that film, so I completed that movie before I started Dhoom, so that would technically be my first experience in the action genre, but it wasn’t in the contemporary times, so I am glad that within the year, between last year and now, I have actually got through and tasted action spectrum in Roman times and contemporary biker times and its been a lot of fun, its been a huge adrenaline rush, exactly what I was looking forward to and like I tease I have tasted blood, I can’t wait to have more such experiences because they are really fulfilling and it’s a rush that can’t be explained, but it’s a definite high, that’s the most fantastic part of our job, because we get to experience which probably people just think or dream about, and irrespective of what point in time of your life, to what space you are physically in, where you are, it could from the ridiculous to the superlative in excitement, but the fact is we get to experience life through our film making and I think that’s a blessing.


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