Bipasha Basu is synonymous with the word bold in Bollywood. Never afraid to speak her mind, the actor talks about her role in the upcoming Aatma, and her future plans
Rings on her fingers and a black thread wound around her wrist, Bipasha Basu readies for a tete-a-tete. She sips a strange combination — 7Up and lime! “My doc recommended this for food poisoning,” says the actress, looking dapper in a summer blouson, trousers and red peep toes. But the rings and black thread are just not her at all, so I begin by asking Bipasha ‘Why?’
“My mom. That’s all she’s asked of me. Ever. She believes wearing the rings will get me out of this phase of…whatever you may call it. As for the black thread, it has been tied around my wrist by the priests at the Kaale Hanuman temple in Jaipur where I had gone during Raaz 3. They thought there was an evil eye following me and did a puja to remove the nazar. I haven’t removed it because there is one superstition I have nursed after so many years in the industry. Of late, whenever I step out for a public appearance I fall sick. I am very healthy otherwise, but I’ve noticed this happening. Hence….” she explains, adding, “But I’ve told my mom, ‘any more rings and I’ll look like Ekta Kapoor!’”
Rule-breaker. Typecast. Written-off. One-half of a hot-looking couple. Bipasha has heard enough and more of this in the industry. She has never shied away from speaking about her personal relationships in public and has admitted to crying after her break-up. Yet, she has emerged a winner. A dozen years in Bollywood is no small task for someone who started out as a model and got labelled ‘sexy’ soon after. “I admit I sleepwalked through nine of those 12 years as I was in a relationship and was really spaced out. But, thinking about it, I wouldn’t have changed any of what I did. I believe this is a short-sighted business. It’s about whom you know, whom you please, and how. I am a nice girl but I don’t know how to please. I made bold a regular phenomenon around here. I agree that I got portrayed as either too ambitious or too powerful but I have had unusual roles since my debut. I don’t think regular suits me,” she says. “For example, I wouldn’t have liked to do Sonam (Kapoor)’s role in Players. I wouldn’t want to be just the good girl. I am quite bored of being my regular self in real life. This gives me a chance to be what I am not. It’s exaggerated and thrilling.”
For now, this dynamic woman plays an oppressed wife who has to fight her husband even after his death. Aatma (March 22) is the story of a mother who faces the daunting task of keeping the ghost of her husband from taking away their daughter to the dead. It’s an emotional horror film directed by Suparn Verma who has films such as Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena and Acid Factory to his credit. “That it was a supernatural was hardly exciting to me and I all but said no to Suparn. However, I let him have a narration and what compelled me to say yes was that I got to play a mother and that was the crux of the story. Nia (child artist Doyel Dhawan) was almost my baby during the shoot and I would totally pamper her. She would play games on my iPad, she would fall asleep in my arms, and I would spar with her. I’d say this film is very special not just because of all the hard work we’ve put in to make it but also because it made me realise that I’d be a great mother,” she smiles.
Bipasha says the emotional and violent scenes in the film were quite a challenge to handle. Nawazzudin Shaikh plays her tormenting husband and Bipasha had a breakdown on sets for a certain abusive scene. “Nawaz is a fabulous actor and I had told him not to hold back though he was a little worried about the scene which required him to hit Maya (her character) to the extreme. But after the scene was sealed, I couldn’t recover for 30 minutes. I knelt down in a corner as if I had actually undergone the trauma. I realised that women keep taking such abuse either because they have children to take care of or they are too much in love with their partner. But the battering my self-respect took that day was terrible; I couldn’t face my unit till my hair dresser and stylist took me to my room where I howled for half an hour. It was bad,” says the actress.
Next up, she has Vikram Bhatt’s ‘creature’ film on the floors. “It’s on the lines of Godzilla. It was earlier only a supernatural script but I told Vikram that I was tired of people asking me questions about working only in supernatural thrillers, so he suggested we do a creature film. It’s turned out very well and it’s called Creature,” she says.
Bipasha says that taking forward her ‘regular is not me’ profile, she is setting up a team of creative people to develop scripts and concepts for films. “I am not going the production way, instead something like a build-operate-transfer model. I will be able to talk about it a little later. That the concepts will be very unique is all I can promise,” she says.