Marathon woman

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How did you land your role in Hello?

I had read the book One Night @ The Call Center and I heard that Atul Agnihotri was making a film on it. So I went to meet him. He offered me Radhika’s part. In my usual impulsive manner I told him ‘Sorry, Radhika’s character doesn’t excite me. However, I can see myself as Priyanka.’ Atul took a split second and said, ‘Fine; if you are so convinced then I am convinced too’.

What was so interesting about this character?

Priyanka is a multi-dimensional character. She is very much a girl of today. She is very grey. She is faced by the dilemma of making a choice between love and a stable future. Priyanka is the most interesting and complex character I have done by far.

The film has a lovemaking scene between Sharman and you…

That’s not a first for me. I have had a lovemaking scene in every single film of mine. I am not one of those actresses who makes a noise about kissing on screen. If you are an actor, then such scenes are part of your job.

Would you sport a bikini on screen?

What do we swim in? If your scene demands you to be in the water, you wear a swimsuit.

Of late, you have been getting strong reactions for your glam makeover…

It’s frustrating when you are asked a question like ‘Oh Gul, we have been seeing you in a really glamorous avatar of late’. I demand to know, ‘When have you seen me in a salwar kameez? The other day I was Googling my images and there wasn’t a single picture of me in sari or salwar kameez. I am just the same.’

But would you like to do glamorous roles?

Why not! I can’t be glamorous for the sake of glamorous. I got the greatest compliment from Mr (Subhash) Ghai. He said ‘I can’t tell you how sexy you are looking in Hello Darling’. I play a very glamorous part in Hello as well.

In Hello Darling you have to interact with lecherous men. How do you deal with them in real life?

Men know the sort of woman they can take liberties with. I am just not the sort of woman whom a man can approach. I don’t give anybody that vibe.

Both Hello and Hello Darling have three female stars. Is it easy to get along with female co-stars?

Competition is natural. It wasn’t difficult but I wouldn’t say it was a cakewalk either. One has to try and make an effort to maintain cordiality at times.

You have done very few films in all these years. Why?

I am happy to say that every single film that I have been associated with has belonged to the category of good cinema. They have been critically acclaimed.

You are looking forward to…

A long innings. I am not here to win a 100m race. I am here to be able to run the full marathon. I am not here for five-six years, to make a killing and become a society wife or a pseudo activist. If I wanted that, I would have chosen a different path, and tried every trick in the trade to grab eyeballs. I don’t want to be just a hero’s wife or girlfriend. Because that is not what’s going to help me 20 years down the road, it’s only the strength of my performance and talent that will sustain me. You can’t wake up after five years and decide that ‘Now I’m going to do good cinema and hope that people should forget the trash I have done this far’. People may think that I belong to serious cinema but cinema is a serious business at the end of the day. I’d love to do a fantasy film or a futuristic film.

So is there a special man in Gul’s life?

There may be or may not be. Why should we go into that?

But why would a liberated person like you want to hide?

This is one place I feel a line should be drawn. Because it can and sometimes does involve another person and violating somebody else’s privacy is not fair. Maybe some people like being known as actresses’ boyfriends but there are people who don’t.

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