My personal life put blocks to my career
If my personal space were to help my professional sphere, I’d be very glad – but it never did. Right from the day I entered the industry, my personal life had never helped me – it had, in fact, put blocks to my career. Because some things are very clear in this business – single girl works more, don’t talk about your boyfriend – these are things that help when you’re starting, perhaps not once your name is made. But the curiosity is there, it’s huge. I have to start seeing someone now. How dare you be single, it’s that sort of tone! I used to be scared of that word once. But the media threw it so much, so often in my face that a stage came when I actually turned around and said, all right, I’m the poster girl of being single.
Men today are only looking for mothers
Arrey yeh toh ladke hain na aaj-kal, bilkul loser type hote hain. Woh sahara dhoondte rehte hain saare time. Honestly, the quality of men, they are looking only for mothers. And sometimes you don’t want to play the mother, it’s really exhausting! If any guy even remotely gives me the dukhiyari vibes, I am like no, please don’t call me again!
Guys in the industry take the business so seriously. They put unnecessary pressure on themselves. They will not become globally renowned hallmark actors overnight, that’s not going to happen. Confidence is rather fragile in the men. They have their own baggages and egos and competing with someone else or whatever they are doing. Half their life goes in that. If they use that in focusing on what they want, the process of living would be much lighter, easier. But they make it very difficult. Everything they do in life is “pressure”. “Oh, it’s such a battle!” I don’t have too much of sympathy for that. I’m like, OK, it’s tough? Tough for you, not for me!
People younger than me, they’re waiting for this very big moment in their lives, which is elusive, which you don’t know whether it’ll come or not, but they can’t appreciate the small things, the everyday happiness of life. Sometimes you want to sympathise, but then it’s their own life. It’s not just in the film industry. People want to live with a struggle in their heads. “I’m struggling”. I’m like, wow, struggle, go on!
But this business does make you a little fragile, because sometimes you think you’ve made the best film ever and people junk it in two minutes. It kind of confuses you, at least for that moment.
I am not here to become a Madhubala
I’m not satisfied with my career (laughs)! What is there to be satisfied about? I don’t think I’ve done any profound work yet… People ask me how would you want to be remembered. I tell them I don’t want to be remembered! I’m not here to become a Madhubala or receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. I’m not that kind of a person. And I’m not brash about it, it’s just the way I am.
Main apna makeup do shade dark karti hoon
I was called an unconventional actress in every article when I’d entered, perhaps more so because I was dusky and tall. Dusky became a constant adjective with me. And when people meet me, they say, aap toh kaale nahi ho, aap toh gore ho! And I’m like, hello, I’m not gori! But this is the first conversation fans have with me. Why do you look dark on screen? I laugh, and say, mujhe pasand hai, main do shade dark karti hoon apne ko. What do you say?
The colour made me stand out at that time, since those days there was the quintessential Indian heroine, fair, light-eyed and all that. Now, thankfully, the Indian actress doesn’t have one look. And then everyone wanted to be sexy. Before that, being sexy was a taboo, it was like hara-kiri. I remember I had a conversation with an actress at a beachside hotel in Mauritius. There was another actress with us, and she came out in shorts. So this senior actress, really big-time then, is telling me, “see, she’s wearing shorts when she’s not even shooting!” And I’m like, are you OK? This is a beach, what is she supposed to wear? She belonged to that school of actresses who would do anything on-screen, but would be all proper off it. I told her, I’m just going to wear shorts and come back myself (laughs)!
I was petrified of the bikini because I was motu
Nowadays the bikini stories are very funny. Who wore bikini best and who’ll wear bikini next. Amazing stories! I’ve been part of a lot of these bikini stories myself, that’s a different thing. The first time I was asked to wear it, I was petrified, because I was moti. I told Adi ( Aditya Chopra), are you mad? I’m not going to wear it, I’m moti. He said, I’m giving you one year, get fit, because the film is all about being sexy and stylish. I said, one year? Then I can think about it. But my training fixation really began with No Entry. I was not doing it because the role was that of a bar dancer and so she had to dress a little differently. I was so golu then! I used to only smartly dress to cover myself up and look thin. I was lazy and I was doing 13 films a year and working 18 hours a day.
I told Boney Kapoor and Anil Kapoor, I can’t play a dancer, and I’m motu, why do you want me? And then they made Ramesh Taurani and Mahesh Bhatt and everyone in the industry call me! They offered me any kind of money. And finally, I was convinced. I told myself, I’m going to gradually lose weight. I started my first basic running regime. When all others were partying, I used to go to the gym. They would sympathise with me. Esha would say to me, chal, chal, tu bhaag. Now Esha sees me and asks, what have you turned into (laughs)?
Good people stay in my life, only the bad goes
My friends have really pulled me out of so many low points. I also make a lot of friends because I trust people very easily. I just trust. And it’s not backfired. Honestly, good people stay in my life; it’s only the bad that goes. I’m very, very lucky that way. There was a point I did not acknowledge it, and I went into my shell – that was the worst phase of my life. I tell people, I have a happy life, that’s why I glow!
I howled when I heard the Amar Singh Tapes
I keep my distance from politics. Lots of money has been offered to me for campaigning over the years, and I have always refused. I used to be very politically aware and very opinionated, but I don’t want to involve myself. And out of nowhere the Amar Singh tapes came when I was shooting with Ajay (Devgn), but then it disappeared for a while. And then when I was in Russia shooting for Players, it exploded. I howled in front of Abhishek (Bachchan) and Omi (Vaidya). And I’m not a girl who cries easily, I am quite thick-skinned. It was so depressing. And I heard it and I said, how can anyone say this is me? It went on and on – “Bipasha’s voice”. How could any journalist write that? They all must have heard my voice – it’s so distinct. Yet that story went on and on. It was one of the most disgusting things I have faced in my life. I just prayed. My parents were very, very supportive; that held me through.
You know, when things have gone really wrong in my life, I’ve cried like a child. I have really, really cried. I cry it out. Two-three days I cry, and them I’m like, enough, time to deal with reality and figure a way out. This is the way I have dealt with everything.
When I became single, everybody wanted to ask me out
Some time off love is good. When I became single, someone wrote that I am putting up a front. I told him, stop putting this pathetic image of mine. Don’t feel bad for me. I don’t want anyone to sympathise with me, but they just don’t stop! This whole thing about a single girl, alone, can’t be happy, is very bizarre. Single girls get so much attention – they should be happier. When I became single, I got so much attention, that I had to say, what’s going on! These are the same people I knew earlier. Everyone wants to ask you out, it’s scary. Everyone called me a schoolgirl. Anyway, I don’t like the word. You’re born single, you die single, but why not being in a relationship is some special ‘single’ status, I don’t understand. Life is less stress being single, I have to admit. I have never been single before this – since 15, I have been in a relationship. It’s so simple.
At 15, I wanted to marry my first boyfriend
My mother fell down when I told her about my boyfriend at 15. My older sister was very chalu – she had boyfriends and she never told my mother. But when I had my first boyfriend in school, the day I accepted his proposal, I came to my mother and said, I want to marry him. This is my boyfriend, I’m gonna live and die with him. I’m that kind of a girl. I used to wear shorts, and I told mom suddenly that I’m no longer going to wear shorts, I’ll wear salwar-kameez because his parents are Marwari and they don’t like it! He’s vegetarian, so I turned vegetarian for two months. His parents met me, my parents met him, like that, all honest and open, nothing hidden. My mother’s ideal boy for me is – we make so much fun of it – Hindu, ‘good boy’, rich, tall. And I say momma, why are you biased against short people? My mother never liked any of my boyfriends. Never. Nobody deserves to be with me because I am such a good girl! Mom just hopes that now finally things will happen her way (laughs) – Christian boyfriend, Christian boyfriend, she used to go on and on!
I went through an operation because of a lie
My resolution for this year was that I’m going to learn to lie. As a liar, I’m so pathetic, people can look at my face and tell. The resolution failed quite miserably. I get caught. When I was a kid, I tried to lie once, and it was a very bad lie I got into. I was getting ready for my pre-boards. I was a very good student; I used to come first in all sections. I hadn’t prepared very well for my maths exam. And I hated getting low marks – which was going to happen.
So I did something to miss that exam – I fainted. And I did such a good fainting act! My mother and my uncle actually hospitalised me that night. In the hospital I began to realise that this was getting way too serious, it was beyond what I wanted – which was just a one day gap. Like a budhdhu, I kept holding the right side of my abdomen and faking pain. The doctors said, she seems to have an appendix problem, we need to operate immediately or else it might burst. I then went on and on saying my dad isn’t in town, I won’t have this done in his absence. I could not believe what was happening. But they forcefully operated on me. I’d done a fabulous fainting job, fell down some steps also, so everyone thought I was in acute pain, plus there was a little inflammation. I went through an appendicitis operation because of that lie! I couldn’t give any of the exams. I couldn’t walk for days. And I couldn’t tell anyone! I must have told my best friend, told John sometime. But my parents, I finally told them two years back. I told them the whole story, see, that’s why I don’t lie. My father said, ‘I should have known you’ll be an actress!’ Strange kid I was.
Men love it when you’re a blonde
He’s quite a smart bloke, my dad. The reason I have this amazing image of a man in my head is because of my dad. I ask him, who asked you to be like this? All your three daughters would want a man like you and they don’t make them like you anymore. Cool, great sense of humour, likes it if wife is pretty, stays behind, is more intelligent but will still say, my wife is everything – who does it? No man now. Now, if your woman is a little charming or can talk more or is intelligent or can hold conversation – it just stirs men up. It’s a little intimidating. I was told by my friend Omi Vaidya that I’ll never find a man because I am beautiful and I am smart. I said, ‘Omi, should I behave like a blonde, I can do that also?’ There are times when I purposely become a blonde, just to see the effect it has; there are days when I test men. And it always works. When you are a blonde, men just love it. They feel so good and superior (laughs). I’m such a brat na? Thoda sudharna padega… (Delirious laughter round with absolutely no hint of any sudharna plan in the offing).