It’s a lucky day. Eesha Koppikhar invites me to her residence in Bandra’s Pali Hill. I arrive on time expecting a superb, well managed modern decor with half a dozen maids running up and down. But the first glance makes you forget your expectations. It just doubles it up. From the outside, it looks like a colossal palace. More like the Buckingham Palace. It’s retro in style. It’s traditionally white and it’s got about a dozen chefs cooking some special courses for the day. BMWs, Mercedes and Toyotas are seen entering the spacious parking lot to attend the obvious function. I enter the reception area and ask for Eesha. But to no avail. I call her and she calls back and guides me to come on the first floor where she is busy eating her hot served lunch. She offers me some but I insist on ‘no thanks’. Next up, “Will you have Tang?” I reply in affirmative. And then the best part, “Will you have it with soda or water?” the maid asks. Eesha can’t stop laughing when I reply, “Isn’t Tang suppose to be had with water?”
What followed next was unimaginable. Eesha reveals one of her darkest secrets. Yes, it was tough but the time was so right for her as Hello Darling is just around the corner of seeing itself on the big screen. My jaws drop down when Koppikhar turned Narang throws up, “I want to tell you something that’s a shocker. During my early days in Bollywood, I’ve been hinted by an established actor to make compromises with him so he could help me climb the ladder of success. What happens next – I don’t get the film. That’s how our industry is sometimes.” She gulps down a bit of water as her maid clears the plates. I insist on the name of the actor who asked her such a disgusting question but Eesha answers, “I don’t want to name him as it may spoil a lot of lives today. But I learnt something, being a part of this industry – Never bow down, no matter what. In our line where there is cut throat competition, there maybe two nice girls but you’ll also find eight out there who are willing to do anything to climb the ladder of success. I’ve got producers and directors telling me ‘Khud photographs dete hai aur kehte hain ki hum kuch bhi karne ke liye tayaar hai.’ I can tell you that I have gone through sexual innuendos during my early days in Bollywood and it’s tough to survive here.”
And no matter what, it is this courage and commitment of ‘not bow down’ that makes Eesha Koppikhar do fewer films but importantly….gain more respect.