We all keep talking about how Hindi cinema has now become bold in the last few years. However, the one person who actually started this trend by raising the bar with Jism is the bold and the beautiful Bipasha Basu. The year 2012 hasn’t exactly been the best of years for Bips as two of her releases – Players and Jodi Breakers – failed to rake in the moolah at the B.O. However, Bipasha is confident that her latest Raaz 3 will definitely find an audience. In a free-wheeling chat with Bollywood Hungama‘s Nikhil Ramsubramaniam, Bipasha talks about her most challenging role till date- Shanaya, her family re-union with the Bhatts and her favourite horror films. Read on and get spookedâ€¦
Two of your biggest hits Raaz and Jism have been with the Bhatts. What exactly happened post that, why didn’t you get a chance to come together up until now?
Wellâ€¦we weren’t really able to identify the right script for me. Mukesh Bhattji has wanted me to do a film for his banner for the longest possible time and this despite being against their philosophy of working with stars. As you know, they don’t believe in the star system. They believe in creating stars out of newcomers and then moving on and letting them be. But with me I guess, it’s not just a professional relationship. They are like family to me and that’s when I went up to Bhatt saab and said “Give me a role in your film which people have never seen me do before.” Bhatt saab exactly understood what I wanted and came up with the script of Raaz 3 and I can now say that the character of Shanaya is my most memorable role till date.
You are one of the few leading ladies who has time and again done horror films like Raaz, Darna Zaroori Hai, Raaz 3 and even your forthcoming film Aatmaâ€¦what attracts you to horror as a genre?
I don’t think it’s just the horror element which attracted me to do these films. I did Darna Zaroori Hai just for Ram Gopal Varma. He is one of those directors who has these phases of sheer brilliance. Apart from that, every single film that I have done is because of my role and because of the script. I think horror as a genre has not been tapped in the Hindi film industry at all. Raaz was one of the finest horror films made in India and became a cult classic. Vikram Bhatt is one of the only directors who understands how to scare people and now he is also a master at using the medium of 3D. Why I feel Raaz 3 is a step ahead is because technically it’s a very advanced film. The 3D element adds a lot of fun to it and the kind of VFX that we have is simply brilliant. Having said that, for me, all this wouldn’t have mattered if the story and content hadn’t been good. The human drama is what drives Raaz 3.
So tell us more about your character Shanaya?
Shanaya is an actress who is at the pinnacle of stardom and then finds it all being taken away from her. Actors are very fragile and vulnerable and scared to lose their top spot forever. No one wants to accept it but everyone’s scared of getting finished. She kind of echoes that sentiment and there are various shades to her personality. Also our film talks about religion in a very big way. In our country religion is huge and actors too are seen often visiting places of worship praying for that one elusive hit. It’s something which everyone does including myself. When you are on the top you are more vulnerable. It shows a very fragile side to us. Shanaya is a believer, she is insecure, fragile, vulnerable, driven and when she feels she is let down by God, she starts dabbling with the dark side. That’s when the course of the film changes and takes a slightly more fictitious route.
Honestly speaking like Shanaya, have you ever felt insecure when you see such cut-throat competition in our industry with a lot of younger actresses entering the scene and some even making a mark?
To be honest, I’ve never felt this kind of feeling. For the last 8 years, my priorities in life have been different. I’ve never been a go-getter. I’ve been doing my work with 100% honesty and sincerity but have never tried to compete with anyone or get into other people’s spaces. My PR machinery has never been great and I’ve not been a part of any camps. It’s always been like this for me. Without having any filmy connections whatsoever, I’ve managed to go strong for over 10 years and I owe this to 3 things- my audience connect, talent and a little bit of luck (smiles) .
You have played negative roles in the past be it Jism or Ajnabeeâ€¦is this your darkest role till date?
Not just mineâ€¦this is the darkest role that anyone has ever played in the Hindi film industry. Bhatt saab feels that I’ve been brave to take up this challenge because it can leave a very strong image. But I’ve never been scared of my image. Right from my first film (Ajnabee) where I had a grey character, I’ve always been very quirky with my choice of films. And whenever I am in the most unsafe of zone where I can’t really identify with my character, I push myself to give the best. So this is by far the most challenging role of my career.
You worked with Emraan in his first film Footpath which released way back in 2003, since then in what way has he changed and what has remained the same?
I didn’t know Emraan that well during Footpath. He was a good actor even then and I did notice a certain spark in him. Emraan keeps saying that Footpath didn’t do well because we were cast as brother-sister. Thankfully in Raaz 3 we are not cast that way (laughs). During the course of doing this film and promoting it, I’ve got to know him better. He is a wonderful guy and an effortless actor. He has a phenomenal mass connect. I travelled with him recently to various cities and realized that the man on the road loves him. It’s amazing to see him get that kind of love and adulation and it won’t happen unless you are doing something right on screen. He is known for his ‘Serial Kisser’ image maybe because he kisses really wellâ€¦ which he actually does (smiles) but beyond that he is a tremendous actor. We have some fabulous scenes together in Raaz 3. His character Aditya without being overtly heroic is a superb support to my character Shanaya. He has delivered a restrained and mature performance in Raaz 3.
How was it working with Esha Gupta?
Esha is wonderful and has done an incredible job in the film. Initially, I was a bit hesitant about whether she would be able to pull it off as I had not seen any of her work but I trusted Vikram blindly. I trust Vikram from the time I did my first film with him. In fact even though Jism released first, it was Vikram who gave John a break with Aetbaar. I remember Zayed was doing that film with me and last minute John was brought in the project. I remember Vikram calling me and telling me that there has been a change in the hero and John is now opposite me in the film. I was skeptical even then since John was a model but I just went by Vikram’s instinct. He has been very good with newcomers right since then till date.
Vikram Bhatt’s last few films like Dangerous Ishhq or Shaapit haven’t done really well at the B.O. Do you think he will strike back big with Raaz 3?
I surely think and believe so. This is the film for Vikram Bhatt. He is a very talented director. The first thing I told him after watching the film recently in 3D was, “Vikram I am so proud of you.” I was not even thinking of it as my film. He is such a dear friend and I am very attached to him. Everything that I am in the show business today is because of his guidance. I remember after my first film, I wanted to go back to college and he said, “Bipasha you have talent. There are opportunities coming your way so focus. Do not say that I want to go back to college. This is your true calling.” I did a lot of work with him in the early part of my career and he fine-tuned me as an actor and got me interested in the craft. So for me Vikram is a very dear person.
The 3D effects of many recent Hindi films have come in for a lot of flak. How do you rate the 3D effects of Raaz 3?
The reason why some films’ 3D wasn’t appreciated much is because they were not shot in 3D. Most of them have been converted later into 3D. When you actually shoot a film in 3D, the effects are completely different. Vikram Bhatt is a master when it comes to 3D and even though Haunted-3D did reasonably well despite starring newcomers, with Raaz 3, he has taken it a notch ahead. Technically he is a genius and knows how to scare people but beyond the 3D, the film also is emotionally rich in its human drama.
As a viewer, which are the Top 3 horror films that gave you sleepless nights?
Every horror film gives me sleepless nights. While watching Raaz 3 recently, I freaked out when I heard my evil laughter on the big screen. It’s so bhayanak that it gave me the creeps. Besides Raaz 3 which is my current favourite, Raaz was one of the finest horror films and so was Ram Gopal Varma’s Bhoot.
Finally what are your forthcoming films after Raaz 3?
After Raaz 3, there is Suparn Verma’s Aatma with Nawazuddin Siddiqui which is a supernatural thriller but the treatment is totally different from Raaz 3. I have a fabulous role in the film. We finished a schedule and then I had to take a break for Raaz 3 promotions and post that I am back to shooting Aatma.
Last but not the least, for all your fans of your fitness DVD, what’s next on the fitness front?
The next fitness DVD comes out in a month’s time. It’s called Break Free. Like my other DVD, this one’s too targeted at all those who hate going to the gym or are too lazy to go the gym. Watch out for Break Free.