I played wife to Anil Kapoor in Bewafaa (2005), and now I am the wife of his nephew, Arjun. I believe it’s a compliment for me that I have worked for so many years. In the last 16 years of my career, I have worked with most directors and actors. I continue to work with them again and again. But I have never done a film with Balki or Arjun before. It’s a new experience to team up with someone with a fresh take on things.
Four years after you did Bodyguard, you are paired opposite Salman Khan again in Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
Many loved our pairing in Bodyguard. Hopefully, the audience would love it this time too. Though Salman and I had worked together in two films earlier, I had never worked with director Kabir Khan. That’s another thing I am excited about.
With the hearing of Salman Khan’s court case scheduled next month, do you think the movie’s run will be affected?
Salman Khan is someone who is unfazed by his success, failure and superstardom. That’s what makes him the biggest superstar of the nation.
How have you managed to have such a long stint in the industry?
Most people say an actress’ shelf life is a decade. After 16 years, I am still working with some of the best directors. That’s because I enjoy what I do. I love my work — whether I am doing a commercial, content-based film or a dark and edgy film. I try to give my best even when I do an item number. I hope four years will fly and I will touch 20 years in cinema.
Have you tried to reinvent yourself?
It has been a conscious decision on my part to work with new directors. Apart from working with Kabir and Balki, I am also acting in Udta Punjab, a thriller directed by Abhishek Chaubey. At the same time, I have to keep commercial success in mind. I always wanted to a star actor. Being part of a commercial film is in my DNA. I am trying to balance it out by taking up different kinds of movies.
Are you ready to step out of your comfort zone?
To be part of a drug drama like Udta Punjab, I had to step out of my comfort zone. It is far from the commercial and glamorous space you are used to seeing me in.
How careful are you now while selecting a script?
In the last one year, I have taken the time to suss out good scripts. The right thing I did was to wait and watch. Now, I go through scripts minutely. However, halfway through Balki’s script, I agreed to do the film. Sometimes, there is a gut instinct that tells you to take up a project. I have rejected a lot of scripts. Some decisions have been right, some wrong. But it’s an actor’s choice. For someone like me, at this stage of my career, I have to do things that make me happy. I do not have to constantly prove something.
Alia Bhatt has expressed her admiration for you. Do you see yourself as a role model?
I don’t, but I take Alia’s comment as a compliment. Somehow I have done as I pleased. And today, I continue to be a working married woman. Maybe, people relate to that.
Has marriage changed things for you?
People seem to think that. Not me. I am just more relaxed, happy and secure. This has made my choices better, even though I don’t talk shop with Saif (Ali Khan). Interestingly, I am working a lot more after marriage. I will probably work forever.
You are also reading a lot more now.
Yes, I am totally into crime fiction. Currently, I am reading The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson. It’s a psychological thriller — a bit Gone Girl-ish.
There has been a lot of speculation regarding your motherhood.
I am a greedy person. I am greedy for good roles, success and a good life. I will definitely be a mother someday, but not now. Right now, I am looking for some great roles and wish to work with directors who can tap my potential.