Anyone who watches Finding Fanny cannot help falling in love with the frail yet boisterous Angie played by Deepika Padukone. From her first stint in Om Shanti Om to now, the actress has traversed many experiences personally and professionally. In Homi Adajania’s film, you realize how far she has come in maturing her craft and the actress is quite rightly doing a darn good job maintaining the right balance between commercial and quirk, doing films straight from her heart.
With Finding Fanny releasing yesterday, Koimoi caught up with the reigning Empress of 2013 to talk about Finding Fanny, her priorities in her career and the commercial mega film Happy New Year that everyone is awaiting.
You have been labelled as the reigning queen of last year with so many hits. In a film like Finding Fanny which is pretty much a niche film, is their a lot of pressure on you to draw the audiences to the theater?
No absolutely not. You make films to entertain audiences. 2013 was a very special year for me. I don’t think every year will be like that for me. Finding Fanny already is a success for me. The kind of reaction we have wanted for the film, we have got it! People have smiled through our film, they have identified with the characters. People want to watch again and again. Not every film is about box office numbers. A successful is about repeat value and Finding Fanny is one film you can watch again and again. The breeziness of the film is great in the first watch but when you watch it again and again, you’ll unravel more layers of the film.
What strikes most about Finding Fanny is its brilliant casting. Your next film Happy New Year too is an ensemble film. How is it working with multiple seasoned actors together in one project?
First of all a film has to work for anything else to work. For a film like Finding Fanny, 5 oddballs are required because the story demands it. The same is the demand of Happy New Year which is a heist film. We were all given very well etched out characters. I had brilliant characters in both this and Happy New Year. There is no need to be insecure then when justice is being done to your role. We are cast for the actors we are and not the star value we get along! In Finding Fanny, me and Arjun derived a lot of confidence from the fact that Homi treated us at par with the seniors, giving us all equal time and prepping us the same way! When Homi narrated this film, I was sold on the very first scene.
Did it a point deter you from making an English film for a Hindi based audience?
You know like love is a universal language, cinema too is a universal language. As long as audiences can connect with characters, it works! We could have made this film in Japanese or French but with the same soul. It took me some time to get accustomed to the language but for the rest of it, it wasn’t deterring at all. I trust Homi and get what he is trying to say. He discovered something in me with Cocktail that no one else could. I rate Homi’s sensibility very highly; it seems we are on the same page. He can ask me to jump off and building and I will do it because I trust Homi that much. That equation for one must be pure enough to be able to make a beautiful film with your director.
Would you have made an English film with anyone else?
I really don’t know. I don’t know.
How is it different to market a Finding Fanny versus a Happy New Year?
I guess with a film like HNY, it is a kind of film that doesn’t need too much on the promotional side. It’s sad and I don’t know why but HNY comes with that kind of grand star value and it is more palatable to audiences. I feel it is the kind of people that audiences know and relate to better. Finding Fanny needs convincing! Finding Fanny is no different than Happy New Year. It might look different and the director has told it in a different manner. Earlier I thought why are we promoting Finding Fanny so pompously; it is a niche film meant for festivals. But if we say that Finding Fanny is no different than any other film then it must be promoted like any other film.
This is your second time working with Farah Khan. Has the treatment from her side been any different?
The gap between Om Shanti Om and Happy New Year is of 7 years. In Happy New Year, Farah trusted me a lot more this time. Obviously it was her responsibility to give me the best launch ever and she did that. But way back she had to tell me everything from how to deliver dialogues to where to look. I was so raw. I knew nothing about acting or films. She had to spoon feed me and hold my hand and take through every step of film-making. 7 years later, she trust me with understanding my craft and knows that I am more comfortable with things. She didn’t have to say anything. But what has not changed is how protective she is about me. This time even more, because I was the only girl amongst 5 guys. I am her first child actually. My success or failure has nothing to do with her care. She just realizes that I have grown up and treats me like that!
The new term ‘women centric’ films has been doing the rounds in the industry. How do you perceive the term and are you willing to lead a film if the project demands the same?
What is a Women Centric Film please explain? Mary Kom is a woman and the filmmakers have decided on making a film on her. Obviously Arjun Kapoor cannot play Mary Kom. If someone wants to make a film on a woman and if I am interested in it, I will do it. Recently Woody Allen’s film Blue Jasmine released which is based on a woman’s life and story. How come no one has called that a woman centric film? We should watch films for what they are. Masala, art house, niche, woman centric are just labels that should be done away with.
After such success last year, are you more confident about yourself?
You know, actors are the least confident people. Since we perform on screen, people assume we are confident. But we are actually very underconfident people. I am very awkward socially. Box office is very unpredictable. You never know what audiences like and what they don’t. Numbers shouldn’t deter you from telling stories you want to tell. You have to be brave enough and go make a film which you want to. Whether people like or not, is a secondary thing.
The stardom of any star is always temporary. Now that you are on the peak of your career, do you ever think of it?
I know for a fact yeh stardom chala jayega. It is the reality of this industry. Today I am the girl, tomorrow it will someone else. I am very secure about it. Anyone who thinks they can be a star all their life is delusional.
You are gearing up for SLAM. What’s up with that front?
I am looking forward to this world tour. It is extremely exciting that HNY team has ideated this unique way of promoting the film and it is my first time. I am thrilled about it.