Bipsaha Basu has been charming moviegoers since her debut opposite Akshay Kumar in Ajnabee. Now she’s bringing her star power to fitness and fashion with exercise DVDs and a clothing line. But it’s the ‘sexiest women in Bollywood’ title that best suits this queen of seduction. I spoke to the Bengali beauty on the pleasures and pain of being a star.
Aatma… Raaz… Creature 3D… Alone. You seem to be specialising in the horror genre
I have done films of all genres, not just horror. But yes if you compare it with other actresses’, maybe I have done a lot more. However it was never a planned move. My next release Alone is a horror film with an intense romantic angle. But I am tired of answering why I do horror films; no one actually sees what I do in them! So now, I won’t take up these for some time!
Personally do you have a penchant for scary flicks?
This is very embarrassing. Though I like scary films I get petrified watching them. I close my eyes during the scary part and then keep asking my friends, ‘What happened’? I remember watching ‘Blair Witch Project’ on a British Airways flight. I was so scared that I kept going low on my seat and ended up kicking the old man sitting next to me! (laughs)
So tell us how you manage to look so hot even after so many years in the industry?
I am enjoying what I am today way more than my 20s. I have made ‘myself’ the number one priority in my life. That puts a lot of things into perspective. I dedicate an hour to myself everyday no matter what. During that one hour I forget everything – family, friends, work…no one can reach me. That kind of investment helps. Today I am much more calmer, focused and can handle situations better. The bonus is that you look good and you are happier.
In an industry where fortunes change every Friday you are still going strong even after 14 years.
It’s the connect that I have made with the audiences. If you don’t have the audiences’ love, you can’t last this long. I am an actress who lives by my own rules and principles. I don’t suck up to anybody. Though sometimes I feel sucking up would help, but it’s too late to learn. I have never been overly ambitious. I am not an actor who lives, breathes and dies cinema. I love my profession and give my 100 per cent when I am at work. But it’s not everything for me.
So what consumes you when you are not facing the camera?
Lots – scripts, meeting, events, shows, endorsements, etc. I am working on my brand – BB Love Yourself. I am planning something big which will be launched soon, besides the DVDs that I am bringing out. I am also working on my accessory line Trunk Label which has now gone global. So I have my hands full.
What’s the toughest thing in this business?
The insecurity! Though I pretty much live unaffected with everything around me, there have been times in my personal life when I am going through a crisis. That’s the time you feel like everything is collapsing around you. That’s when you feel the tinge of insecurity. It’s very tough. At the end of the day actors are human beings. But we are meant to be demi gods and goddesses. We are on scrutiny on an everyday basis – whether it’s our personal life or the way we dress. Everybody has an opinion on us. You need to be a strong and confident, or else it can crumble you. It’s not for fragile people. You have to have a very thick skin to last in this industry.
Having cemented your position with Raaz, Jism and Corporate why didn’t we see you in more women centric films?
The opportunities for women in this industry are very few. Plus there are a lot of logistical issues which I refuse to succumb to. If you look at it – there will be just 2-3 successful films driven by women. The audiences are still not ready for such films. Even producers are not willing to put their money on such films. Though they put a lot of money on bizarre and stupid films!
Do you think your sexy star image somewhere sidelined your acting talent?
Initially it did. But audiences and the media are intelligent. They don’t really perceive me as just being sexy. You can’t last so long if you are only sexy. There has to be something more to make you last for 14 years. Sexy is just a new flavour.
When I started off sexy used to be an abused, apologetic term. Journalists would ask me – “People call you sexy, how do you feel,” as if I was supposed to feel bad about it. I used to explain to them that worldwide there are actresses who are sexy. And I aspire to be an actress who is sexy. I would love to be a sexy grandmother. Human beings should be a little sexy. Otherwise, the world will be a boring place.
You are single…attractive…How do you deal with all that attention?
I love the attention. (laughs) Attention in the form of healthy appreciation is always welcome. And the unwanted attention…I’ve been blessed with blindness. I’m so myopic I don’t see people staring at me. Maybe that’s why I don’t understand this whole concept of wearing a robe on top of your shooting clothes. Because you’re going to shed the robe in front of the camera!
Since I wear skirts, dresses and shorts in real life, why should I get coy about them on sets? I know it gives people a shock to see me walking up and down in shorts. But my logic is simple. I can’t see them. So they can’t see me!
You brought in a whole new level of fitness to Bollywood. How do you maintain that body?
I am like a child on a playground when I am in the gym. I prance around the gym like a monkey with a big grin on my face. I put together a routine and try it on myself. I do a mix of weight training, functional training, biometrics, cardio, pilates, etc. The only thing I don’t have the hang of is Yoga.
Are there any other challenges still left to conquer?
I have achieved nothing. If I had a bucket list I would have had 2000 things still left to do. I haven’t even started.
Very free, bindaas.
Rules of Fashion
I love dressing up and I don’t care if the fashion police keeps saying – “oh she’s wearing a bodycon dress again.” I have a fit body and I will wear a bodycon dress as long as I want to. If I have paid Rs one lakh on a pair of shoes, I will definitely wear it again and again. You can’t tell me that I am repeating things. I come from a middle class family with middle class values. I may have a lot of money. But I also have value for money.
Brands I love
D&G, Armani, Elie Saab and Zara are some of my favourite brands. I also love maxis and ganjis from Supre an Australian brand.
I splurge on
Exercise gear. I have the funkiest shoes, sports bras, pants…everything. I also like Lululemon a Canadian brand. If you send into a store like that I will come out with the entire store.
Hottest thing in my wardrobe
My florescent Lululemon pants. You need to look hot when you are working out!
I don’t understand
When Bollywood stars on international red carpets wear brands they can’t carry off, with bizarre hair and weird makeup. What’s going on?
A deal breaker in a relationship
Fittest person in Bollywood
Akshay Kumar is truly a fit man. Deepika Padukone also looks very fit.
Vikram Padnis’ debut film – “Nia”.