‘Dear Zindagi’ is doing great at the Box Office! Relishing its success, an ecstatic Ira Dubey opens up exclusively to Bollyworm on her latest release, her first love, Shah Rukh Khan, Bollywood’s changing trends and more…
How was the experience of working in Dear Zindagi?
It was a blast! Dear Zindagi is my next big commercial project after Aisha (2010) and it was a great experience. It’s a very feel-good movie with interesting actors and of course the director. It was a dream working with Gauri (Shinde)! We were a little anxious initially about whether the audience would like the Shah Rukh Khan-Alia Bhatt combo but they just loved it! Their relationship forms the heart of the story. With actors like them as the lead, it might get difficult for the ensemble cast but that did not happen. The credit for this goes to Gauri, who dealt with every actor very democratically and treated all with equal importance.
About your character Fatima…
Dear Zindagi has been set in the film world, which makes it very interesting for me as an actor. It’s nice to play someone from behind the scenes. Fatima is a costume designer and to get into her skin, I interacted a lot with the film’s costume designer. Fatima and Kaira’s (Alia Bhatt) friendship is something with which everyone can relate to. They work together and in the process become great friends. Workplace friendship can get very solid. In fact, Fatima is someone who belongs to Kaira’s list of top 5 most reliable people. And we all have that list…isn’t it?
How was it working with SRK and Alia?
SRK’s aura was omnipresent on the set. I was moved and humbled when I met him. I was very touched by his words, his gesture. Perhaps that’s what makes you a true superstar. Alia is a very talented actress of this generation. I feel her choice of films has been wonderful!
Did you have fun on the sets?
Oh yes! We became like a family. We had so much fun while shooting. We were very happy as a team. Kunal (Kapoor) is a big prankster! (Laughs) Even though he might come across as a very reserved, serious person but let me tell you that he is not!
SRK gave a personalised gift to everyone on the last day of the shoot, with a note written on it. What did he write for you?
Yes, he gave gifts to everyone, to every department—makeup, costume etc. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there that day. So I missed it! But there’s always a next time! (Laughs)
Is Bollywood adopting new trends?
Commercial, non-commercial all such boundaries are getting blurred in Bollywood. In the last 10 years, commercial films have become more relatable, more contemporary. Characters have become more realistic. For instance, Dear Zindagi is commercial yet so real!
You played Sonam Kapoor’s close friend in Aisha and Alia’s bestie in Dear Zindagi. Do you feel you are getting typecast?
It’s very easy to get typecast in cinema. Both mum (Lillete Dubey) and I have faced it. But I didn’t feel that way with Dear Zindagi. That’s because while choosing a character, I look at the script as a whole. Pinky Bose (Ira’s character in Aisha) and Fatima are poles apart. The two characters are extremely different.
You’re an established theatre actress. Given a choice between theatre and cinema, which one would you choose?
It’s a very difficult choice! (Laughs). Both have been a part of my life for so many years. I have been acting since I was 5. In theatre, the actor is the king but in cinema, it’s the director. Theatre has always been my first love. It’s something I can always go back to. However, I feel like a novice when it comes to cinema. I feel like I’m still a teenager!
What do you need to be a good actor?
Honesty. I feel it’s very important to be honest, to be truthful. A good actor should not try to ape anybody, because if you try to do that, it is bound to get artificial. A good actor needs to have originality, uniqueness and should never let go of these. Why does everybody love Shah Rukh Khan? Because of his originality!
When can we expect to see you with your mum in a Bollywood film?
Hopefully soon! (Laughs). I have worked with mum closely and I’d love to work in a film directed by her! We might be cast together in a film very soon but I can’t reveal much about it right now. (Laughs)
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