Ileana D'cruz on Mubarakan: 'I haven't been part of a film that's so funny, crazy and mad'
Ileana D’cruz had once said that she can’t relate to stardom and wondered why she should get attention. When I meet her in a hotel suite, I find her sitting on a bed in simple T-shirt and jeans, clapping and enjoying the latest trailer of her upcoming film as if she were a part of the audience.
Last seen in critically acclaimed, Rustom with Akshay Kumar, Ileana is a part of Anees Bazmee's directorial Mubarakan (releasing on 28th July) which has Arjun Kapoor in a double role, besides Anil Kapoor and Athiya Shetty.
What excited the Goan girl the most about her role was playing a Punjabi character.
“I find them very colourful. They are so loud, happy and passionate on screen. There’s always a spark to all the Punjabi girls I’ve seen onscreen. I’m a Goan girl and there’s definitely no influence of Punjabiness in me so I don’t know how I managed to play it. But the best part was that I wasn’t required to learn the language as I didn’t have to speak full blown Punjabi. There was no need to do any homework and I would mug up on the sets,” said Ileana, further adding, “I don’t think I have been part of a film that was as funny, crazy and mad like Mubarakan. I was genuinely laughing when the director (Anees Bazmee) was narrating the script to me. I could picture every character, how quirky, mad and weird everyone was.”
At the peak of her career in Tollywood, Ileana decided to shift to Bollywood and had a dream debut with Anurag Basu’s Barfi (2012) opposite Ranbir Kapoor, which was a commercial success as well as critically acclaimed. Further, after a few hits and misses like Main Tera Hero, Phata Poster Niklla Hero and Happy Ending, Ileana kind of consolidated her position with Rustom (opposite Akshay Kumar), which was considered to be the third biggest hit of 2016.
Post Mubarakan, she has an immediate release, Milan Luthria’s period drama Baadshaho, opposite Ajay Devgn.
However, Ileana says that the struggle phase and coping with flops wasn’t easy for her and many a times she thought of packing her bags and leaving the industry.
“I have seen many ups and downs. It has been a nice dose of reality in a way. But I have a family and support system that keeps me stable and grounded. I would often call them and they would give me strength,” said Ileana, who, in fact, also faced pressure to hide her relationship with Australian photographer and boyfriend, Andrew Kneebone. "Why is it such a big deal when it is a woman dating?" she said in a recent interview to a fashion magazine.
lleana took a sabbatical and was absent from the movie circuit for over 18 months post Happy Ending to deal with her mental health issues.
“There were days when I wanted to pretty much stop everything and leave. Despite doing some good films, I would feel that I am not doing anything at all. I would wonder where my life was going. I remember staying home for a week and not doing anything at all. I refused to go out for coffee, or meet friends. I didn’t realise but I was suffering from a distinct form of depression where you have no motivation to do anything. I had some issues as well. I lost a lot of weight and people started commenting on my body. That is when I decided to take a break and seek help. I went for a therapy. I didn’t make a huge statement about it and realised that I needed to sort out and fix my mental health. It was as important as getting physical check-up done,” said the actress.
After spending 11 years in the profession, Ileana’s goal now is to do different genre of films, “and push myself as much as possible as an actor. I think I am at a stage where I want to take a risk even that amounts to failing”, she said.
“I love Mubarakan for the universal commercial aspect of it and love Baadshaho for the risk I have taken. I have gotten opportunities because people think I am talented enough and not because anyone is doing me any favour. I take a certain amount of pride in that,” she said, furthering, “Nobody can say how your career will shape. I can’t decide the films that will come my way but I can certainly decide what I choose. As it is, actresses have a short shelf life. Who would want to see a 40-year-old heroine? So as long as the going is good and the audience wants to see me, I have to make the right choice,” said Ileana.