Ileana D'Cruz on Raid role: Not a typical '80s heroine who makes food for everyone
Ileana D'Cruz says her Baadshaho co-star Ajay Devgn convinced her to play his wife in Raid. While she was aware of the length, she loved the film's content.
Ileana D’Cruz has a smile, potent and infectious enough to charm anyone. The countless rounds of interviews she has been made to appear for by the film’s publicists for her film Raid is yet to dampen her mood and every question is answered with a certain amount of honesty. In the beginning itself, she makes it clear that she gave her consent to the film only because of Ajay Devgn and now she is happy that she is part of it.
“Ajay had informed me about this film while we were promoting Baadshaho. On the very first day of Baadshaho’s promotion, he took me aside and told me about a role in Raid. He also added that the role is a good one but not a lengthy one. He requested me to listen to the script and then take a decision. No matter how big the star is in a film, if the content is not great, it’s definitely not going to work. Content matters and this film had that,” says Ileana.
Raid has Ileana in the role of Malini and about her character, she reveals that Malini is not a typical housewife from the 80s who believes in decorating her house and making food for everyone. “Malini is very spunky and says what she has to and she is an equal to her husband and that says a lot considering the film is rooted in early 80s. There are certain dialogues of mine in the film which are very cool and I cannot divulge them now as I am afraid that censor board might ask us to edit them. As far as roles are concerned, I would not want to do a role that anyone can do.”
Similar to Ajay, Ileana too did not indulge in any sort of preparation for her role and thus met neither the officer on whom the film is based nor his wife. Though it was not officially revealed by the makers of Baadshaho but Ileana’s role was modelled on Maharani Gayatri Devi. So does she require different glasses when the film is based on real people? “That’s true but thankfully I have not really played an actual person on the screen except for maybe some film that were based on certain people. I would like to keep the idea of fiction attached to it. I have the leeway of just focusing and relying on my writer and putting my own mind to it. I try not to overthink and not to do research and take other’s perception,” admits the actress.
Ileana reveals that she thoroughly enjoyed playing the negative role in Baadshaho as it was well written. She is of the opinion that it kind of gets boring playing the good girl. “It’s really nice when its unexpected and playing a character that was manipulative was lots of fun. In fact, I cried when I finished the film. Thankfully, times have changed when a typical negative person does not wear red lipstick and red nail polish, and smokes cigarette. It needs to be well-written and should be more intellectually bad as opposed to visually bad.”
Ileana harbours the notion that there is no such thing as a perfect woman and believes that imperfections are amazing and beautiful and that what makes an individual. But coax her further to put a name to her idea of perfect woman and she spells out that it is her mum. “She is a big big inspiration and she is graduating in May this year. The kind of drive she has is amazing and after having four kids, and then finishing college is not an easy task. She often tells me to stop working as she is still earning. If I can only be half of what she is, I think I would have achieved a massive amount of things in life and I am not even quarter of what she is.”
Ileana is also someone who can easily be categorised as someone who is non-conformist. She loves treading off the beaten path. She still remembers her buddy and co-star from one of her South films, Ravi Teja, calling her tum alag mitti se bani ho. “I like the fact that I have never tried to fit in and there is nothing wrong with that. I was told by Ravi Teja that I won’t be able to survive in this industry but here I am even after 12 years. It's okay to be different and there is nothing wrong with that. I have never looked at someone else and said that this is the kind of path I want to follow. I am an incredibly stubborn woman.” Ileana goes further and recalls the time when Barfi! had just released in theatres and she had taken three weeks off. Ileana says that had really shocked a few and she was suggested by people that she should capitalise on the fact that the film was going great guns at the box office.
Ileana is also peeved at the fact that the mindset of people of the country has not changed towards exploitation of women and she is all for a massive change. “I want to see the thinking and the mindset changing that it’s not okay to harass and exploit women. I just want to see an overall consideration and sensitivity towards women. Whether it’s your sexual preference or women, why is there no respect?” Ileana also narrates an incident of harassment which went on for months and eventually had to resort to police for help. “It was not molestation but harassment of another level. After three months of dealing with it in the bus, I had no option but to get my mother involved. I even tried to talk to the guy and requested him but he just would not stop. I think it was some weird mindset where he thought that his act was okay to yell my name and embarrass me only because he has been turned down by me. The guy was eventually beaten up by cops in front of me and I think the poor guy pissed in his pants too.”
The Barfi! actress is candid enough to admit that she does not understand the tax system and thus have an accountant to sort out her tax issues. “He sends me notifications and I am like it's fine. It’s quite a complicated thing for me. Thankfully, through this film, I got a perspective into what an I-T officer goes through. It’s really nice that there are people they target who deserve to be targeted. The plot of Raid is quite amazing and the person it's centered on is something,” signs off Ileana.
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