Have you met the real-life Mohammad Azharuddin?
I met him a couple of times. He’s a very nice person. We talked about regular things, nothing about the film or his life. I haven’t met Sangeeta Bijlani or Naureen. He is the only person I have met who is connected to the film. I didn’t take any inputs from him. We spoke about Hyderabad, the history of the city and the forts there as I love history.
What made you accept this role?
I enjoy watching documentaries and biopics, so I found the script interesting. I like to gain knowledge and learn about things that happened in history. I always joke that we humans are nosy because we like to know about other people’s business and their personal lives. Azhar was interesting to me because I didn’t know anything about him and when people would tell me stories about him, there was so much emotion attached to it. I found it interesting that after all these years, people were still so emotional about what had happened. So for me, to know that it was a true story based on events in this great cricketing icon’s life, made it really interesting and I wanted to be a part of it.
What fascinated you about Sangeeta’s character?
The glam factor. She’s so glamorous even to this day. I don’t even know how she stays so beautiful. I want to know her secret so I hope to meet her one day and when I do, I will ask her about her health and beauty secrets (laughs). Apart from the glam factor I am very curious about humans and relationships. I always ask questions to people who are married or divorced or dating about how their relationships work, what are their troubles because I want to know. The one thing that we all want to find is to live happily ever after but I think that’s maybe not a reality. So it’s very interesting to see Azhar’s love story unfold and at the same time see how it is when the other person gets left behind or to understand the human process of why we fall in love with someone else, why love ends for another… Azhar is the journey of love, of the ups and downs of love.
Who did you feel sympathy for — Naureen or Sangeeta?
I feel sympathy for both the characters because I can understand being left behind and I can understand being in love. When you are in love you can do crazy things and you don’t realise what you are doing and you try your best to be proper and a good human being but it’s not always possible. Things are not always in black and white. It can’t always be this-is-this and this is how it has to be. A great part of the story is that this great cricketer, a top actress and this regular woman are all so human. Whether one is a sports star, a movie star or a housewife, it doesn’t matter as we all have emotions, we are all humans.
If you were caught in an elevator with Sangeeta Bijlani and Salman Khan what will you do?
I don’t know maybe I would get really shy… I am a very shy person actually so I am really not that funny but since I know Salman and he has a great sense of humour, he would probably say something funny to me and I can say something funny back. I am sure Sangeeta has a great personality and they are good friends so who knows (laughs)? It all depends on how long we are all stuck in the elevator!
Most relationships between actresses and cricketers don’t work, agree?
My thoughts are that if you look at every human being on this planet and every relationship you will see the same thing. The problem is that the regular people are not in the news and in the public eye. That’s the difference. I think it has more to do with humans than with what you are. An athlete or an actress doesn’t see each other so often and both have their own lives, a ton of money and they need anybody. In relationships, while usually two people stay together out of love, sometimes they also stay together for the wrong reasons too because one person is dependent on the other. I love the fact that women have more independence today to opt out of a relationship which they have outgrown. I don’t think being in the public glare has to do with anything. It just makes more news.
Do you see yourself dating a cricketer?
I would say no right now because you just never know what life gives you. Never say never. I just feel that because my life is so hectic right now I would want more of a stable person. Cricketers lead erratic lifestyles as actresses so I would need an anchor to keep me rooted.
Who is the hottest cricketer?
Nobody. I don’t find anybody hot right now. I haven’t really looked. I am not in the head space as there’s so much work happening and promotions. I am thinking of getting these promotions over with, getting Banjo done and then me taking a vacation.
Sachin Tendulkar or MS Dhoni, which biopic you’d like to see?
Cricket is not my forte, I don’t like any sports in fact, I just enjoy every sport whenever friends or boyfriends take me to a game. I never followed any sport nor am I a sports person. When everyone asks me about it, I feel strange because I feel everyone loves sports and I don’t really have an attachment to any one particular sport. I don’t follow an athlete or movie star or musician for that matter. I’ve met MS Dhoni so I would have to say that maybe I will watch his biopic. I met him during an ad shoot and found him to be a lovely guy. He’s young, family-oriented, very normal and down-to-earth and easy to get along with. Dhoni’s not a very talkative person but he’s a nice guy.
Would you endorse an IPL cricket team?
Yes, why not? Because then I would learn more. The more I get involved with stuff that has to do with cricket, the more I learn because then I am around people who talk about it. I wouldn’t mind… I have gone for some IPL matches yet I still get confused (laughs).
Recently you said you felt uncomfortable kissing Emraan Hashmi because his moustache could have been made from pubic hair.
Oh gosh! I have a bit of toilet humour. I have a potty mouth, I am sorry. Everybody has a different sense of humour I guess. Yes, I have to admit that Emraan’s moustache was really weird (laughs) and it was creeping me out. It looked like one of one of those pervert moustaches which peeping Toms sport which you see on American TV. I was like wondering how do they make these things because the hair is a weird type of hair so I would think, ‘Eeeww it’s not very nice feeling and looking!’
You have a very quirky sense of humour. Where does it come from?
A lot of people made fun of me when I was growing up in New York and you develop a sense of humour to laugh at yourself. Kids are mean when they are young. I was chubby and I couldn’t dance very well so everyone made fun of me. Now I can tell people ‘Look at me now! I can dance! Screw everyone!’ I never fit in as I was always the outsider. I was never a part of gangs and cliques that kids form. I don’t like to be grouped into something. I was always everyone’s friend but no one’s friend. Also, when kids start drinking and doing other naughty things that I didn’t want to do, that was the another thing that pushed me away from them. So I spent a lot of time alone and that’s when I developed my sense of humour. It may seem cool now but as a kid it’s not because then you are struggling and sad thinking nobody is your friend and you are all alone.