Continued from here
Do critics matter?
“I’d rather see Sujata Assomull or Bandana Tewari’s opinion on it than some blog. I wanted to know what Anamika thought about the Dolce look and I had sent her a picture.
When it comes to blogs, at some level, it’s a little self destructive and venominous. There are comments like ‘I am not feeling it.’ Who told you to feel it? (laughs) This is just a dress I put on. You need to calm down. Tomorrow if I want to walk in hats and boots in Bandra, it’s my problem and not yours. What India needs I think rather than a blog judging what celebs wear a blog like The Devil Wore which celebrates real girls with street girls. I really like what Santu does at fashion week and captures these girls – chic junior editors.
I feel a High Heel Confidential would have been far more interesting if it put that into its blog as well so that it’s no longer about celebrities. That’s why people go to style.com… incredible articles by incredible writers, art events, parties… it’s a 360 of fashion as an art. Today if a High Heel covers Kallol Datta’s art exhibition, wouldn’t that be so much interesting instead of them talking about how Sonam’s shoe choice could be better?”
“I don’t read any of her stuff. I make it a point not to read Indian tabloidish things. It’s a habit… since we were young it wasn’t allowed in the house so it doesn’t really bother me.”
Rhea used to wear heels to class in New York. “I was that crazy. I used to wear 50s style dresses in class,” she recalls breaking into laughter. “First of all it’s too humid in Mumbai and I feel I am going from my house to my car to the office and back. Where do I go and dress up? In NYC your life is on a street and everyone’s dressed up. I just bought this Atsu outfit from Pernia (Qureshi)’s website and I was like... should I wear it? Then I was like... let me hem the length because I wanted to wear it with flats. I hate getting photographed.
I feel at some level I have seen Sonam and my dad and so much attention... all the baggage and I am not a poser. I am uncomfortable. If someone is taping me at a party, I am comfy with it. When someone takes my picture I don’t know what to do. It’s a little awkward. I need to have at least two glasses of wine before I get my photo taken (laughs). That’s my quota of photo taking,” she says.
Sonam’s bikini shoot
“I find it surprising that people think these are major decisions but they really are not. I swear to God we looked at references and went ahead. I don’t understand why a swim suit is such a big deal and actresses make such a big deal out of it.
Maximum Sonam would say, ‘Should I work out, I have to be in a swimsuit?’ Both of us are lazy, we love to eat and plonk ourselves after work. The shoot was like putting on an outfit and wasn’t like... ‘Let’s make this decision’ it’s normal.”
No to acting
Like any youngster Rhea was confused and she didn’t know what she wanted to do at the outset. By the time she came out of the college, I assisted on Wake Up Sid. “I was like a headless chicken reconnecting with Bombay. Ayan asked and I said yes. I knew I wanted to do something creative…
NYC had made me so free. When I saw the role which actors play... I was like hell no! That’s not going to happen. I am too much of a control freak and I need to be there from the beginning to the end. I would not be okay with someone cutting my preference or changing the film.
I would not be able to sleep in the night. I can’t constantly be conscious of myself and care so much about myself. I find it exhausting that they have to constantly think about themselves. My skin.My hair. My sleep.. It’s not interesting to me and I generally don’t care. I would hate to be talking or thinking about myself all the time. So I don’t think my personality type was in tune. And thank god at 21 I was wise enough to make that decision. I would’ve been miserable in this industry because it’s an awful place for a girl. It’s just bad.
You can’t express yourself and you can’t be crazy and do whatever you want. Even when your risks pay off people don’t give you your dues. For me it’s shocking why people are not making a bigger deal about Sonam choosing a film like Raanjhanaa where she essentially plays a grey character.
She took an incredible risk and I remember people around her convincing her that she’s destroying her career for one-and-a-half month but Sonam had made up her mind. Today what’s a space of a heroine in a film? They might be opening a film just as a guy opens it but they get a percentage of what he gets paid and they are called women centric film. Have you heard of a male centric film? It’s so sexist and makes me sick. I am always going to make films about women.
People may find it obnoxious but I am going to do it. There is no material for girls like Sonam. I am really proud of Aisha. I know that world and I know it exists and I am happy with the way we represented it. I love that movie and watch it over and over again. It makes me happy. It showed these characters and their lives – and a tongue-in-cheek interpretation of it.
“Sonam and I are planning to announce something very soon. We are very excited about it and we’ve been working on it since two years. It’s been long time in the making. It is the dream product. Our main goal is accessible, fun and liberating, exciting… I am not allowed to say much about it.”
“I give styling inputs to dad but he has a selective hearing (laughs) … now I obviously put his clothes together a lot more. My mom is very chic. Mom loves clothes and they both love fitness. And they are obsessed. All my knowledge about jewellery and Indian clothes comes from my mom.
I feel to a certain extent she also had a willingness to take the risk. My nani told me she used to wear neon yellow halters in BEST buses in the 70s and 80s. My mom and father have no social lives at all. They don’t drink or eat very little and they make us feel guilty about eating and drinking.
My mom eats a little salad and soup and my dad has a grilled fish and they go to sleep by 10.15. God! So boring.”
No filmi friends
“I have super close friends. Both Sonam and I have no filmi friends besides of course if we’ve made friends with some actors or directors. Our school friends are still our friends. I chill with my friends in my pyjamas, we go out for dinners and eat a lot. We go out clubbing once in three months.
People I love are very important to me. Sonam and I let a very few people into friends’ circle and when we do they stay for life. We tell them everything and they tell us everything.
It’s a very sacred age group. When I look around the industry and all the girls in Sonam’s age group I feel like now that all the dust has settled I am so thankful because she is a real person and it’s very difficult to find that in the industry because people become like machines.
That balance between your personal and professional live keeps you close. Having friends who tell you, ‘now you are acting retarded or I didn’t like that film or you shouldn’t do that,’ even if they are wrong but at least they are being honest with you. You have to strike a balance.
“I start shooting Khoobsurat on Nov 7. Super fun, an incredible romantic comedy – Khoobsurat a completely girlie fun fabulous film. Style wise it is a totally new take on Sonam and we’ve been working on it for months and nobody has seen anything like it before. The best thing about the original was that it allows a happy, joyous girl to take the centre stage. It’s so relevant.
Today whatever a family might be going through but if an incredible girl gets marries into it, it changes the whole dynamic so beautifully. How a daughter can bring the whole house together in some sort of way. We are going to be trapped in Rajasthan for two months. We might kill each other but it’s going to be so much fun.”
“Saat Hindustani is a very close film to my life and I can relate to and it is a truly a story of my generation. It is a really gutsy movie which I am really excited about. It starts early next year after Khoobsurat is done. I am launching some new comers. It’s an exciting project and will come to life as time goes by.”