How did Hate Story happen?
This film was offered to me by Vikram (Bhatt, the producer of Hate Story). I was actually supposed to start my career with Vikram and when he asked me to do this film, there was no way I could say ‘no’. Also, I knew that this film, in some way or the other, was going to break new ground. Erotica is not something that has been dealt with in India so far. Whatever has been done has been completely B-grade stuff.
There is a very thin line between sensuous and vulgar. Were there any apprehensions while signing the film?
All my apprehensions were taken care of once I read the script because it is a very powerful story. You may like or dislike the promo, but no one can point a finger and say that Vivek Agnihotri (the director) has not shot Hate Story in an A-grade manner. It’s in the league of Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction. I knew that Vivek would never make a shady film. He may shock you, but he will never make you squirm in your seat.
But you stopped short of doing the sex scenes…
I am extremely shy as an actor and I had made it very clear that I couldn’t be a part of the sex scenes. I can’t really let go of my inhibitions completely on screen.
Since the promos focus primarily on the sex scenes, there is very little of you in them. Does that make you insecure?
I knew that there would be overt sexuality in the promos. I also know that the film rides on Paoli Dam. If I had to be insecure, I would have been so in my very first film (My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves) in which I shared screen space with six National Award-winning actors. In Raavan, only five scenes of mine were retained, but I was singled out for my performance. In Shor in the City, I was told that it’s a Balaji production and I would be overshadowed by Tusshar Kapoor, but still the audience took notice of me. Now people are noticing the sexy promos. But a month later, no one will remember the promo — it is the film that will count. If I have done well, it will definitely be noticed.
What is your role?
Since it’s a thriller, I can’t talk too much about my role. I play a character with a lot of restraint. I am the only one who is completely positive in the film; all the other characters are either totally negative or have shades of grey.
How disappointed are you about the censor board coming down heavily on the promos?
I understand that Hate Story is not for everyone. It definitely is not for viewing by children. I don’t think we would have been disappointed if we were asked to tone down the content. But it’s ridiculous to say that 30-year-olds will be influenced by our promos!
What has been your impression of Paoli Dam who makes her Bolly debut with Hate Story?
Extremely ambitious. I found her to be competent and professional. That’s how an actor should be.
Do you think Hate Story will spawn a new genre in Bollywood?
Stories work, not genres. I would like to believe that beneath all the sex, Hate Story has a great story to tell. If the film works, it will be on the strength of its story.