Your debut film Shor In The City released in 2011. Why did you take such a long break?
When I did Shor… I was working full-time as a model. After the film, I realised that I want to take up acting seriously. So, I needed that time to stop working as a model and concentrate on acting. When Shor… happened, I didn’t know anyone in the industry, how things were to be done or even about the art. I had done an acting course from Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares before my first film, but I wasn’t that serious then. So, in the last couple of years, I read scripts, worked on my Hindi and went on sets to understand how a film is made. I have been working since I was little, so I needed that time off to experience things. While I was modelling, I travelled all over India but I never had the luxury to experience the place.
How much does having Abhay Deol as a partner help in your Bollywood journey?
There are always positives and negatives to every situation. The pros are that I had access to film shoots. I was lucky enough to accompany him when he was working to watch what the process is. When he gets scripts, sometimes he uses me as a filter. So, my understanding of what a good script is has increased manifold. Abhay is super intelligent when it comes to films, knowing a script and storytelling. His mind is constantly churning out ideas. He keeps noting them down. It’s nice to be with someone who is that passionate.
And what are the negatives?
Everyone sees you as a couple. No one sees you as an individual actor. Abhay does a certain kind of movies, so people think that I will only be interested in the same type. Also, if there is a role that I’ll fit into really well, he’ll never recommend me. He doesn’t want people thinking that he is recommending his girlfriend. So, while people think that I have it easier because I am his girlfriend, it couldn’t be farther from the truth!
Abhay and you have been a couple for a while now…
Oh yeah! I met Abhay in 2010. It was the success party for Dev D. It wasn’t love at first sight or anything like that (laughs). That only happens in films. We would go out with friends or on causal dates and I think over a period of time we realised there was something more to the relationship.
What works for your relationship?
I think the biggest common factor for us is that we think alike. It could be because we are both well travelled and have had certain life experiences.
One By Two is the first time you worked together. What was the experience like?
We actually decided right at the beginning that on the sets, we’ll be professional. I have been on sets with him earlier, but only he would be the one working then. We would discuss his scenes and dialogues. I would be like his understudy. But during this film, we didn’t. I would go to my director if I had anything to discuss.
Tell us something that people don’t know about Abhay.
He is quite a softie. He gets quite upset when he sees street urchins. He wishes he could give them a different life. He is also very passionate about issues like the environment. Garbage has to be segregated, lights have to be switched off and all gadgets unplugged.
Is he a good boyfriend?
Yeah (laughs), I wouldn’t have been with him otherwise.
Four years is a long time in Bollywood. Aren’t the two of you being pressured by your families to get married?
(Laughs) Thankfully, no. I am just starting a brand new career and there is so much I want to achieve. Marriage also requires a lot of effort and I am not really ready for it. Our families, obviously, know and approve of our relationship but marriage is not on the cards right now.
Getting back to your career, do you know what you are doing next?
Not really. I have been advised to wait and see how One By Two does and then decide. I am not in a hurry.