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By Bipasha Basu on being Dum Maaro Dum's Zoe and why she's chosen to clam up about John and Rana Pratim D. Gupta Is John or Rana the suitable man for Bipasha Basu? Tell t2@abp.in
  • Published 5.04.11

Dum Maaro Dum looks really fresh. What was your experience like working on it?

Well, Dum Maaro Dum is shot in Goa. Goa is one of my most favourite destinations in the world. But (director) Rohan Sippy is a tough taskmaster and he didn’t give us much time to have fun. Our schedule was also very tight and we had to work for long hours. But we did have a lot of fun on the sets. Everyone was really chilled out.

Dum Maaro Dum is a new-age thriller. What is coming across as fresh to you is primarily the casting. The pairing is very fresh. The characters that have been written for all of us (by Shridhar Raghavan) are very human and very real and not like the stereotypical Hindi film people.

The tagline of the film is: “Kya hai kahaani tere paap ki?” Every character has some kind of flaw in them. For which they go through different circumstances and they also have to undergo a lot of changes in their lives.

Tell us about your character Zoe...

My character goes through a huge metamorphosis, a huge transformation. She starts off being this quintessential Goan girl, a hippie girl, because she is born to a hippie mother. She grows up speaking several languages and aspires to be an airhostess. But because of her ambitious nature, her life takes a different course and she becomes completely different from what she was earlier. She becomes this very dark, very bitter person and she gets entangled in the web of drug addiction. That’s the degeneration of Zoe that you see in the film. Like her, all the characters are actually a little flawed. They are not very typical.

You have done out-and-out commercial films like Race and All The Best and parallel films like Lamhaa. Films like Dum Maaro Dum which aim to be real and yet entertain, are they the most difficult to do?

Yes, the target for these films is that much more difficult. Dum Maaro Dum may be a very sleek thriller but the crux of the film is the drug trade in Goa. It has been amazingly shot (by Amit Roy) where every frame gives character to the scene and depth to the character. Everything about the film is very new. The music is in sync with the film. Again it’s in the space where it doesn’t give scope to the characters to break out into song and dance. Even for Abhishek’s (Bachchan) character, he can’t do that. He is a cop in the film. So they had to do a music video later (called Thayn Thayn, sung by Abhishek himself). In the film we don’t have much of singing. Only because Rana’s (Daggubati) character Loki is a local singer, he gets to sing a bit with his guitar. Otherwise it’s very realistic, yet commercially entertaining. It’s very modern... that’s the right word for it. And this is certainly the way forward.

How was Rana to work with?

Rana’s a very good actor. He’s done Leader (in Telugu) down south. I didn’t really know anything about Rana till Rohan told me that he was casting a new boy from the south. I met him for the first time on the sets when we did a reading. During that, I realised that he had not only learnt his own dialogues but the entire script of the film! That is the hard work he had put in because he didn’t know the language. Also, I think he and Rohan did a script workshop where they worked on his diction. And the hard work shows.

When you see the film, you will see that he has a great personality and great presence. Despite Dum Maaro Dum being his first (Hindi) film, Rana has really held his own.

Did you have to do any homework or special preparation to play the Goan hippie Zoe?

I just had to follow Rohan’s brief. The only silly thing that I did, because Rohan insisted I do it, was to learn to smoke a cigarette. I did it for a day... I tried to roll tobacco in a piece of paper and smoked what was the first cigarette of my life. It was an awful experience. Thanks to Rohan Sippy! And finally when the scene happened, Rohan was like: “Aaah... let us chuck the smoking!” I was mad... I asked him then, ‘Why did you make me smoke?’ (Laughs out loud.) I really wanted to kill Rohan for that. I don’t know how people smoke. It’s really a question mark to me. And every time I meet a smoker, I ask him: “But... how can you smoke?” It’s a mystery to me and I really don’t want to figure it out.

Any regrets that you don’t feature in the iconic Dum Maaro Dum song redone for the film, which has been picturised on Deepika Padukone?

No, not at all. It was clear from the beginning that this was how it was going to be. The song was a part of the screenplay and it was not a music video for the promotion of the film. When you see the film, you will understand why I couldn’t have done that song.

Te amo, the song featuring you and Rana, is soaring up the charts, though...

It’s got great reviews. Te amo is actually a very beautiful song and it has been shot on the two of us very beautifully.

Moving on, how was the Singularity experience Down Under?

It was, I think, my best experience ever. I got to work in a completely different set-up in what was my first English film and my first period film. That too with a director like Roland Joffe and opposite Josh Hartnett! Right from Josh’s Wicker Park, I have had the hugest crush on him and I could not believe that I was working opposite him! The whole experience was fantastic. We were working with Australian actors, English actors, American actors, Indian actors. It’s such a huge set-up. And the director’s guidance was so, so good. I am really eager to get back on the sets of the film. We start our next schedule on March 31 at Orchha in Madhya Pradesh. My unit has already come down.

You are also shooting at some really exotic places for Abbas-Mustan’s Players...

Yeah! Actually we are shooting at the Arctic Pole. We are shooting at places which are right on the top of the Northern Hemisphere. It will be minus 35°C! It’s going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me. I might just be frozen! (Laughs out loud.) Then we are going to St Petersburg in Russia. Yeah, beautiful! This film Players will be one helluva visual delight.

Finally, so much has been written and said in the last few weeks about your supposed break-up with John Abraham and your growing proximity to Rana. Has it upset you and would you like to set the record straight?

I have been in the business for very long now, re! I have grown a very thick skin to everything. I just believe that people may be curious about an actor’s personal life but all the space that we get is because of the work that we do. So, I think people should concentrate on that.

I am not upset. It’s just the harsh reality we all are a part of. I have been very frank and open about my relationship. But everybody has to figure out on his or her own as to why people clam up in this business. Because your word is never taken seriously. People will still make you sound frivolous and that’s what you are not. So it’s better to clam up. There’s no point in explaining all the time what you are all about.

I think the people who have made me Bipasha Basu, I get a lot of respect from them. I expect the media to do so too. I respect them and while I don’t demand respect from them, I expect respect back.