Finally, a character who’s like me: Ileana D'Cruz
The actress talks about her role in Baadshaho, as she discusses her career in Bollywood and how she picks scripts
lleana D’Cruz, who is playing a queen in her upcoming Baadshaho, starring Ajay Devgn, is pleased with her performance in the film. She attributes her strong portrayal to the fact that many of the sequences were shot in a “filthy prison”. Elaborating on it, she says, “My character, Geetanjali, is based on a real character from Rajasthan’s royal family. I found her very interesting. She goes through an emotional journey, with many ups and downs, and one of the most memorable shooting experiences for the film happened in a jail.”
Ileana says the place was suffocating. “I guess it was reflective of my character going through a similarly suffocating phase in her life. So it did help me bring out that aspect well,” she says. Recalling what the place was like, she adds, “God, there was a weird stink!” and laughs.
Set in 1975, during the time of Emergency, the story of Baadshaho, directed by Milan Luthria, is about a royal family, how its riches is looted by the government, and how Geetanjali, eventually, tries to recover it with a few friends.
According to Ileana, this is one of the rare times when the character she is playing is quite close to the person she is. “Geetanjali goes through a lot of problems without ever losing her cool because she is a strong woman, and is sure in her head about what she wants and how she will get that. It bears some similarities with my journey too,” she smiles. “I have had a good upbringing that makes me a strong person. I know what I want from life and never settle for less.”
After debuting in the Telugu film, Devadasu, and becoming a popular actress in South India, Ileana entered Bollywood with Anurag Basu’s Barfi! in 2012. It’s a big success story for an actress who doesn’t have the backing of a powerful film family. She thinks the good reception in Bollywood is on account of the stories she has chosen.
“Either you like or dislike a story when you hear it... That is very instinctive,” she says. “But when it comes to my role in the film, I take that character away from the story and see if the story still looks complete. I go on to ask myself if it’s an important character in the scheme of things. Only then do I say yes,” Ileana says. The actress’ last release, Mubarakan, in which she played a quirky character, was commercially successful. “Geetanjali, however, is the polar opposite of Sweety,” she says. “That’s why I am feeling a lot of pressure to excel in this role.”
Produced by Bhushan Kumar, Baadshaho is set for release this Friday.