Lasyapriya Sundaram (BOMBAY TIMES; February 25, 2017)

After her successful stint down South, Ileana D'Cruz made her big Bollywood debut with Barfi! (2012). That was just the beginning. Since then, she has acted in a number of mainstream Hindi films opposite some of the biggest names in the industry. However, the petite actress seems to have taken it slow over the past couple of years. In a chat with BT, she gets candid about not being part of the rat race, her equation with her co-stars and why she thinks marriage is overrated. Excerpts...

You had no releases in 2015. Last year, you had only one film - Rustom. Why have you slowed down?
I didn't like the films I was being offered. The gap between Happy Ending (2014) and Rustom was long because I decided not to do a film rather than do a bad one. I felt that it was a better choice.

Does it take a lot of courage to say 'No' to films?
At one point, you start wondering if being talented is enough or you need connections. You enter a phase when you are not getting outstanding offers. You tend to doubt yourself, and think, 'Maybe I should change my path or get a PR team in place'. I too went through that phase, but I decided to wait. I took it easy. I travelled more and spent time with my family. I am glad I took the year off, as I didn't want to play a bimbette in a commercially successful film. I didn't want to do a film because it's going to do well. I wanted to enjoy the process of shooting for it.

Co-stars also play a major role in making the process enjoyable. You have worked with superstars as well as the new crop of actors...
I share a good equation with all my colleagues and don't get intimidated at all. My equation with Ranbir (Kapoor, her co-star in Barfi!) or for that matter Saif (Ali Khan, her co-star in Happy Ending) is pretty much the same. The main difference was in their personalities. With Ranbir, I didn't talk much on the sets because of the character he was playing. With Saif, I got off on an awkward foot because I thought he was a very reserved person. But then, we hit it off. Most actors are chilled out on the sets, they like mingling with everyone. Ajay (Devgn, her co-star in the upcoming film Baadshaho) seemed reserved initially, but is friendly now. He is a bit of a prankster as well. Arjun (Kapoor, her male lead in Mubarakan) was talkative from day one.

Talking about equations, do you have close friends in the industry?
I am a private person. When I am on the set, I try and mingle as much as possible, but once the shoot has wrapped up, I don't meet up with any of them. Maybe that's just me. I am not someone, who can call up a co-star and start chatting. Nor can I go up to a director and say, 'I loved your film and I want to work with you'. I am very awkward saying such things. I sat next to Milan (Luthria, the director of Baadshaho) on the sets of Rustom for 15 minutes and both of us didn't say a word to each other. Then he broke the ice saying,. 'So, you acted in Barfi!, right?' (laughs). My kind of party is getting together with a few people and dancing. I can't get drunk. Also, I am terrible at networking.

Unlike other stars, you share photographs of your boyfriend Andrew Kneebone on social media platforms...
If you are sharing personal photographs on such a big social platform, you should do it because you really want to and not because it's some PR activity. You are not looking at it from the point of view of how many likes you are going to get. For me, it's just a spur-of-the-moment act. There is no point in me being on social media platforms if I don't share a little bit of my personal life. It is like, this is a part of my life and this is who I am.

Is marriage on the cards?
I find it funny when you ask me that question. What's the big deal about marriage? I am happy, I am in a great space, I am doing great films and I am where I am. I think marriage is overrated. Dude, calm down! When I want to announce the fact that I am getting married, I will do it. A little mystery is also important. If I always let the cat out of the bag, why would people be interested in me anymore?

You once said that it's in the nature of human beings to cheat. Now that you are in a relationship, do you still maintain that stand?
It's very easy to say that I am going to leave my man, but there is so much to consider. You have put in so many years, you love this person, and you have trusted him. Yes, that person has betrayed your trust and it's so easy to say that I will ditch him, but it's not as simple as that. As fiery and hot-tempered as I may be, I am not sure how I will deal with a situation like that if it were to happen to me again. But I do stand by my statement.