Lakshmi V (BOMBAY TIMES; July 22, 2017)

She is just like Sweety, her character in Mubarakan funny, feisty and a total firecracker. Despite juggling a choc-a-block schedule and city-hopping to promote the Anees Bazmee directorial, Ileana D'Cruz was bursting with energy when we caught up with her for a quick conversation. In a heart-to-heart chat, the sassy lady spoke to us about the challenges she faced while playing a typical Punjabi kudi in this mad caper, how she doesn't mind doing two-heroine films and her reluctance to talk about her love life. Excerpts:

Mubarakan features one Anil Kapoor and two Arjun Kapoors! The making of the film must have been a fun ride in itself...
Yes, and the energy they brought on the set was infectious. Sense of humour probably runs in their family. Despite being a senior, Anil ji is respectful of Arjun's suggestions. They are professionals on the set, but the minute the camera stops rolling, they become this inseparable uncle-nephew jodi, cracking jokes and pulling people's legs. The two, along with writer Balli ji (Balwinder Singh Janjua), would play a lot of pranks on me. Once, while shooting in Chandigarh, they showed me portraits of people and asked me to identify them. I messed it up and I think I called someone Daler Mehndi.

You play a moohphat Punjabi girl in the film. Being a Goanese, was it difficult to get the style and diction of your character right?
I sign films based on the story, so when Anees came to me with this script, I was quite excited, especially because the comedy factor was mind-blowing. But at the same time, I thought that he must be crazy to cast a true blue Goan like me as a Punjabi. Sweety is a strong woman; when she gets mad, she rattles off in Punjabi. I was very sure from the beginning that I didn't want to look like someone who is trying to pass off as a Punjaban. Their culture is colourful and the language, beautiful. So, I wanted to pronounce the words correctly and be fluent in the language. I sat with the writers and asked them to repeat the sentences till I got them right.

The film also stars Athiya Shetty in the lead. Interestingly, in most of your Bollywood films, you've shared screen space with another heroine (Priyanka Chopra in Barfi!, Nargis Fakhri in Main Tera Hero, Kalki Koechlin in Happy Ending and Esha Gupta in Rustom)...
I believe that characters are fleshed out for each actor right from the beginning. I have heard of instances when roles have changed well into the film's shooting, and even I have experienced it in the past. Catfights happen when you are not sure if your role is turning out the way it was narrated to you. Then, you develop insecurities; you are anxious to look better than the other person and act better than them. I'm happy with the way my character in Mubarakan has shaped up. I'm not insecure, that's why I have no issues sharing screen space with another actress or doing a two-heroine film. In fact, I've met Athiya even before we started shooting for the film. There are some who pretend to be nice while talking to you, but talk bad behind your back. Athiya is very genuine and we hit it off right from day one. Ditto with Esha Gupta; we both did Rustom together and now, we are doing Baadshaho as well.

You debuted in Bollywood with a critically-acclaimed performance in Barfi! (2012). While many assumed you'd go on a signing spree, you've just had four releases since then...
I had committed the stupid mistake of signing too many South movies at the same time. I would literally jump from one set to the other and didn't really get to enjoy the process of filmmaking. I don't want to commit the same mistake in Bollywood. I don't want to do things with out realising what I am doing. Now, I have become very choosy about my films and want to make an informed decision. Even if a film doesn't work out, I should feel satisfied that I gave my 100 per cent to the project.

Lately, you've not signed any films down South either, despite having a huge fan base there...
When I didn't have a release in Bollywood for almost a year and-a-half, many thought that I'd return to the South. I loved working there and I love working in Bollywood, too. I will still do films there, but it will not be because of lack of work in Bollywood. I haven't been able to sign any movie there because I haven't been able to find time. I was in discussion for a few films, but they didn't work out. We make so many amazing, crazy, colourful films in the South and I love playing the glamourous heroine.

You don't shy away from posting pictures with your Aussie beau Andrew Kneebone on social media, but we have not seen you speak openly about him to the media. Why is that?
I've done that in the past, but things went out of hand. You often get misquoted or the other person misunderstands you, which is fine because it's human error. So, I figured that the best way is to not talk about it. My personal life is private for a reason. Social media gives you the luxury to tell the world only as much as you want to reveal. So, it's better for both of us. Also, I don't want people intruding into his privacy.

So, is marriage on the cards anytime soon?
No! Why's everyone obsessed with me getting married?