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BASUNAMA

Fame matters to me: Bips

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Bipasha Basu is back in the Bhatt camp with 'Raaz 3' in 3D. As the 33-year-old actress embarks on the second phase of her career post break-up with long-term boyfriend John Abraham, she tells TOI-Crest what it takes to survive in this industry as an actress.

You play a fading star in 'Raaz 3', tell us about that

I play a character called Shanaya, a very beautifully written role by Shagufta Rafique and Vikram Bhatt. The role talks about the sensitivities of actors everywhere in the world. All of us actors want to be successful but when we reach the pinnacle of success we don't want to accept the fact we will fade one day. An actor suffers two deaths - one when his/her fame dies and the other, the real death. It's a brutal life - when you are successful, everybody applauds you and when it's time to fade away, nobody remembers you. To deal with that you have to have guts of steel and not every human being is born like that. Actors are very fragile individuals. There is that inherent sense of insecurity that every actor lives with. Shanaya projects that.

Of late, actors are increasingly seeking solace in spiritualism and religion.


We actors are so vulnerable and superstitious. Whenever our films are due for release, we go to the gods. I go. Shanaya is like that and when she feels that the gods have let her down - the younger stars start threatening her position - she stars dabbling in dark magic and devil worship.

Do you believe in black magic?


I have only as much knowledge of it as a lay person. It is something I have heard of. That's about it.

Do you fear competition from newcomers?


We get newcomers every year and this is something I've been asked a lot. But it was only when I was playing the character that I realised how much this business matters to me. If I was asked this question sometime earlier, I would have said - you know if it's time to go, it's time to go. I did not even know how much fame matters to me till the time I started questioning myself to perform Shanaya honestly. I realised fame does matter to me.

Mahesh Bhatt has pointed out you are not a babe anymore and that you are at a point in your career where you can't play teeny-bopper roles. How do you react to that?


Honestly, people still think that I'm a babe (laughs). It's Bhatt saab's way of thinking but I know what he's hinting at. We've had this conversation where he'd said, 'You've done the babe roles. It's now time to play the district attorney roles. ' What he meant was that now everything I touch has to have substance.

Is it a struggle to remain relevant in a male dominated industry?


For all my female contemporaries, the basic struggle is how to last in the industry. To last, sometimes you have to play safe. And to play safe, you have to sometimes do very stereotypical roles. At times, you have to play absolutely nothing in a hero-centric film. I've done all of that. Some were successful, some not. I've also done a lot of films where my character has added substance to my personality.

So how are you ensuring your longevity as a star?


I'm very greedy about roles. I want to do commercially sound films. I don't want to do offbeat films just to prove that I'm a good actor. I want to do roles with realism in commercially entertaining films. That's the whole idea behind my next film Singularity, which is my first global release sometime in January-February next year. I'm so proud that I played Shanaya in Raaz 3, Maya in Atma and Tuluja Naik in Singularity. They are all strong roles in fabulously entertaining films.

You moved from being a glamorous heroine to a de-glam middle class heroine in 'Apaharan'.


When I started off, I was called an unconventional actress for my bohemian look, my height, my dusky skin. I was so-called sexy which I was okay with. But at that time people used 'sexy' as an abusive term. Then I did Jism. People thought I was committing suicide. But it gave rise to another kind of heroine who was not scared of being sexy and who could flaunt a good body;she could do roles that were not stereotypical and were not about playing miss-goody-two-shoes. It's more challenging for an actor anywhere in the world to play a dark role. Heath Ledger said that his role in Batman was the most challenging because it was so dark.

You are back with Vishesh films after a long gap


Yeah, they treat me like their little kid. In between, I was not working with them because I believe that you have to find yourself. They definitely laid the foundation for me and they do not believe in the star system. They make stars. That has been their agenda over the years and they have done very well for themselves. They don't go back to actors who've become stars, but over the years they've offered me lots of roles. But it didn't happen for various reasons. I told them I needed something better than Raaz and Jism, a different kind of woman. And Shanaya is the right reason to come back to Vishesh films.

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