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Interview: Vidya Balan talks about ‘Bobby Jasoos’

Bobby Jasoos - UK ReleaseOne of Bollywood’s finest actresses, Vidya Balan will turn super sleuth in her forthcoming film: Bobby Jasoos, which releases on 4th July 2014 in UK cinemas.

The gripping film sets a new benchmark for the thriller genre in Indian cinema and examines in a clever, witty and fresh way the dynamics of the gender struggle between women and men. The film celebrates the aspiration of ‘Bobby’ (Vidya Balan – The Dirty Picture, Parineeta), who wants to become the number one detective in the old city area of Hyderabad. What ensues is a classic thriller caper that serves up a tantalising mix of twists and turns, as the vivacious and engaging ‘Bobby’ solves a series of mind-boggling crime cases.

In this interview, Vidya Balan talks to Bollywood reporter Sunny Malik about the film and much more:

 

How do you chose your films, whether it’s Kahaani, Ghanchakkar, Shaadi Ke Side Effects or now Bobby Jasoos?
I think it’s a very instinctive decision. If I connect with the story, that is a big factor of my decision. Firstly, I look at whether this is a story I want to watch. Secondly, if it is one I want to tell. Thirdly, if from the capacity of my character, I want to be a part of it. It is a very instinctive process though. You know whether you want to do the film or not when you listen to the narration or reading the script. You don’t really process it as such but just know it instinctively. For me it is very important to spend time with my director, especially in this case for Bobby Jasoos. Samar Shaikh is a first time director. I needed to know him to be able to entrust myself to him during the making of the film, to follow his lead and to follow his instructions.  All these things are very crucial to me.

 

The trailer makes the film look like a frolic and happy movie. Do we see a lot of mystery in the film, like we do in detective films?
Obviously, there is the solving of the big mystery which you will see in length in the film. But Bobby Jasoos is not like other detective films. It stands apart because it is also Bobby’s story. Bobby is a small town girl with aspirations of becoming the best detective in her locality. It’s also a story of this girl coming of age and therefore, I think it is very well-timed, although not planned like that. I believe that India is coming of age in many ways and I am glad that Bobby Jasoos is releasing at this time.

There is a dialogue in the film where a man tells you “Just because you have watched a few James Bond movies, you think of yourself as a detective,” which happens to people quite a lot… They feel like they are detectives… Can you relate to that too?
(Laughs) Yes, I know that happens. I remember reading “The Famous Five” and “The Secret Seven” as a kid and I remember thinking that I have it in me to become a detective. I remember a few of my friends and I wanted to form a detective gang (laughs). I think that is what a good novel or film does to you. You begin to superimpose the film on yourself and the line gets blurred (laughs). Even in psychology, just because someone in your family has studied two chapters on the subject, they start to analyse everyone (laughs). Bobby is also not trained detective. She is actually an amateur. She is street smart and really just learns on the job. She uses her common sense and has a very practical mind. She is very intelligent and has a sharp mind. She is also cute, which helps a lot because she gets lucky a lot of time just because of her charm (laughs).

Dia Mirza recently said that the script of the film is very powerful. Did you contribute to the script at all?
No, it came to me as a finished script. They writers have penned down a wonderful script. Samar, the director is Muslim and the story is set in a Muslim background, which helps. Dia and Sahil, the producers, suggested that the setting should be old Hyderabad because it is a beautiful unexplored territory. Of course, I sat down with the writers and director to understand the script but I didn’t contribute to it. I think, they spent a lot of time on it before they came with it to me.

You will be seen in many avatars in the film… Was it a lot of hard work?
It was a lot of fun work (laughs). For an actor, to be yourself and dress up in different avatars is very thrilling. You know what, I never imagined myself to play a man on-screen. I have played many men in this film and have worn moustaches and beards. We have had many films where men have played women’s parts and today I feel that we have come a full circle. You actually have a woman now playing male parts.

Expectations are always are high when it’s a Vidya Balan film. Does that bother you?
One always hopes that one’s films do well. Bobby Jasoos is extremely close to my heart. I am very humbled by people’s expectations but I feel very encouraged and not pressured. It makes me feel very poignant. I am very hopeful and positive that people will love the film.

The UK market is very different. Do you feel that the audience has not evolved yet?
I don’t think it has to do with evolution. I think it is more about the connection. People overseas connect more to things that are entrenched in our culture. But in that very breath, I will say that Bobby Jasoos is very universal and will appeal to all South Asians all over the world. But it is also very rooted in our culture with its music, dance, language and colours. The emotion may be universal but there is that ‘Indianness’ in the film that people overseas crave for.

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