The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, November 18, 2001

"I must have been a princess in my past life!"
Asha Singh

HINDI cinema has been extremely kind to Bipasha Basu. With absolutely no background or training in films, she could bag the female lead in Ajanabee with some of Bollywood’s biggest names like directors Abbas and Mustan and co-stars Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor and Bobby Deol.

Bipasha’s performance in Ajnabi has been applauded by critics 

Oddly enough, the film flopped, but Bipasha’s performance has been roundly applauded by critics and audiences alike. And the best part is that this sultry ramp model is already into another "high voltage" film, Raaz — soon to be followed by David Dhawan’s Chor Machaye Shor, Vikram Bhatt’s Aitbaar, Vipul Shah’s Aankehn and Ajay Chandhok’s Nehle Pe Dehla.

"At the moment, its films, films and more films," she asserts. "I am completely fascinated by the magic of this medium and giving 100 per cent of myself to it. Acting can actually be a very demanding profession. At the same time, I am learning so much with every passing day."

Few actresses have made it so good so soon. And Bipasha isn’t denying that luck has been on her side — more so when she had never considered cinema as a career option and was in fact, taken aback when she saw the rushes of Ajnabee for the first time. She just couldn’t recognise herself on the big screen!


"I guess I will have to get used to this stranger now," she says with a twinkle.

Then on a serious note, she explains that much as Ajnabee turned out to be a "dream debut" for her, she could not be really proud of her performance. "I seem so raw there," she points out. "That was because Iwas experimenting with a new field. There was no driving ambition to excel. It was only midway into the film that I began to seriously think about making a career as an actress."

Bipasha was, in fact, doing very well for herself as a model before that. She was among the successful few Indian models being constantly seen on the ramps of Paris and Milan. In India, her campaigns for some leading clothiers and beauty products were also keeping her in the limelight.

It was producer Vijay Galani, who, after spotting her at a fashion show, introduced her to Abbas-Mustan. "I think newcomer who wants to make it in films should first work with these directors," Bipasha recommends. "They have a way of explaining scenes. They pointed out that I needed to be a little more exaggerated in my reactions for a touch of drama on screen. And that applied to clothes and make-up too."

This learning experience she says, helped her with Raaz. Here, Bipasha plays a girl who is sceptical about ghosts till they start haunting her and people suspect that she has lost her sanity. But more than the thrill of participating in a "supernatural thriller", the film had left a lasting impact on her psyche.

"While working in Raaz, I heard of so many paranormal incidents from almost every member of the unit that I actually began to see things," she narrates. "I remember, while we were in Delhi, we stayed in this house that was really weird. The doors creaked and the locks were rusty. It made us all very uncomfortable and we moved out of it as soon as possible."

Warming up on the subject, she continues: "I now know spirits do exist. I believe in rein carnation as well. I remember how astonished I was when I went to Paris. It was my first visit and yet, Iknew every lane and by-lane. All the churches were so familiar. Of course, I never spoke about this to anyone, because they’d think I was mad. But I know for certain, I must have been a princess in my past life!"

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