Writing an introduction to describe Amrita Rao can easily be regarded as a task that is next to ‘impossible’. The actress has just been so versatile in her still young career that it makes it impossible for me to define her with catchy phrase or line. She’s transformed from the ‘sharmilee’ type of characters to a tomboy, to a suspicious housewife, to a village belle, to a widow and now recently has changed as always like a beautiful chameleon to adopt yet another persona for her latest outing Shorkut, one that may I say describe the Amrita that I see the most, and that is a superstar! Today in an industry crawling with her contemporaries she holds her head high as she glides amongst the filmi crowd where she’s one of the most well respected young artists we have today, having worked with some of the most prestigious names like Rajshri, Shyam Benegal, Farah Khan, John Mathew Mathan, and of course Anil Kapoor.
She continues to steadily climb the steep leader to success with the ease and elegance that you see her carry on screen and as she reaches new heights she pauses to give me one her most candid interviews yet!
The response everywhere for your latest avatar in Shorkut – The Con Is On has been huge with every headline and newspaper reiterating it many times, how does it make you feel receiving this sensational response to what some may call an ‘image make-over’, and more importantly was this conscious decision of changing your style?
Yes, I am grateful to the media and my fans who received the so-called make-over in good spirit. To be upfront, it wasn’t a makeover of any kind as such. I am pretty much chic in real life. It’s just that Manish Malhotra who has styled leading ladies of Bollywood, decided to style me in Shortkut. With Manish anything looks fabulous. If I had to consider walking the grand finale for Manish at Lakme Fashion Week before Shortkut, no one would have raised eyebrows. It is just a false perception due to my previous roles that people have of me being just a simple girl. When I started off with modelling, my job was to be coquette more often than it is now!
How important do you feel it is for an actress to keep on top of her looks and appearance in this field?
Beauty must be skin deep and not superficial. Re-invention of your personal sense of style, be it a change in hair style, clothes or body size is a must every year. An actress should not allow her outer appearance to be her deciding factor for her success in Bollywood. I am totally biased towards keeping your skin glowing, eating healthy, drinking loads of water, sleeping on time to preserve your youthfulness but am against plastic surgeries of any kind. We shouldn’t let cosmetology become the be all and end all of our life.
We’ve got quite a lot fashion gurus who’ve been very critical of your appearance in the past, do read such article if so how do you take on board all these opinions?
Fashion gurus are entitled to their opinion. But to date no fashion guru has ever criticized me to my face and it wouldn’t bother me. I guess it’s a part of their job to evaluate social icons and means of increasing their possibilities of signing on one such icon. It has happened to me in the past where people make statements and later approach me for business. It’s funny and weird.
Till date, you’ve adorned so many styles for your characters from Sanju in MHN, to Poonam in Vivah, to Kamla in WTS and now to Mansi in Shorkut, which character’s style do you think best represents your actual off-screen style?
Well, I am very versatile and experimental when it comes to a role in films. However, in reality Amrita is a down-to-earth girl who has no qualms in life with a youthful sense of style. I represent the youth of the 21st century. In fact Poonam was the toughest role for me to portray as in reality I am very well educated and forward in the way I think.
Coming to your films now your last out-and-out hit was Vivaah. After that you saw partial success with Welcome to Saajanpur, what do you think has gone wrong with the last few films?
Success can’t be judged by box office ratings or critic statements. Success for me is defined by the quality of the role I play. I decide upon doing a film when I am convinced that the script will add value to my learning process and I will be able to emerge as a stronger performer. Every actress goes through a phase of hits and flops. It’s a matter of destiny and I am not resentful for anything. I am sure God will be gracious enough the next time around.
Your role in Welcome to Saajanpur was given a lot of acclaim all over and even earned you the best actress award at Stardust Awards, did you expect such a response to the character of Kamla?
Well, I knew what I was in for, and I was happy that a decision that took me almost 6 months reaped concrete results. Again it was quite a challenge as I am not the village kind of girl and I so efficiently, if I may say so, got into the skin of Kamla and almost forgot who Amrita Rao was. Hard work always receives acclaim and your time has to be right.
Many would say that Indian cinema has become much bolder than what it used to be, how true do you think this is and how do you deal with role which are offered to you that are demanding in such a way?
Well, we need to move with the times, especially when Bollywood is no longer confined to Indian boundaries. We are making a powerful impact at international red carpet events and our performers are being taken seriously. I guess one person’s cup of tea could be another person’s cup of poison. Luckily for me I have never had to consider exposing beyond a socially acceptable level as leading directors/producers see more potential to me than skin show. If a role required me to be sexy, I would be more like Priyanka Chopra in Fashion. But I am not open to doing vulgar acts of lustful display of affection.
Specifically what do you need a role and script to encompass in order for you to literally ‘jump’ at the offer?
An unconventional script, co-stars with potential and an open-minded director. Not to forget, the moolah too! (Smiles)
How competitive do you feel Indian cinema is today, especially for actresses?
It entirely depends upon an individual’s personal perspective. Competition exists in all walks of life and it is how you apply the of rules of competition to your professional life. Yes, Bollywood has seen quick entries of new faces and quicker exits of the same faces. Once upon time it was only actresses who belonged to filmy backgrounds who had an easy ticket in Bollywood. Today, the scenario has changed with Bollywood becoming more global in its’ outlook. I guess every producer/director today is looking at actresses who are versatile and don’t only profess skin show. No matter how tough the competition gets, only the best survives. Once SRK told me an actor needs 40 films, a mix of hits and flops to be termed successful.
Your take on the following contemporaries of yours:
a. Kareena Kapoor – another industry person
b. Priyanka Chopra – professional and multi-talented star
c. Katrina Kaif – lady with luck and beauty
d. Deepika Padukone – well marketed actress with a local flavour
e. Sonam Kapoor – trusted friend and down-to-earth colleague
Moving onto life off-screen, how do you cope with controversial issues that constantly surround you such as the link ups with your co-stars Shahid and recently Harman?
Controversies are a part and parcel of any industry that is directly related to entertainment and glamour. It is the duty of the media to inform the fans of what their favourite star is doing on a daily basis. I personally prefer to stay away from any sort of speculative news that misleads my fans. Shahid and Harman are two of my favourite friends who I would definitely be working with in the future. I am glad our friendship is not affected by such news and in fact it shows that the audiences think we make a fantastic pairing.
The latest of these controversies is related to cricketer Irfan Pathan, what do you have to say about this latest news piece?
In fact what is astounding is that, Irfan and I have never even met or spoken till date. I guess he sees a fan in me and I completely appreciate that. But hey Irfan if you are reading this, I do love cricket and we should catch up someday!
Whilst on the topic of relationships what does Amrita Rao look for in her ideal man?
Umm… my ideal man is a man who is an embodiment of imperfection. Perfection as I have experienced previously leaves no scope for personal growth and discovery. My ideal guy has to be a man who honours his word and possesses thorough etiquette and a good sense of humour. I am also very particular on the way a man presents himself in society as a sophisticated sense of style always is like the icing on the cake.
Moving onto the near future, what’s next for you in terms of releases?
Well, I would like to be discreet about my future projects due to statutory obligations. However I assure you, Amrita will live up to her image of being a lucky mascot who delivers the hits in 2010. I am in the process of closing a few big banner projects with leading actors of the industry. I guess it’s about time I prove to my fans that it’s not only Shahid and me who make the eternal jodi, but also a John Abraham or a Neil Nitin Mukesh or a Ranbir Kapoor would equally complement me on the big screen.
Lastly, any special message to all the fans reading this today!
I have not disappeared anywhere. I am just taking my time to consider the right projects. To be successful, be patient and learn to rise with your head high when you fall. Till later, keep it safe and sexy!
It seems that we didn’t even have to dig the secret to her success out from all those words, she’s said it right there for you guys! “Be patient and learn to rise with your head high when you fall. Till later, keep it safe and sexy!” Well, Amrita we hope that you keep your charming self safe and sexy till the next time we catch in your busy schedule! Here’s wishing this superstar all the very best as she continues to spread her magic in the world of cinema!