For a film that broke no box-office records, it proved a landmark in Lara’s career, and she refers to it frequently with affection and gratitude. JBJ has changed my position in the movie business. I have become very choosy. I don’t perceive myself as frivolous any longer. Such recognition has come after a long time for me. There have been ups and downs in my career, but thankfully, none of that has kept me down.
Many would claim she is poised to enter Bollywood’s A-list.
2007 has changed the course of my career, which is on the right track now, Lara happily states. Today I do need to make the right choices and keep my head on my shoulders. Every actor has his or her own priorities. Mine is not about being part of the numbers game. My priority is to act, to do good work. When I leave this industry, I want people to remember me as a good actress, not necessarily as the number one or number two actress.
For someone who joined the industry with no film background, I think I have done pretty well for myself, she flashes that dazzling smile without a jot of complacency. After all, I have already worked with Karan Johar (Kaal) and the Yashraj banner. I think that’s an achievement of sorts. If one wants to make it really big, getting the right banners and right heroes is very important, but I never did follow that strategy my focus has always been on what I could bring to a role. Today I truly believe that my time has come, she announces with quiet pride.
My run in the film industry has started and I have figured out which people I want to work with and the kind of films I want to do. All this while, I have been finding myself as an actor. And, I loved the process. I am glad I did those three scene films and item numbers, because now I know what to do and what not to do. I guess a sense of maturity has crept into my attitude towards my work. It was a training period for me, a time to lern the ropes, so to speak, because I am not from any filmi Khandaan.
After Partner, one had expected her to go on a signing spree, and sign at least one film with Salman Khan. But nothing seems to have happened. And after promoting her for Mr And Mrs Khanna, Salman now wants Deepika Padukone in the role! Lara doesn’t like controversies. That’s not true. When Salman and I sign a film, the script has to be good, surpassing Partner. I am sure we will definitely work together in future.
She has, however, signed a film with her other Partner costar Govinda – Ravi Chopra’s new film, Banda Yeh Bindass Hai, which is a remake of the English film, My Cousin Vinny. Yeah, that’s one film I am looking forward to. I am lucky to get a chance to work with such an actor, as it would be a great challenge matching comic timing with Govinda. I take it as a compliment that I got a role where I have to work alongside accomplished actors like Boman Irani, Paresh Rawal and Govinda. I also have Sudhir Mishra’s and Devdas, where I play a modern version of Paro. That is one role I am dying to do.
One hears that after all the hits, she has increased her fee dramatically and is now charging Rs.55 Lakh per film!
I charge what I deserve. And people who are paying me my price are happy. So who’s complaining? She asks.
Lara looked now in 2007, and it’s all thanks to her diet. Lara’s now a vegetarian and she loves having changed over. As she puts it, I am a vegetarian by option, as non-vegetarian food can be harmful in many ways. I am into yoga, she explains, and vegetarian food has helped me a lot. Surprisingly, I thought I would crave for non-vegetarian food if I saw some one else eating it, or that I would just feel like having it – but I haven’t.
Not even at parties?
I am not a party person, I prefer watching a movie rather than going to a party. I love watching films in multiplexes, meeting people and enjoying the whole experience with popcorn and so on. For those who didn’t know, she doesn’t hide behind a burkha either!
So look around you next time you watch a film. Lara Dutta just might be sitting beside you!