exclusive by Devansh Patel
Eesha Koppikar believes that there is a price to pay when you work for a Rajshree Production film. The price she paid was that it turned out to be her best ever role she's been waiting for since she began her acting career. The slender and sensuous actress illustrates the physical and mental wear and tear of being hurled into a Rajshree film. So all is not 'khallas' for this Bollywood beauty. What follows after Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi is her next best role in Shabri where she plays a woman sandwiched between the mafia and the cops. Gone are her Company days she tells me, there is much more to her than just a glamour doll. That was then, this is now. Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi is out now in cinemas near you but if you thought that Koppikar is just all face and no acting, believe me, she is sure to stun you this time around. Dressed to hilt in her Indian outfits in the film, she looks absolutely tempting. In this Bollywood Hungama exclusive Eesha gets into a perfect marriage material type talking about Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi, her ongoing relationship with her boyfriend and their marriage plans.
Working with Rajshree Productions is a revelation in itself. Did you ever dream of it that one day you'll work with them?
Once we enter Bollywood, any actor on his or hers wish list has a couple of production houses he or she wants to work with. Rajshree is one of them and I was no different. I've always wanted to work with Rajshree because of the way they portray human emotions on screen and the way they present their female leads. Rajshree's moto is simple living and high thinking. They are such a wonderful bunch of people to work with.
What makes Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi different from other Rajshree films?
The genre is more or less the same, what Rajshree uses in all their films. But the film will be a bit different as far as the story is concerned. It's not too much of a family involved this time. It's about a struggle of a woman and how a man stands by her. I play a typical Rajshree heroine and Sonu Sood plays a typical 'Prem', Rajshree's favourite. Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi is a new look to Rajshree cinema in a way.
So how was it to work with a face not known by many in Bollywood - Sonu Sood?
There is always a first time for everyone. Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi is Sonu's first big film and even mine. I don't think anybody has presented me in a way as Rajshree has. This is one of my best films in my career I've done, including Shabri, which is yet to be released.
What was so challenging after you mentioned that you've never been presented like this before?
I've never got an oppurtunity to showcase my talent in a way I've done in this film. I've never really got a script of this kind and the length too. You will never see the emotions portrayed by me in this film somewhere else in my earlier films. To bring out the emotions and serious acting is the biggest challenge an actor goes through and if you are successful in that, you've won the battle.
Which Rajshree films inspired you the most?
Maine Pyaar Kiya. I was very small when I saw the film but I remember falling in love with Salman Khan after seeing the film. Even Hum Aapke Hai Kaun inspired me and somewhere down the line I wanted to be a part of that film. Now that I am, I have no regrets.
How was the experience of not being directed by Sooraj Barjatya?
I have no complaints as long I am working for the banner Barjatya. I can tell you something about working with the debutant Kaushikda. He looks frail and fragile, thin and short man but he has got a tremendous command over what he wants to bring out of his actors. He is so thorough in whatever he was doing. I didn't go for any singing lessons because Kaushikda's vision is so good that I did whatever he told me to do. I was very convinced. The first day he started narrating the script to me, I started crying.
Rajshree is synonymous with its music too. Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi doesn't sound blockbuster kind. What say?
Well, I could be a little biased here because it's my film. I think there is a lot of variety in this film. I'm a folk singer, there is a Qawali, classical and ghazal. Then there are situational songs which move the film forward and backward six to seven years. There are songs with only two para's to add to the scene. At the end of it, you feel that there should've been more than 12 songs. It's a Rajshree music afterall.
You're looking the most beautiful in this film than all the other films we've seen you in.
Thank you so much. What happens is that a lot of time your role may be good or ok, but not that much effort is taken in presenting the character. I am not talking about the actor here. Not much homework is done about the character. So somewhere the actor does not look convincing in that particular role. But the amount of effort and research we've done before the shoot reflects in our work. I play Chandni in the film and I relate to her to a very large extent because I come from a very close-knit family. I'm very close to my parents. I believe that once you make a relation, whether it's a friend, boyfriend, daughter-mother or a daughter-father, till you die you have to maintain it. I will maintain all my relations till my last breath. Plus credit should also go to Ana Singh who's designed our costumes. They look so simple and yet so stunning.
What about the other roles which you've portrayed in your previous films? Aren't they special?
They are special but I do not identify with the 'khallas' kind of roles I've played in the past. Infact, I've done about twelve films in the South before I played a 'khallas' girl. All my South fans were pretty surprised and told me that they couldn't imagine me playing such a role. They couldn't see me so glamourised. I've always played a girl-next-door type of roles there. I am more comfortable playing the latter than the bold and glamourous types. The three films I've enjoyed doing the most are Kya Kool Hain Hum, Shabri and Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi. The other film I'm really looking forward after this one is Hello Darling where I play a Haryanvi girl who comes to Mumbai for a job.
Do you think now-a-days, Rajshree going audiences have patience to watch a long film?
Well, this film is two hours and ten minutes long. But you're right. Today, the audiences have lost patience. They are more restless but at the same time the script matters. Kaushikda is famous on small screen after directing serials like 'Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi' and 'Sanjeevani'. That's how he started. So he is very fast and not used to stretching it too much. When you speak to him you'll understand his sensibilities. I myself was shocked. I did a film in 120 days, which is almost half a year. You normally finish a film in three months. So I was shocked to see the film is of such a short duration, not because they've edited anything from the film. Hardly anything has been edited. It's because the cast and the crew have shot this film with so much love and affection.
We've also seen that Rajshree has a habit of releasing their film with fewer prints and then hitting it big. Will Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi see the same results?
It's their style. I guess they have complete faith and belief in their product. In the overseas market this film will do very well because in the U.K and the U.S, family dramas work the most. They love the human emotions and in some ways the overseas audiences miss our culture and heritage. This is the only way they can relate to it, through films.
So, the spell change is working for you huh?
Yeah. I've changed my name now. Somebody came up to me last November and said that my name which spells with an 'I' is not falling on an auspicious number and thus I should change it. The whole mankind tries and hopes. So I went for it. Let's see if it works.
Brief us a bit about Shabri.
Shabri is a story of a spoilt woman in Mumbai city and how she is sandwiched between the mafia and the cops. It's my best ever role and it's directed by yet another debutant Lalit Marathe. He had written Ram Gopal Varma's Bhoot.
So the entire journey of the Vivaah was smooth. Nothing went wrong?
Actually it's good you mentioned this because one day on the sets I collapsed. I was dehydrated and was immediately taken to my dad's hospital.
We've been talking about Vivaah all this while. Let's get more serious. When do you plan to get married?
I really don't know. With six releases this year, definitely not. I've just got into a relationship and have started dating a guy. So will take a while. Having said that, we are very serious about each other and are planning to get married but not so soon. We haven't fixed any dates as of now but will keep you posted as soon as I'm ready.