‘Bungee jumping was an absolute high’ – Aishwarya Rai

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Did you do the stunts in Dhoom:2 yourself?

A did do a couple of them, however, with the mantra being safety first. We did push ourselves to experience the adrenaline rush, because that’s what makes it super exciting in terms of what you deliver and what the audience gets to actually experience on screen. The high point was at Orabi Gorge, where we had the bungee jump. There’s this one moment where Hrithik’s character Aryan challenges Sunehri (my character) to jump, and she goes for it.

That was an absolute high. I’ve never experienced literally jumping off the edge; it’s like jumping off a diving board. It was quite a moment for both Hrithik and me, because just next to us, there was a trickle of waterfall. So we could actually see water drops going down in slow motion!

Are you playing a negative role in Dhoom:2?

I guess assumptions are fine, because it keeps the curiosity about the film alive. But I won’t define my character as negative or positive, because she’s a livewire, and has a personality that’s just typically her.

It was definitely exciting for me to discover and deliver Sunehri. One moment she’s exuding excitement, in another she’s hero-worshipping Mr A (Hrithik Roshan), and the next she’s challenging him. In that sense, just like Mr A, even Sunehri will take the audience a while to figure out.

The process of etching out nuances of each character was something we brought to the table as a team, right from the director to the stylist.

This is your first film with Hrithik and Bipasha; how was the experience of working with them?

Superlative! Abhishek, Uday and Hrithik know each other since childhood. They’d constantly share anecdotes on the sets. I must say Bipasha’s a really cool girl, and I am glad we were a team on this film, because the camaraderie was genuine. The team was great and I say that especially of my co-star, Hrithik. We even did a world tour and a commercial together. Earlier, I guess both of us were psyched by our perception of each other as being extremely professional, detailed, and almost obsessive about work.

What did you think of Dhoom?

It was definitely a cluster breaker and a family entertainment film.

It’s good to know that Dhoom was well embraced. So I feel that the idea of Dhoom:2 is brilliant, and Adi knew what he was doing when he came up with this idea. The pulse and pace of this movie will be universally enjoyed.

With so several of your releases lined up, what makes Dhoom:2 special?

The fact that it’s happening in the tenth year of my film career! There have been many offers to do roles that are westernized, but I have been very choosy.

This was a tough offer to resist. It offered me the opportunity to play an out-and-out westernized character, which was youth oriented, trend setting, fashionable and fun. Yes, I chose to project myself in a way I’ve never been portrayed before, because I felt it was natural and went with the language of the film.

Did you do any kind of special preparation for the role?

The visual was very imperative, as a pre-requisite, and it’s something we as a team agreed we’d work on.

Here, it zeroed in on the physical appearance in terms of fitness, and since I was going to dress a certain way, I needed to be the person who wore those clothes. People who have well toned bodies, naturally dress a certain way. When you’ve really worked on your midriff, you are happy to wear shorter tops; when you have worked on your legs, you naturally wear short skirts, because you are likely to feel natural and comfortable in those clothes. So that was a body type that I was determined to work on. I was very glad to discover that when I get down to working out, my body responded very quickly.

I had worked with the stylist for Dhoom:2, Anaita, several times before, when I was modeling. So she knows my body type, my aesthetics, my comfort level and me. The clothing seems natural and very me, even though I will be seen for the first time in a western mould.

We’ve also experimented with the make up and styling. I worked with Subbu, who I know from my advertising and modeling days. We did a one-day test shoot with my dear friend Farooque and once we arrived at Sunehri’s look, she was ready to go on set. Obviously the final nod came from Adi.

While we knew that the visual aspect of the character was very important, we made sure the personality and mannerisms were also very specific to the character.

Were you uncomfortable with the idea of wearing skimpy clothes?

If you do find Sunehri sexy, she just is, she isn’t someone who’s working to turn the heat on in every frame. I thought it was great that wearing shorts or short skirts, dressing a certain way, was just natural to the character.

I don’t need to resort to tactics to get attention, thank you very much! I have more than my fair share of it even in my saris! It’s not something I needed to explore for the sake of the apparent, it was a definite character created, and it’s just the language of the entire film.

We’ve shot in Rio, where it was only natural to be dressed a certain way.

What was the best moment during the course of shooting the film?

I must confess I thoroughly enjoyed the team, off-screen as well. There were a lot of laughs and a lot of fun. There has been a lot of talk about the fitness regime, but that’s something I focused on only a month or so before the shooting of the film.

Both Abhishek and I had to gain weight for Mani Ratnam’s Guru. So I suggested we take Deepika (the fitness instructor) with us to do whatever we could a few weeks before the shoot.

The fun part was that every body would be in the gym, not just the actors. We’d be sincere, but then make plans for dinners, and convince ourselves that what we eat will show only 20 days later.

Time and tide will be able to define the strength of the friendships, but nevertheless, our bonding definitely went beyond being co-stars. And that is something I really cherish.

How was the experience of shooting on South Africa?

South Africa has a very special place in my heart. I won my title in Sun City at Johannesburg. I’ve also shot a couple of films like Dil Ka Rishta there, so my memories of the place are very warm.

Even the year I was giving up the title, when Amitji was on the panel of the jury, it was overwhelming to see the strength with which our people had descended to Sun City and the applause that he was rendered with.

It was great fun going back there and shooting for Dhoom:2. I am glad that every time I’ve gone there, whether for shooting or a pageant, I’ve come back with super success. So I guess that’s a good sign.

What next? Can we expect to see you in more action films?

There’s Guru and Provoked. Pre Dhoom:2, I made Last Legion opposite Colin Firth, where I play a warrior. The film has action, and I had to learn how to sword fight.

So that was technically my first experience in the action genre. I am glad that within the last year and now, I have actually done action scenes set both in ancient Rome and in contemporary biker times. I keep teasing that now I have tasted blood, and I can’t wait to have more such experiences.

That’s the most fantastic part of our job; we get to experience things that people just think or dream about. We get to experience life through our filmmaking and I think that’s a blessing.

Also read:
‘Hrithik & Aishwarya bring a whole new dimension to Dhoom:2’ – Abhishekh Bachchan

‘Dhoom:2 is to the point, fast & exhilarating’ – Hrithik Roshan

‘Dhoom:2 is about great stunts, great looking people and great bodies’ – Bipasha Basu

‘If Dhoom was about speed & adrenalin, then Dhoom:2 is twice as high in energy’ – Uday Chopra