‘Aafreen’ Girl Lisa Ray Opens Up On Her Impending Wedding

Lisa Ray and her 'hubby-to-be' Jason
Lisa Ray and her ‘hubby-to-be’ Jason

Lisa Ray speaks to Subhash K Jha on her impending wedding:

How much of your Indian background would be visible in your wedding on Oct 20? Would you be wearing Indian clothes?

Wendell Rodricks is designing my wedding gown and he’s a very dear friend who has known me since I first landed in Bombay in 1991. There will be a strong Indian influence in our Wedding starting with the sangeet on Friday night. My friend Suphala who is an extremely accomplished tabla player based in New York will be performing that evening. I will be wearing a Tarun Tahiliani anarkali outfit, and on the Wedding day I will change into a Satya Paul sari. I also have a lovely Laila Motwani ensemble. Jason will be rocking in a custom-designed Raghu Rathore bandgala. Raghu is also an old friend. We’ve been joking that since both my father and Jason are wearing exactly the same Rathore band-galas, I have to get a string of pearls for Jason to wear in order to stand out!

Would there be any invitees from Mumbai, specially the entertainment industry at your wedding?

The most beautiful experience so far is how much all my friends are getting into the spirit of the Wedding. All my non-Indian girlfriends have gone shopping for saris and a close friend of mine from LA recently took her husband shopping for Indian wear. While everyone was showing him sober Nehru jackets he spotted an elaborately embroidered sherwani on a mannequin in the store and insisted on trying it on. He bought it! We will be having another reception in India next year to celebrate with all the friends and family who can’t make it out to Napa Valley.

Are you planning to relocate to India? Apparently you’ve been searching for a suitable home to buy in Mumbai?

Jason and I are going to explore many options in the near future. At the moment we have just bought a house in Toronto and we will need some time to settle into our new life together. I am eager to spend more time in India but I will always have a foot in both worlds. I’ve just come out of a demanding filming schedule. I have to put the finishing touches on my book. I have optioned a novel called The Tiger’s Claw to turn into a film. It is based on a historical character I’ve been obsessed with for years. I can’t wait to perform again, but it has to be the right project. I just finished a campaign for Pantene called ‘Beautiful Lengths’ where we ask people to grow and donate their hair to make real hair wigs for women battling cancer. It was a wonderful experience to film this campaign in Toronto.

You are shooting for Top Chef. You did a film based on cooking with Dilip Mehta. Are you a good cook? Would you be doing a lot of cooking after marriage?

I’m passionate about food and eating, even more so now that I’m doing another season of Top Chef Canada.

How attached are you to the Bengali side of your family history? Can you speak Bangla? Do you crave to reclaim your Bengali bearings?

My Bengali heritage is extremely important to me. It’s in my blood. On my last trip to Bombay I connected with old friends like Vikram Bhatt and John Abraham.

You did Kasoor with Vikram Bhatt and much later the enchanting Water with Deepa Mehra. How do you see your journey as an actor so far?

There’s so much talent and momentum in Bollywood now. I love watching this era of Bollywood films. I always get a few offers from Bollywood. Post-marriage once the dust settles, I will be planning my next chapter. I have been so lucky. My career was a happy accident. I didn’t plan on any of it. From becoming a super model at 16 to starring in iconic videos like Afreen Afreen to starring in feature films like Kasoor and Water and OMG and Top Chef. It’s been a beautiful trajectory.

And how would you like to take this journey forward?

I want to share my story and my adventures. A large part of my life recently has been informed by spirituality and the search for self realization. Our lives cannot be reduced to sound bites. People may not realize how much my spiritual seeking has defined my life and choices in the past few years. But I’m sure it had something to do with how I managed my cancer experience.

A slightly personal question, considering you are 40, would you be pursuing motherhood immediately after marriage?

Motherhood is on the cards, but let’s see. I want my children to be immersed in both the East and West, as I was. And yes, I’m looking forward to being a wife and being Jason’s ‘plus one’. Every woman can make a difference. Change starts with yourself and your family. Women have the power to influence society because we are the source of creation.

What are the immediate plans after the wedding?

I’m doing a walk for Multiple Myeloma with Jason just six days before our wedding. Life never ceases to amaze.