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Bollywood beauty Lara Dutta has already starred in several comedies, like No Entry, Bhagam Bhag, Partner and Do Knot Disturb.
Now, the former Miss Universe is prepared to continue that trend, with yet another comedy, Housefull.
The film tells the story of Aarush, played by Akshay Kumar, who believes that his bad luck will change only after he finds true love.
Housefull is directed by Sajid Khan, and represents his second turn in the director's chair, following 2007 hit Heyy Babyy.
It's a multi-starrer, featuring Riteish Deshmukh, Deepika Padukone, Jiah Khan, Arjun Rampal, Boman Irani, Randhir Kapoor and Chunkey Pandey alongside Lara and Akshay.
In an interview with Patcy N, Lara describes working with Sajid Khan, tells us why she does so many comedies, and gives her thoughts on the Bollywood of today.
Tell us about your character.
She lives and studies in London, and also works in a casino there. She doesn't know much Gujarati, but her heart is very Indian. Her father, played by Boman Irani, lives in Ahmedabad and speaks proper Gujarati. So whenever her father calls, he has to listen to her answering machine, which has a voice message in Gujarati. She falls in love with a non-Gujarati and marries him, and her only wish in life is that her father accepts her husband.
How was playing a Gujarati girl?
During the very initial scripting period, Sajid was tossing around the idea of what my character should be: a Parsi, a Gujarati or a Punjabi. I am bored of playing Punjabi characters, so I told him not to make her Punjabi. Sajid later decided that the character should be Gujarati and should speak in Gujarati too. He named her Hetal. I found the name very funny. In fact, all the names of charcters in the film are funny, like Batuk Patel. But since the film is in Hindi, we have not used too much Gujarati, just simple dialogues that the regular Hindi-speaking crowd can also understand.
So did you have to learn Gujarati?
I learnt quite a lot. When I was dubbing, we had a Gujarati artist come in to help me with the pronunciations, to make sure that they came out well. It was great fun. Boman is very fluent in Gujarati, so when he would start saying his dialogue in Gujarati, he would forget that the film is in Hindi and take off. Sajid would then have to tell him, 'Boman, it is not a Gujarati film.'
So do you have Gujarati looks too?
My look in the film is very modern, as my character stays in London and works there too. She is very savvy and loves to carry designer bags. She is not rich, but she is stylish.
What are your expectations for Housefull?
It is a great entertainer. It is not a mindless comedy. It has a tight screenplay, so if you are not following it, all the confusion may cause you to los the plot somewhere. So it is very important to stick with it. It has good music too.
Why are you doing so many comedy films?
Because I am good at it [laughs]. I like doing comedy, and most of the films that I am offered are comedy films. Comedy works, as at the end of the day everybody wants to go to the theatre and have a good time. Nobody really wants to see social dramas, which is what we'd otherwise see. We have had feel good films, romantic films, comedies and a few action films in the last couple of years.
Last year I did Billu, which was not a comedy. Then I did an action film, Blue. Do Knot Disturb was a comedy. You have to pick and find your balance somewhere. Now, I would like to take break from comedy and look at doing something else.
What do you think about this new type of films that are made like LSD [Love Sex Aur Dhokha]?
LSD is a new genre and was made with a small budget. Blue was something different, on a big budget. You need people taking these chances because that is the only way that the industry will grow.
I saw Well Done Abba a few days back, and it was really interesting. There are different kind of films made today, and that is the most exciting thing in the industry. There are producers, small and big, trying to change things. For example, Karan Johar made Wake Up Sid with Ranbir and Konkona Sen Sharma, which was an unusual pair. We have Red Chillies doing a super hero film Ra.One.
Everybody is making economy films today, which is a sensible thing to do. It is great to do a Housefull, which is a big commercial film, but at the same time, as an actor you need creative satisfaction too. So you do a film that may not have a big budget, but which will give you the opportunity to perform. If you are able to do a mixed bag like that, you are very fortunate.
You tried doing a variety of roles last year but none of them worked.
Honestly, for me, I will never regret doing Billu. It worked personally for me as an actor, because I got a good audience reaction and good responses from within the industry. Same with Blue, because it reinvented me. I got myself into shape at a level I've never been before, and people definitely stood up and took notice of it.
And if David Dhawan ever asks me to do a film, I will do it, because David Dhawan is the god of comedy. And I don't doubt David's sensibility. Every film of yours is not going to work.
What are your forthcoming films?
I have Bandha Hai Bindaas Hai, which is ready for release. But I don't know the release date yet. I have short-listed a few films that I want to do but have not yet signed them. Of the films I have short-listed, none are comedies. But if something really fabulous comes along, I may think of doing it. I will only sign a film after Housefull releases.