Bipasha Basu’s mother is calling her. But she doesn’t take the call. She stares at the phone while it rings once, twice… and then answers it. “I have eaten ma,” she says instantly. “Yeah, my day is going well. Don’t worry. I love you too.” She flashes her charming smile as she puts down the phone. “It would probably have rung about 25 times had I not answered it. It’s sweet that she’s so determined,” she giggles. You see a softer side to this self-assured actress the moment she talks about her family. The mere mention of her siblings and parents almost brings a tear to her eye. “I’m daddy’s girl. I was my dad’s favourite, so I used to be under pressure from my siblings. They used to give me gaalis (abuse),” she laughs, adding, “My father and I recently received an honour from the the State Government of Bengal. We were felicitated by Mamata Banerjee. That was the best day of my life. I could see the pride he felt. Nothing is more satisfying than the feeling of making your parents proud. It makes you feel good about yourself. When the world abandons you, your family will be there for you. During my lowest phases they’ve been there, what more can I ask for?”
Though Bipasha has seen failure and heartbreak in equal measure, the actress is intrinsically a happy person. She can’t stay miserable for long because she believes that life’s too short to be unhappy. “You just can’t take happiness out of me,” she grins. “Your experiences shouldn’t leave you cynical. When you turn bitter, you actually harm yourself because you close up and miss out on so much. We all make mistakes, we all go through sh**. But you learn from it and move on. My life is most important to me and I won’t allow anything in this world to take away my happiness. I am a believer.” Hope, she says, is the most important thing in life. “Believe and love yourself. What’s life without a little bit of hope?” In the midst of our conversation, the dusky actress realises that she’s late for her gym session, excitedly letting me in on details about her new fitness regimen. Fitness is not a hobby for Bipasha; it’s a way of life.
“My romance with fitness started when I suffered a disability (osteoarthritis). It was my handicap, which made me stronger. When you suffer a setback, you automatically take control of your life. I realised nothing matters more than your health. If you don’t have health, you have nothing,” she states. “Now, I can’t imagine life without a gym. Working out is a great stress buster, it’s one of the most important things in my life. It’s more than a hobby and less than an obsession.” And it’s also a source of revenue for her. “If you make money doing something you love, what’s wrong with that? Plus, I work hard at it.
I make my own exercise regimes for my DVDs. I’m constantly learning new stuff and experimenting with it before putting it out there. I don’t know yoga. Hopefully, I’ll learn that too.
I want to do something more in the field of health and fitness, something bigger. It’ll come to me,” she pauses. “It’s growing step by step every year. I’ve just dabbled in fashion, another thing I love. Eventually, I want to be a successful business woman.” But acting will never take a back seat for Bipasha. At this stage in her career, she’s looking for interesting opportunities. “I wouldn’t be able to do the other things if I wasn’t an actor. But now I want to enjoy what I do or learn something new. I don’t have to do a film just to be in the game. Like I’ve never done something like Humshakals. And it’s not like my previous comedy No Entry. It’s a different genre of comedy. It’s a Sajid Khan comedy. So I’ve learnt something new.”
Creature too, directed by Vikram Bhatt, is a first-of-its-kind film. And Bipasha couldn’t be happier about working on it. “I have enjoyed working with Vikram. Our bond has only grown since we worked together on Raaz 3. Creature has been an exhausting but terrific experience. He managed everything on the set so well. There was never a tense moment. Even during a high-stress situation, Vikram never loses it,” she takes a breather. “That’s the best quality a director can possess. Vikram holds everyone together. That’s probably why the last day on the set was so emotional for all of us.”
Bipasha also asserts that she doesn’t need to justify her choices. “I’m glad I’m doing different kind of films and I don’t have to give anyone explanations for it. If I find a project exciting, I’ll do it. People can say what they want to. At the end of it all, it’s a personal choice. I know it’s a bit difficult to do something drastically different in this business but I do want to do stuff that’s new.” Besides her films, Bipasha’s personal life has always kept her in the news. More so recently, after rumoured boyfriend, Harman Baweja, openly declared his love for her. A few days later Bipasha took to Twitter and admitted to her relationship with the actor. “Stating the obvious, yes, Harman and I are a couple. Finally, I have met a person who is a far better human being than I am. I feel blessed.” But even after much prodding, the actress isn’t willing to share more. “I’ve said what I had to say because I had to say it. I’m protective about the people I love. So for me silence is golden. I am in a happy space in my personal life,” she puts it succinctly. It may seem so because of her high-profile relationship and break-up with ex-John Abraham. “At this point, I choose not to talk about my love life. Love is beautiful. It is light.” Well said, Bipasha.