Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is beautiful and intelligent: Kajal Aggarwal
Kajal Aggarwal, 26, is destiny’s child. In just six years of her career, she has featured in 26 films in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi. She was always pampered, wealthy and lucky. Being an actress has made her more patient. Ahead of her latest film Special 26, she talks to TOI about the frenzy around ‘the hero’ in Tamil films, her favourite co-stars Junior NTR and Vijay and why she is considered lucky for a film. Excerpts:
You are a Mumbai Punjabi girl. How did you come about doing 26 South films?
We are Punjabis from Amritsar, though I was born and brought up in Mumbai and did my Bachelors in Mass Media, specialising in advertising and marketing. In my final year of college, I was interning with Loreal, when during one of the photoshoots, a photographer suggested I become a model. I was working under Smira Bakshi, who was this really cool chick as she was loaded, had her fun and was successful. I basically aspired to be her. In the meantime, my photographs got distributed through the photographer and I was offered a South Indian film with Nana Patekar that was to be made in three languages. While the Hindi version of the film Cinema did not get released, it was released in Telugu and Tamil. My father is conservative and authoritative and the most important figure in my life, but he said to me, ‘Kajal if films are being offered to you, there must be a purpose to it and you should do it. Few people get opportunities like that. Even if you don’t do well, Main Hoon Na.’ I did not want to give up the chance of becoming permanent at Loreal. Also, it was my dream to do an MBA from INSEAD Paris, which I would get to do had I stayed with them. But listening to my father, who is my backbone, I took up the film offer and in spite of telling my colleagues at Loreal that I would be back in just three months, I could never return. I just kept getting one movie after another and landed up doing 26 South films in six years. I used to be a lump in college. My mother always being worried about me as I never got up before 11 am, but in the past six years, I have worked every day of my life.
I am most attached to my mother, who always travels with me when I am on an outdoor location or abroad. She is my friend, who I share everything with. With my dad, I don’t discuss boyfriends the way I do with her. I will even tell her if someone is hitting on me and ask for advice.
Do you feel restricted with your mother travelling with you?
There have been times when I have felt that way, but I still want her around. Whenever I have felt that way, she senses it and gives me more space than I need.
Do you find a difference between Tamil and Telugu cinema?
Yes, there is a difference. I prefer Telugu film industry as women are respected more than they are in the Tamil film industry. In Tamil cinema, they care only about their hero who is God. Of course, I don’t give a shit and go and sit in my van.
Who are your favourite co-stars?
In Tamil, I enjoyed working with Vijay in Thupaaki, though he barely speaks and I was the one always blabbering. I like people who are friendly, but not over-friendly. He is like that. In Telugu, I like Junior NTR. He is not only a good actor, but is honest. He is arrogant, but I still like him as arrogance is also a part of honesty.
You are considered the lucky charm for a film. Do you agree with that?
I have 24 super hits out of the 26 I have featured in. I have been lucky in my life and have not struggled for my breaks or any other financial issues. The only time I have cried in my life was due to boyfriend problems. In fact, when I need to do an emotional scene I have to try really hard as I have no reference to think of in my real life. I can only think of my faint memories of my grandfather’s death in ninth standard as that is the only association I have with sorrow.
Actors are attractive people. Is it not natural for a young actress like you to be attracted to them?
It’s very natural, but I don’t cross the border with my co-stars. In fact I don’t even become friends with them. If they are visiting Mumbai, I could invite them home for lunch, but not more than that. I have had two serious relationships in my life so far, one before I became an actor and one after and both were with people outside the industry. The last relationship did not work out as you need to give a relationship some time and be physically present and that was not possible as I did not have the time.
What have you learnt being a part of the film industry?
I have learnt patience. There are annoying times where you need to wait endlessly for a shot. While earlier, I needed ten people to entertain me, now I have learnt to entertain myself.
Is there an actress you look upto?
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan… not because she is beautiful, but because she is intelligent. She is smart and I like the way she prioritises her life and is looking after her daughter now. I like people who have their priorities in place.