It’s annoying that ‘Saheb, Biwi aur Gangster Returns’ has got an ‘A’: Soha Ali Khan

Soha Ali Khan, with her performance in ‘Rang De Basanti’, had left people agape at her acting prowess. That film now enjoys a cult following and Khan is an actress who can slip into her role – no matter what – very easily. Soha plays one of the pivotal roles in Tigmanshu Dhulia’s ‘Saheb, Biwi aur Gangster Returns’ along with Jimmy Sheirgill, Mahi Gill and Irrfan Khan. Ananya Bhattacharya of speaks to the actress about her current film, working with Tigmanshu Dhulia and so on. Excerpts from the conversation:

After ‘Rang De Basanti’, there’s hardly been any looking back for you. How has the journey been?

‘Rang De Basanti’ was a great film to be a part of. That was definitely the turning point in my life. After that, I’ve always enjoyed working with good directors and have always been keen to work on good scripts. With Tigmanshu Dhulia too, reading and performing his work, it has been a huge honour for me.

Did you have any sort of apprehension in being a part of ‘Saheb, Biwi aur Gangster Returns’?

Yes, I did have certain apprehension...I’d watched ‘Saheb, Biwi aur Gangster’ and had found it pretty bold. The sexual content was a bit heavy in that one. I wanted to work with Tigmanshu but that was the part where it was a little bit off my comfort level. However, Tigmanshu had told us that he was toning the bold content down. We did not want an ‘A’ certificate for the film, but it’s annoying that the film ended up receiving an ‘A’. There’s a lot of sensuality in the film, but without sex.

In your career in the industry, has there been any role that you’d call gruelling?

Well... ‘Tum Mile’ as a film was pretty gruelling given that we had to recreate the 2005 Bombay floods. The sets there were pretty gruelling to be a part of. Even here, in ‘Saheb, Biwi aur Gangster Returns’, we had to shoot at a temperature of 55 degrees Celsius in June in Gujarat with all the jewellery and royal attire – it was quite challenging.

How has Tigmanshu Dhulia been as a director?

We’ve all been raving about him! (laughs) He is a fantastic director. Any actor, I feel, shouldn’t miss the opportunity to work with him. There’s a certain comfort level with him around. Added to that, he writes so well, it is a complete experience working with Tigmanshu.

Royalty on its way out – did you feel at ease portraying a character that is so like you in real life?I was quite comfortable staying in the Haveli for the film. My character Ranjana is the one who doesn’t reveal her emotions much. There’s something that my paternal grandmother had once told me, ‘You should have an exterior that shouldn’t belie your emotions’. My character in the film is a lot like me in real life. If she is angry, she doesn’t make a show of it; if she’s hurt, she weeps in silence. Ranjana, in certain aspects, reflects my own self.

What is it that qualifies as ‘bold’ for you – is it more to do with intimate scenes or the theme?

Bold, for me, is something that makes a statement. Kissing or sex – all of that is not necessarily bold. In this film, for example, there are characters who are solid and bold. The Biwi, Madhvi (the character played by Mahi Gill), for example, is such a strong woman, on a path of self-destruction. She is ready to destroy anybody who comes in her way. In terms of content, ‘Saheb, Biwi aur Gangster Returns’ is an extremely bold film.

What kind of expectations do you have from the film?

The week before the release of the film, we hardly have any time to have any expectations from the film! (laughs) I want it to do really well, but I’m not much into the sort of business it might do or numbers and so on. We’re confident about ‘Saheb, Biwi aur Gangster Returns’; we’re not worried!