How did Saala Khadoos happen to you?
I started my karate training when I was 3-years-old followed by kick-boxing at 6. I started doing MMA when I turned 18 and participated in an MMA based fight theme reality-show in which there were 8 guys and 8 girls from all over India. This is where Maddy Sir (R Madhavan) spotted me. He called me for a screen test where I had to act like a fisherwoman and speak in Tamil.
What a kind of person are you in real life? How much has changed after Saala Khadoos?
A lot has changed. Saala Khadoos didn’t do as well here as the Tamil version did. It was a huge hit and everyone knows me there. I forgot the fact that I’ve done a film and I went out to pick some stuff casually, thinking that people won’t recognize me. I look so different in real life but I got mobbed, I really got mobbed. I was like oh my god, big mistake! I am still learning.
How was it working with R Madhavan in your debut film? Did he guide you while the movie was being shot?
I think R Madhavan is the coolest actor. He doesn’t have an attitude. He’s always on time and he doesn’t make any issues if there are delays on set. He helped me a lot with my lines. I was new plus the movie was bilingual and I didn’t know Tamil. We became really good friends.
What was your reaction when you came to know Rajkumar Hirani is producing the movie?
I was extremely delighted. I met Rajkumar Sir for the first time when I was doing the reading for the Hindi lines. I think I’m a very bad actor when I am rehearsing. I just can’t rehearse but I’m my natural self and spontaneous while shooting. We were doing my reading when he came there. I speak very fast so I spoke non-stop like a bullet train after seeing him. He lost his cool and said, ‘Ye kisko uthaake laaye hai, ye kon hai? Isko film me acting karaani hai? Ye ladki kya kar rahi hai?’ Maddy Sir came to my rescue and said, ‘Please ignore that. She is just nervous today as you are here but she is a good actor.’
Who is your idol?
I really like Eddy Redmayne. I didn’t know who he was until my friend made me see ‘The Theory Of Everything’. I watched his Oscar winning speech and felt that this person is so goofy and so like me.
Were you a rebel as a child like you were shown in Saala Khadoos?
(Laughs) No, no! I’m not like that. I’m the total opposite actually. I don’t know how to say no. I am smart and I have brains but I don’t know how to handle things in life like how my character in the film does. I don’t have the guts that she does. I am not so courageous and bold. I’m very calm, cool, relaxed and a sweet person in real life.
You were seen beating guys in Saala Khadoos. Have you beaten up a guy in real life during your college or in a club?
In college no guy used to hit on me because I used to look like a boy. I had short hair and used to dress like boys. I was like a bro to everyone.
How do you feel after winning the National Award?
When I heard about the National Award, I was so surprised. After I hung up the call, I started crying. It was a weird emotion. I was alone at home and I began laughing and crying. I won it for the Tamil version which I hadn’t dubbed, so technically I was not eligible for the Best Actress award.