“I did not look as good as I wanted to, with the existing ‘infrastructure’ that I had. I used to look at myself and say you can be thinner, slimmer, fitter. I always felt that. People now belittle my achievement by saying, ‘Oh you want to get into a bikini that’s why you have lost weight’ or that ‘The Bollywood pressure has gotten to you’. But nobody understands that this has been a 12-year-long journey for me from being an obese teenager. For me, it has been a struggle since 2004. Yes, I agree that the thing that really triggered it was Bollywood – seeing yourself on screen, hearing feedback, and there are such gorgeous people around you so you feel motivated. It’s like look at her, I’m 27, she’s 27 but she’s wearing cooler clothes than I am!”
“It’s great that this pressure is on me. It means that people care, that they are talking about me, have expectations of me. I’ve known actors who have lost weight in their life and it has not been such a talking point. So I’m so glad, because it’s an inspiring thing. I have had women come to me in this very restaurant and who have cried, shown me pictures of myself on their phone and told me how I have changed their lives. Or some have said that they had kids and couldn’t lose weight, but that I was an inspiration. Whether I am in Australia or Nagpur or Fiji, I have had people coming to me and saying how they have been inspired by my weight loss. – for me, that is huge. Because more than anything, I understand their story, it was also where I was… I have struggled for so many years with not losing weight, having health and stamina issues. I used to have mood swings because hormonally I was so imbalanced.”
“You won’t believe it, but I’ve become more humble. The more success I get, the humbled I get because you can’t take it for granted. When my stylist today says we want you to wear a ghagra choli that shows off your midriff or a short skirt, I literally thank my stars. Earlier I would look at the best outfit that I wanted to wear but always had to settle for another (looser) one.”
“I never used to get the feedback that I now get. If someone says, ‘Hey, you are looking really good or pretty’, I feel damn good. I always give them a high five. I just hope I stay the way I am. Like I have just come back from a holiday and I am a kilo or two more and it’s stressing me out. It’s a fear in me now, that I cannot fit into my clothes or cannot stop wearing sleeveless tops. I’m scared. So it keeps me in check because I don’t want this to go.”
“I am not the dating kind, I don’t date. I have had two jumbo relationships and they have not worked out so I am single right now. But I don’t have these challenges of where should we meet or who will see us… but I can tell you it is tough for actors, especially if you don’t want the news to get out. And 99 per cent of the actors don’t want the news to get out. Because then there is so much scrutiny and it can actually affect your relationship.”
“I think it is really the pressure of the world and the want to be independent that is really coming in the way of relationships today. Each of us wants to live our own life, do what we want to do and if your spouse or girlfriend/ boyfriend comes in the way of that, we are not the kind to surrender ourselves and say I am going to give up my career, like it used to be at one time, in my parents’ age. Today I think we are too independent and we love our independence.
“Today I am now an actor, a public figure. So you’re always wary. You are always doubting – it’s not that I have trust issues. But I can’t help but believe that people might meet me for some reason. Or might be too nice or not be themselves with me. And I don’t want that. I want the person to be real. I am not that one-night-stand kind of girl, I am not okay with you being on your best behaviour for one night.”