Of all the roles she has played, actor Ileana D’Cruz feels closest to Aanchal, an author of romantic novels in her latest film Happy Ending. So much so that she refused to part with the glasses that she wears throughout the film, once the shooting was over. “I enjoy playing the damsel in distress sometimes but this is more me,” she says.
After a few years in the Telugu and Tamil movie industry, starring in mega blockbusters such as Pokiri (2006), Kick (2009) and Nanban (2012), D’Cruz says that she is finally doing films that reflect her personality. Happy Ending is the only film the actor has at the moment. D’Cruz is being careful about the films she chooses, almost sounding like she is starting a new chapter in her career. “I’ve realised that as I get older, I would want to look back at my films and feel glad I did them,” says the 28-year-old. She adds, “I have done quite a few movies in the South that may make me cringe. But I was young and reckless, and I did all that came my way. It didn’t strike me at that time that once you do a film, it’s there with your name not just for the rest of your life, but even after you are gone.”
Her character in Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK’s Happy Ending defies many things we associate with the typical Hindi film heroine. It’s a refreshing turn for the actor who has played the pretty arm candy many times before.
“She is not an emotional sob, she may believe in just having a good time rather than being committed in a relationship. She is unpredictable, sassy and eccentric. She is a modern woman, and a bit of a wild child. A little like me,” she says. D’Cruz admits that most part of her eight-year-old career in films was spent trying to establish herself, even if that meant that she was largely disconnected with the kind of movies she was in. “I have grown up watching English films, so for me being an actor in the Indian film industry was quite a shock.
Most of the times, it has been hard for me to do Bollywood films,” says D’Cruz.
Born in Mumbai, the actor grew up in Goa, far away from the glamour of films, so when she joined the industry, she says, she was quite naïve. “I have learned to be diplomatic now, although I can’t fake it all the time,” says D’Cruz, who learnt the tricks of the trade the hard way, although she had a swift rise to stardom in the South. The roles in her last two Hindi films, Main Tera Hero (2013) and Phata Poster Nikla Hero (2014) did not fetch her much critical acclaim. But the actor says that after her debut Hindi film Barfi! (2010), she wanted to take up different roles. Now that her latest film, Happy Ending starring Saif Ali Khan, is ready for release, D’Cruz wishes to balance her career with mass entertainers and performance-oriented films.