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After her mesmerising avatar in ‘Wazir’ and ‘Fitoor’ this year, Aditi Rao Hydari will be seen in an all-together unique role in the quirky ‘The Legend Of Michael Mishra’. She talks about working on this comedy, the things she looks before choosing a film amidst more in this conversation…

“I seek inspiration from other people but my competition is with my own self”

Did ‘The Legend Of Michael Mishra’ feel like a refreshing change amidst films like ‘Wazir’ and ‘Fitoor’?
I heard the script of Michael Mishra, a while back but it was so different from anything that I’ve seen; it is so bizarre that it is funny. You sometimes meet people, who don’t intend to be funny, and they are so clean-hearted, but they end up coming across as funny. So these characters are very cute which is why I thought I should try this.

How was it matching up to Arshad Warsi and Boman Irani who are so good at comedy, and how was the atmosphere on the set with them around?

Like I said, none of the characters are trying to be funny. The way it is written is funny. So it was just about being true to the character, than having a comic timing. That was actually one of the reasons why I did the film. Firstly, nobody writes scripts like these because it’s so outlandish. I think Manish Jha has some locha in his brain (laughs). But that’s what I wanted to experience. And there was never a dull moment on the set as you can imagine with Arshad Warsi and Boman Irani around. Even Kayoze is so funny. I’m a sucker for entertainment and they are also such effortless actors. It’s nice to work with chilled out people who do not take themselves so seriously.

What is it that you look for, in terms of work at this point?

‘The Legend Of Michael Mishra’ is two years old, but in between I’ve done ‘Fitoor’, and ‘Wazir’, worked on Sudhir sir’s film and now I’m working with Mani Ratnam. So, you grow as an actor. That’s what gives me a high – to work with directors like these who extract something out of you, who have this amazing vision that outlives any of us. For me, it’s becoming more of that. That is what I’m seeking now. It doesn’t matter what the genre is. That is what I want to do.

Is that why you’ve done even smaller parts in films which have still shined out? Because your criterion while choosing is different?

I can tell you from ‘Yeh Saali Zindagi’ onwards. It is a combination of the director, the script, and the part that I’m playing. In ‘Fitoor’, my part was just a cameo, but there’s no way I would have said no to that part because there was Abhishek Kapoor who I love as a director. For me, that’s what makes it really exciting – to work with directors who are passionate about what they do and who tell beautiful stories. Abhishek Kapoor is one of them. And that part for me, was one of the most beautiful parts. So what if it was only 15 minutes? I still think about it and what that girl went through. It’s a very instinctive decision. I feel like the parts that you play should outlive you ideally. Even if today, a film doesn’t do well, say a ‘Fitoor’ didn’t do well, but if 20 years from now, people remember Hazrat, then that for me is the most amazing thing.

Is it disheartening when you put in immense effort in a film and it gets delayed or faces problem in the release?

I actually think more about the director and the producer. Of course, actors put blood and sweat into the film, but directors live with the film for much longer. There’s a lot more hardwork and they cannot start another project while this is happening. Actors can move on to the next product still. So, I’m sure it’s much harder on them.

Are you happy with the way things are shaping up for you…with the kind of work that you’re doing?

Any artist is always striving to do more and better right? So, I am also like that. I am not a complacent person in any case. But it is not like I am not happy. I am a positive person, who finds excitement in anything. Even today, I feel like I’m dying, I have not slept, I have been traveling since three in the morning, but I’ll find something to be happy about. It is difficult though. The struggle is to find good work. There is of course a lot of work, but the kind of work I want to do is really good work, with really good directors. And that’s the challenge. It happens, one at a time. But I am always pushing to do more. I am like that, I’ve always been like that even as a kid. It is a competitive field but I don’t think about what the other person is doing. In fact, I get inspired from people who are amazing. I seek inspiration from other people but my competition is with my own self, I want to better myself.

So there is a lot which needs to be tapped for you as an actor?

Any actor who constantly wants to re-invent themselves, will always be untapped. That is the nature of an artist; that should be the nature of an artist. If you’ve been there, done that, then what more is there for anyone to see? So, I hope I can be that kind of an artist, who can keep re-inventing herself and keep doing something new. Sometimes it’ll do well, sometimes it won’t do well but the point is to keep changing, and make it exciting for people. It is important to work honestly and do it for the right reason. For example, I work because I just love to be in front of the camera, I love to perform. Being in front of the camera, to me feels like the safest place, the most amazing place where I can just do anything. That’s a high and I hope I can just keep doing it, and to keep doing it I have to push myself more and more.

What do you have to say about the changing tastes of the audience and the current trends in Hindi cinema?

I want every trend to die first of all, because I think trends breed comparisons and people not using their brains and just relying on some factory proto-type. Trends should just die, whether it’s in clothes, make-up patterns, movies or stories, or people should just not take trends seriously. But a good story will outlive any trend. I think that the audiences are damn smart. They know that this is pulled from something or if someone is a good actor, or this is a good story. See it’s great to have six pack abs, but be an actor first. You are here to be an actor. It will be great if you also have a great body and face but that’s an add-on. But yes like I said, the audience is smart, you cannot fool them.

 Tell us about your experience of working with Mani Ratnam and learning Tamil?

(Smiles) I hope my face says what I’m feeling. All I can say that it is the greatest blessing an actor can hope for. And I don’t know Tamil, but I’ve been doing my dialogues and it’s good so far. I am a hard-working girl, so if you tell me to do something I will.  I won’t disappoint you!

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