Aashram that reunites her with director Prakash Jha. In a conversation with BT, she opens up about falling in love at first sight and navigating a long-distance relationship. Excerpts:
In our conversation last year, you had said you were completing projects from the confines of your home in Spain. Now that you are back in India, are you ready to shoot on a set?
In recent times work took me to California, and I also travelled to London. Now I am in India for a shoot. I am really excited about MX Player’s
Aashram. Director Prakash Jha is someone who believed in me and gave me an opportunity in his film Chakravyuh at the beginning of my career. He is one of those people who taught me a lot without teaching me directly. I remember watching the first season of Aashram with my family in Delhi during the lockdown. While watching it, I told my mom that it would be interesting to be a part of a project like this, and soon, I was approached for the second season.
Spain has been home for you as you were living-in with your boyfriend Manuel Campos Guallar there for some time. Now that work has got you back here, how has it been managing a long-distance relationship?
The pandemic allowed us to spend a lot of time with each other. However, we were aware of the fact that we would be in a long-distance relationship. We enjoy our time together, but we are very secure enough in our relationship to enjoy our time apart as well. Work requires me to travel, so I will, and the moment I am not shooting, I will head to Spain to spend time with him. I feel, if both individuals are ambitious about their work, they need to have an understanding of each other’s careers, and once that happens, things should run pretty smoothly.
How did the two of you meet and hit it off?
Manuel is into real estate and his firm reached out to me for some work. I met him for the first time in Rome, and it was love at first sight… at least for me. I made sure he fell for me too (laughs!). We connected really well during our first meeting. After we returned to our respective countries, we kept in touch. Then we met once again after nearly two months. Back then, we didn’t know the direction in which this relationship was going to go, but now, two years down the line, we know exactly where it’s going.
So, is marriage on the cards?
There’s always a right time for everything. I will wait for mine!
Have you introduced Manuel to Indian culture?
Manuel likes the fact that I am religious. I have created a small space in our home in Spain where I say my prayers. He likes to see me in traditional Indian wear. On Dussehra, I wore a sari to attend a puja through a video call with my parents (who were in India). Post the call, he asked me not to change and made me meet his entire family in the traditional look. Like Indians, the Spanish, too, are very family-oriented people. Manuel is also extremely close to his family and relatives.
Is Spain home for you now?
To be honest, I never thought of living in any other country than India. I am a total Delhiite at heart. My friends there are mesmerised seeing the pictures of India that I post on social media. They want me to take them to places like Rajasthan, Agra and Varanasi. My stay in Spain has only expanded my horizons. It has definitely helped work-wise, and I got a lot of exposure to international cinema. As an actor, you are a global citizen. But home will always be India for me, no matter where I live.
You are known to be passionate about fitness and often share bold and glamourous pictures online. While there are many admirers, there are trolls too. How do you react to them?
I love myself and the way I look. I have always been comfortable in my skin. Initially, it used to bother me when people would troll me. I have realised that it doesn’t matter what they say. I became good friends with a photographer in Madrid. Whenever we get a chance, we do these shoots. It is like a woman being a woman in these pictures. That’s the idea. I don’t have any other agenda like eyeing roles in projects. I believe that if you ignore your trolls, they end up becoming your fans. No matter how much they hate you, they will eventually love you.