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october 2012

A Happy Heart With Class & Elegance

Bollywood’s new fresh face is simple, classy and confident! Riding high on another of Anurag Basu’s project – Barfi - Ileana D’Çruz says, “Don’t Worry Be Barfi!” Still an infant to acting and toddler to Bollywood, Ileana admits that this, by far, has been her most challenging role and is waiting eagerly to see how her performance is appreciated.
Just a few days old in B-town and she’s a rage for her curvaceous body, chiselled features and an unadulterated smile! Self assured and composed, Ileana chats away with Prarthna Tiga about her secrets to weight loss while still craving for Prawn curry and rice and her love for books, beaches and much more…

Growing up in Goa, modelling and brand endorsements, to Kollywood, Tollywood and now Bollywood… How would you describe this journey?
Surreal! There are so many things I barely relate to. I knew nothing of acting and being shy and self-conscious, appearing on posters and TV screens has been so dreamlike for me.

What challenges did you face when you shifted from the world of modelling to make a career in films (Telugu and Tamil)?
I didn’t do many ads… When I got an offer for my first Telugu film, it was difficult for me. I knew nothing about acting and it took me a while to settle into it.

What have been your expectations from Barfi?
It’s a completely different film and entertaining at the same time. I literally got lost in the 1970s. I got completely immersed in the character. It’s a great film in its own right.

Describe your experience on its sets. How comfortable or apprehensive were you about Bollywood or working opposite Ranbir Kapoor?
I wasn’t intimidated, apprehensive or daunted by Bollywood or the co-actors at all. In fact, the apprehension was all about the character I’d be playing. It was an unlikely role about a girl and it was set in the 70s, which was a big challenge. But my co-stars were fabulous and unbelievably supportive.

What difference did you notice between the sets of Kollywood/ Tollywood and Bollywood ?

It’s too early and unfair of me to compare them right now! I’ve always worked with talented directors and it’s been fantastic with all of them. I feel very lucky to be working with Anurag Basu now. The experience was completely different this time.

‘Chiselled features and a figure to die for’ is what you’re described as. What do you do to maintain such a great body?
Well, an active lifestyle keeps me in shape! But I can do definitely better than this (laughs)…

What does your typical workout routine comprise?

Frankly, I do not workout regularly! But I am going to get into it religiously and soon. But, if you’d ask what makes me happy, I’d say swimming or running by the beach or just on the road. Being up and about and eating in moderation is what I do.

“About glowing skin, I think if you’re really happy in your heart it reflects.”

What are your weaknesses with food? What foods do you indulge in?
No weakness! Like I said I never overdo it. I listen to my body. But ya, I don’t mind 5 g of dark chocolate you know. It’s good for you. I indulge in maybe Chinese at times (chuckles)…

Do you believe in crash diets or weight loss supplements to lose weight?

No! Never tried or would recommend. I’ve never gone consciously into a weight loss programme and have just stuck to running and swimming to lose weight.

What do you think of the size zero obsession and what do you have to say to young girls who push themselves for it?
Horrible! Let me say this, I am not size zero! Indian women should revel in the fact that they are voluptuous. Beauty is in her curves and I’m proud of it. There should be a constant effort to be fit but not skinny. Look at the youth today – easy lifestyles, junk food all the time and no games. Moderation is the key!

What does your diet comprise of, when on and off shoot?
On shoot means it’s physically draining, so I keep having my sweet lime, coconut water, fruits and green tea. For lunch, it’s dal, roti, subzi and some chicken. At home, I completely indulge. My father makes lovely prawn curry and rice. But I also substitute it the other way say with Poi or bran, which is high on fibre or simply walk around the house (giggles)...

What are your secrets for a glowing complexion and lustrous locks?

Well, hair is genetic. Mum’s got lovely hair. About glowing skin, I think if you’re really happy in your heart it reflects.

What are your make-up tips?

Minimalist. Make-up should enhance and not cover your true skin.

What’s your personal style statement - dress for style or comfort?

Bit of both. I love dressing up but comfort is a big factor. For example, I love stilettos but not if I can barely walk in them (laughs). I like clean cut pieces. I like to dress simple, classy and elegant.

You have a designer in your own mother. As an actress, what advantage do you see there?
Oh huge! In fact, my mum’s been designing me since nappy days. We have a perfect equation. She knows what suits me and what I like, all at the same time.

What are your must-have accessories?

Nothing as such! But I swear by good classy handbags!

  • Love… Pure
  • Family… A Blessing
  • Ideal partner…Honest
  • Commitment…Eminent
  • Success…Temporary
  • Ambition…Dedication
  • Inspiration… Aspiration

“Indian women should revel in the fact that they are voluptuous. There should be a constant effort to be fit but not skinny.”

How do you de-stress?

Music! When frustrated, loud and bang bang ones and at times, soulful ones.

Where do you see yourself 5-10 years from now?
It’s a blessing to be acting. I never expected to act. Don’t know what will happen but I’ll do my best!

Tell us something about your interests and hobbies when away from the camera or public eye.
I love reading. One that shook me completely was A Thousand Splendid Suns. I got lost in Norwegian Wood. I like to swim and love being by the beach. I also sketch quite a bit.

  • Breakfast: Eggs, bread and coffee
  • Lunch: Varies - sometimes pasta, Chinese or salads, but nothing too heavy. I also like it little spicy and I’m not big on cream or cheese.
  • Dinner: Varies according to mood and city! When home, it’s prawn curry and rice or anything.
  • Snacks: Cereal bars come in handy if you’re hungry and always travelling.