'We need to create a less judgmental society': Bipasha Basu
In the first fourteen years of her career, Bipasha Basu did over 50 films across five languages. At the peak of her career, the model-turned-actor decided to give it all a rest, and now, finally returns to cinema with Dangerous, which will have a direct-to-OTT release owing to the pandemic. “I'm not at all disappointed about the OTT release. I’m just glad that my audience get to see some content from me after so long,” said Bipasha to senior journalist Kaveree Bamzai in the latest edition of Time Pass, a series of webinars organised by The New Indian Express group.
Talking about the diverse roles actors are getting after the advent of digital platforms, she said, “Roles are not limited to age, gender, or a stereotype any more. Even the tag of ‘marriage’ is not baggage any more.” For someone who has been part of blockbusters across genres, Bipasha is proud that her choices have been versatile. “I have done all kinds of films including women-centric ones. I did one of the first erotic thrillers with Jism. Raaz brought back the supernatural-based thriller genre. Of course, I have done some bad films too, but I have always enjoyed the process,” said Bipasha, who shared that she used the break from her film career to concentrate on two of her other interests — fashion and fitness.
“Early in my career, I took my body for granted. I realised then that my improper dietary habits, inadequate rest… took a toll on my health,” said Bipasha and added that her mother served as an inspiration. “She is a mother of three, a jack of all trades, but she always took time to take care of her health and beauty. I realised I was not a superhuman, and needed to invest time in self-care.”
Bipasha revealed that her path towards better fitness started with the 2005 film, No Entry. “I had put on weight at the time. Since they wanted me to play a dancer, I took to the treadmill. However, I developed osteoarthritis because of wrong posture. That’s when I had to understand my body better. I interacted with physios, had trainers, and gradually built muscle to overcome my knee issues. I wanted to impart this knowledge to others,” said Bipasha, who is planning to write a book on the importance of being positive in an environment that breeds negativity and fear, especially in times of a pandemic.
With the lockdown in place, self-care has become a huge talking point and there is a vibrant discussion about mental health. “I've had people close to me who have gone through a lot. Empathising with them, hearing them out, and understanding why they behave differently is important. There are professionals well-equipped to deal with these things, and it is important to understand that mental illness can be healed,” said Bipasha.
Crediting her partner Karan Singh Grover as an important part of keeping her positive, Bipasha said, “We must stop nurturing the stigma around mental health. This Indian attitude of ‘Pagal hai’ is depressing. It scares people who want to open up. We need to create a softer society that is a little less judgemental."