Ileana prepared to quit the industry happily
How difficult has it been for you in the film industry, being from a non-filmi background?
It is very difficult when you first start out in the film industry. People always look at you like you are nothing and you’ve got to prove yourself. Even on the set, you don’t get everybody’s respect. You have to earn it. So, it happened to me during Barfi! as well – people didn’t take me seriously, but once they saw me perform and saw my seriousness, they started to respect me. And that’s what I wanted – just the respect of people, and I think I have achieved that. People expect a lot out of you, but you are your own person. You can’t be like somebody that people want you to be. I prefer to stick to my image, if people like it, they like it; if they don’t, they don’t.
You once said an actress needs to be prepared for the fact that she isn’t in the industry for the rest of her life. Have you prepared yourself for that eventuality?
I never wanted to be an actress. So, I think it’s really nice for me that I can differentiate it. For me, acting is just a job. I love it, yes, and I am very passionate about my work. But I know for a fact that there is a shelf life to every actor. That there will be a day when your charm will fade, and people will not like to see you as an actress; there will be someone else to take your place. My mother has always told me to make sure that I don’t get too attached to my work, because some day I will have to leave. She says, ‘Make sure you do it gracefully rather than being pushed out of the industry’. I think tomorrow, if my time comes to say goodbye to this world I inhabit, I would be very happy to do so.
Are you implying older actresses are not welcome in the industry?
I don’t necessarily mean age; there are a lot of factors. You’ve got to be realistic, if someone else comes and is better than you and you are not as good as your director wants, he will take that someone else. I think everybody has their own time to shine, and when it’s up, it’s up. There is always an end to a journey.