'For a person like me who never gets outwardly angry, never raises her voice and never gets violent, getting into character as Manjulika, the wronged, abusive ghost, was something I thought I'd never carry off. Hats off to Priyadrashan for having so much faith in me,' Vidya told IANS.
'I'm aware the role was offered to Aishwarya Rai. I was also aware that Shobhana and Jyothika rocked in the Malayalam and Tamil versions of the film. They were accomplished dancers. I had to learn Kathak from scratch, then perform a proper formal dance with a trained dancer (Vineet) and also do a demented, raging, out-of-sync dance performance as a woman possessed. On top of that the song for the dance came in just two weeks before shooting.'
In addition to the dancing, she had to enact the part of a woman who's possessed by the ghost of a dead dancer. Almost like Linda Blair in the cult horror film 'The Exorcist' in the 1970s.
Was Vidya as traumatised as Linda? 'Playing such a psychologically disordered woman who's outwardly so normal changed my perception of people who suffer mental trauma. I had isolated myself completely for three days. When I wasn't shooting the traumatic climax I just walked around the haveli listening to the music and the sounds of silence, staying complete in character. Even my parents couldn't reach me on the phone.'
Vidya did miss out on 'Laaga Chunari Mein Daag' though. The film was released on the same day as 'Bhool Bhulaiya'.
'Dada (Pradeep Sarkar) gets the best out of everyone. No I don't regret not doing 'Laaga Chunari...' I don't regret anything in life. Though I do feel sorry about not being a part of what Dada does...that's inconceivable for me. I'm not being politically correct when I say this. But I feel 'Laaga Chunari...' is as much mine as 'Bhool Bhulaiya'.
'When I'm asked which film I want should perform better at the box-office I feel like I'm being asked if my sister's report card should've been better than mine. Both are my films. And dada knows it. The only thing that matters to him is his work. The same applies to me.'