Ileana D’Cruz, who bagged the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut (South) in 2006 for her turn in the Telugu drama ‘Devadasu’, repeated the feat six years later with her Bollywood debut, Anurag Basu‘s acclaimed ‘Barfi!’.   Four years later, the 30-year-old actress, who features in two bigbudget ensemble films this year, Anees Bazmee’s ‘Mubarakan’ and Milan Luthria’s ‘Baadshaho’, admits that even though she harbours no regrets at the end of a successful decade in films, it’s definitely not been a walk in the park for her.   From constantly being chased by the paparazzi which she believes is an “invasion of privacy” to having to bow out of several Bollywood films because of reasons other than availability of her dates, it’s been a journey of tough choices.  “I’m human and there’s a constant pressure to look a certain way which affects me. I have dealt with body-shaming for a long time but the more I tried to follow people’s advice, the more I realised that I couldn’t please everyone. Now, I have accepted that no matter what I do, I’m going to disappoint someone or the other,” she smiles. “So now, I wake up every morning and look at myself in the mirror and try to accept myself for who I am. I’m no longer doing films or dressing up to please anybody. I’m striving to love myself for who I am.”  She admits that she’s still an outsider because she’s rarely seen at Bollywood bashes and would rather hang out with people she is comfortable with than pretend to be someone she is not in a crowd.  “I don’t go out much and when I do, it’s always related to my films. I don’t share a close bond with Mumbai’s filmi folk because I am not from a filmi family. I’d like to change that but I won’t go up to people and strike up a conversation for work. You either have an equation with an actor, director or producer, or you don’t. I like the fact that I am socially awkward.”   “I won’t go out of my way to be nice to someone because I want to do a film with them. That’s just not who I am,” she says matter- of-factly. She acknowledges that when she started out in Bollywood, she was a lot more shy and jokes that another reason she’s not mingling with B-townies is because she’s often out of the country holidaying with her Australian photographer-boyfriend, Andrew Kneebone.  They have been reportedly dating for over five years and unlike her contemporaries, who continue to hide behind the “good friends” relationship status, she’s never shied away from posting about her personal life on social media or making hand-in-hand appearances with her beau. The Times  of  India : 17th. July,17


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