Success didn't take too long to sway your pretty head. Already the tags of 'uncooperative', 'arrogant', 'careless' and 'unpunctual' seem to be sticking. And one accuser among many is your 'Geet' producer, Neelima Paul, who squarely blames you for her film flopping. What do you say?
-As far as I'm concerned I'm always on time on my sets. But there are times when delays are inevitable. Basically carelessness is within the people who see everything around them as careless. They should be careful. As for Neelima Paul, let me inform her that if at all 'Geet' was affected it was only because of Neelima Paul herself. Because she was basically an awful producer. Tell me, can she blame Mithun Chakraborty and Padmini Kolhapure for the flopping of her first film ('Hum Intezaar Karenge')? Were they careless too? Let me tell you, be it a producer or director, they should be capable enough to get good work done. See 'Shola Aur Shahnam' and 'Deewana'. They were hits. It proves I'm a director's artiste. I work the way they want me to. So it is they who should be careful. If I don't work well it means that the producer and director are bad at their job. Anyway Neelima Paul shouldn't talk about non-co-operation. I have let go my entire sum of money because she was in a fix. Believe me, I did not take even a penny. My dress-designer, my make-up man and my staff are still cribbing about their dues. Who should I blame now?

You had a massive problem with Raveena Tandon on the sets of 'Kshatriya', recently only because she felt your outfit was better than hers. It even sparked off an argument between her and J.P. Dutta. And you just sat back and laughed. How cruel of you?
- If Raveena Tandon and J.P. had an argument it's their lookout, not mine. If my dress was better, it's because I took pains on it. She should have loo. Though frankly I thought that her dress was belter than mine. Black looks much better in the dark. I was satisfied with my outfit too. I don't know about her problem with anyone else. I've never had a problem with her. I find her very sweet and nice. That's it.

You got a taste of J.P. Dutta's no-nonsense manner when you rubbed him the wrong way over your costumes. After which you sulked for no reason. And all because you felt that his wife Bindiya (also the film's designer) was doing a better job for Raveena. Right?
 - It was only once or twice that I had a discussion with J.P. Dutta about my dresses because I did not like what Bindiyaji made for me. Then I landed up wearing my own personal outfits. It wasn't an argument at all. Bindiyaji is a very sweet lady basically, it's just that I wasn't very comfortable in her kind of designs. It's just that sometimes you cannot vibe well with somebody's costumes because you are used to one dress designer. And I am used to my own dress-designer. She knows my colour preferences and what suits me. So I had a talk with J.P. saab and it wasn't a fight or an argument. Just a sweet talk. He understood my point of view. As I'm sure even Bindiya did. She's very nice, though I hardly know her.

New comer Prithvi doesn't spare any opportunity to bitch about you. Apparently you chased him and then criticised him when he didn't respond. It certainly does justify his criticism of you now if it's true?
- Poor baby! With him it's just a question of 'grapes are sour'. Ah uski haalat dekh lee, na? You see the situation he is in. He needs the publicity somehow. I don't blame him. Since he can't get the publicity he needs, he has to resort to this. Anybody would do that.

You offended the ego of the very man who introduced you to the industry. No wonder Kirti Kumar dumped you from 'Radha Ka Sangam' and vowed never to work with you again. He also threatened to see how you would stay in the industry. Can't blame him. How ungrateful can you get?
- Basically, once again it's a question of sour grapes. 1 don't blame him for that. Anyway, about me not doing 'Radha Ka Sangam' and him telling people that he would see how I stay in the industry-' I have no one to thank but luck. Let me just say that luck plays a very important role. By luck I mean to say that I did 'Shola Aur Shabnam', it was a hit. If at all I'd made the mistake of waiting for a Kirti Kumar and his 'Radha Ka Sangam' all these years — to only release; it would have come much after my first three releases I've had so far. That's what I mean by LUCK. What luck!
Trouble seems to be fast becoming your middle name. And you didn't even spare a respected senior like Hema Malini of your tantrums during the making of 'Dil Aashna Hai'. How could you be so unprofessional?
- You must ask Hemaji this question, really. She'll know more about it. I didn't have any problem with Hemaji to begin with. In fact I co-operated a lot with her. Hemaji was finding it a little difficult financially to release her film. So she asked me to release (let go) of a little bit of the money she was to give me. On second thoughts it wasn't a little. It was over one-and-a-half. I let go out of respect for her. For that matter, she hasn't even paid my staff; a small amount of just five-thousand bucks. Till now whenever my staff goes to collect the amount they are put off. In fact recently when they went there and enquired with her production man, someone called Dimpu or something, they were told that he was away in Delhi. But moments later, when he thought they'd gone, he walked out and drove off in his car, before my staff could catch him. My staff said forget it. If he lies that's very bad. Especially since he was avoiding for such a small amount. What I let go is fine but at least pay my poor staff. Not only that, I also had to face a lot of other problems from Hemaji. About my wigs, my dresses. Her production guys treated my staff very shabbily. Mainly because her main assistant, some Ravi dada, is the make-up man chief or something. I don't even know whether she was aware of it but basically the way they treated people, especially my staff, was wrong. I mean, she wanted my dresses to have low-necks and she wanted only her man to design it. She wanted to do it all herself. I feel she should leave it to the artistes and what we are more comfortable with. It shows in the film ultimately. And finally, the fact that such a big film with a big cast completed in one years time proves that nothing was delayed. She cannot say I troubled her.

You are a dangerous association for anyone. Isn't it true that you held a knife to Sunil Shetty's abdominal region in exasperation at his jokes. Right or wrong?
- Wrong. How can I hold a knife to Sunil's? I don't know him well enough. It was a stupidly reported bit of news. I only say hello to him. I've just done one film, 'Balwaan' and now I've done half a song for 'Do Kadam Aage' and the film is held up. I was told that there was a talk of changing heroes or something. There was a talk of Salman and Govinda. I've hardly worked with Sunil and I hardly know him.

Southern star Mohan Babu is rumoured to have gone bonkers about you. He's even supposed to have given you a diamond ring as proof of his affection. Comment.
- I don't blame any guy for going crazy about me. I am good. But where is the diamond ring? Woh de toh sahi. Let him give it first, then talk later. Give it, let me see it. Whether it's a real diamond, American Diamond, false diamond, let me see it first. Let's see the face of it. Frankly, I hardly know him to accept a diamond ring from him. He might as well give it to his wife, she'll love him all the more for it.

Fiery Farah is fuming mad at you after the argument the two of you had at Anand Dubbing Theatre. And the fault, apparently, is yours. How could you barge in on her dubbing and with your dog at that. It's not right.- I swear I don't remember this incident. It's wrong. And if she did speak about it in print, I really don't know what she's talking about. Tell her to please confront me personally and we'll talk it out. She may be very fiery but I'll talk to her in a very sweet way and ask her when we ever fought. And my poor Posti, my dog. Why involve him? I have enough sense not to take him into a dubbing theatre, man. I have nothing against her, why should I put my dog on her? My dog is supposed to have bitten her or something. Come on, my dog is trained enough not to do stupid things like that. That bechara won't even know what's happening. His name itself means 'Lazy' all he does is look around. Poor dog. As for Farah please ask her to come and talk to me personally, face-to-face. I've never had a problem with her.

Tough guy Gavin has gone on record to say that he caught you red-handed with Armaan Kohli. Others too have linked you with the Kohli boy. Comment.
- Frankly I don't even know him personally. So how can he talk about me. I feel that, if he's spoken, repeat 'if' he's spoken, then I feel he must have just done it for some publicity. But I have to catch him red-handed. It's wrong if he has spoken. I wish I could say the same about his wife. As for Armaan, I don't know him too much except for the fact that I've done one film with him.

Your soft corner for Govinda and his crush on you have been admitted to in print by Govinda himself. No wonder his wife Sunita flared up at him during a song picturization with you in Karjat. The showdown was widely reported. And you were responsible. Right?
- Govinda and myself have always been very good friends. There's nothing like a crush or a soft-corner or anything like that. And Sunita knew from the very beginning about me and Sajid (Nadiadwala). For even during the Karjat schedule Sajid and I were going around, very steady indeed. So if Sunita and Govinda did fight it wasn't because of me. Govinda, as far as I am concerned, is more like a best-friend-cum-brother to me. So the question of my name being linked with his doesn't arise.

The London grapevine can't stop buzzing about your 'alleged' link-up with Salman Khan during a recent show there. Do clarify.
-Basically I feel that the Press just loves writing something or the other. There's no truth to this. I don't even know what he did there as I wasn't exactly like his pussy tail roaming behind him. There was so much else that happened there which can fuel the gossip. How come people didn't report that?

Once and for all why don't you come clean about your 'marriage' to Sajid Nadiadwala. Especially since documentary evidence, in the form of a nikah-namah has already been published. What's the secret?
-I think that this is an extremely personal question. Jab bolna hoga, tab bol doongi. I'll never hide anything. But if I think it's not necessary I won't answer it. It's just that I'm not ready now. When the time is right I'll be like an open book. But one thing I'll say, by early next year we'll have a very big bash about, well, whatever... our marriage. It will be a very big, big bash. We'll make an important announcement there. And you'll surely be invited.

At a time that you are one of the strongest contenders to the top spot, you are making no attempt at all to white-wash your wild-reputation. Your detractors are full of hot stories about your wild ways, your maneating image and your drinking habits. Is there a truth in their gossip.
- Please, I request you, at least name one rival of mine who bitches about me behind my back. At least, I should know who my detractors are. Pata toh chale kaun hain? Anyway people talk crap about me only because I keep quiet and take a lot of shit. They dish it out to me because they're so full of it. I'm quiet because I know God is with me and whoever is trying to blacken my reputation is going to get it back in life. What man-eating image are they talking about? Show me the bones of one man I've eaten? They're all alive and well. As for drinking, I indulge in occasional social drinking only. And that too with people I'm comfortable with, not just anyone. I wish people would check themselves first before talking. They're probably more full of crap than a potful of the stuff.

Karisma's Kapoor lineage is beyond doubt. Probably the reason why she can't believe your 'average' ways. Is that the reason for the rift between the two of you?
- I agree, I agree, I say Karisma is very different from all of us. Nobody should compare anybody with Karisma. If she's big, she's big. What can we do? We're all too busy trying to work and lead normal lives.

With two stupendous hits behind you and a current rating of 'third' in the ratings game, your indiscriminate signing of films is probably the iron-ball chained to your ankles, preventing you from taking off. How could you sign films with a rash of B-grade heroes like Avinash Wadhawan, Prithvi and Armaan Kohli?
- Let me tell you one thing. No hero is A-grade or B-grade. All of them are good in their own way. Till two years back I was considered a hopeless heroine. Would the big stars and heroes say, 'she's hopeless, I won't sign a film with her'. I wouldn't like that. You can't do that. I simply feel that everyone should get a fair chance. And if you're successful here then the B-tag disappears immediately. That's life.

There's a filthy rich, star-struck son of a businessman who claims to have had wild times with you. His name is Hemal Thakker and apparently your name was linked with his at one time—if he's to be believed. What do you say in your defence of this terrible accusation?
- Oh, I'm going to enjoy this one. Let me tell you about Hemal. He's a lunatic! Spastic! Idiotic! Maniac! He's desperately star-struck. He's got everything in life except a proper family upbringing. He's a spoilt child. He has a lot to learn in life. Like if he doesn't get anything that he desperately wants in life, he wants to run everyone down. Chalo, if he'd only mentioned one girl, people might even have believed him. But here he put Anu's name in print, Raveena's name in print, Manisha's name in print. It was obvious he has a problem in his life. He is like those star-struck groupies (die-hard fans) abroad who follow film stars and rock stars desperately around and try to get one picture, one memento of the star. Poor kid. He's just neurotic and psychotic, both. Let's not give him too much attention. That's what he wants.

The normally placid Aamir Khan is terribly upset by your erratic behaviour during your recent London show. So much so that he opted to perform with Juhi instead, since you were so irregular with your rehearsals. Do shed some light.
- Aamir is not the one who should be upset with me. I'm the one who should be upset with that man. What happens when you're on stage live for a show, it's but natural that you might make a mistake. I did make a mistake which wasn't noticeable and I covered it up immediately. But Aamir noticed only because he knew the movements. The next thing I hear is that Aamir had informed the organisers that he wanted to rehearse with Lollypop, (the choreographer)^ sister Chiclet. What could I say? But what really upset me was when I saw Aamir doing the number on stage with Juhi Chawla instead. As it is I had only three numbers and while she had quite a few and here she was doing one more. For the rest of the shows Aamir even opted out of the medley number he was supposed to have done with me. He said he was too tired. This only left me with one solo song 'Saat samunder'. I was in tears. It was then that Salman came to my rescue. Inspite of having a lot of numbers, inspite of having a broken foot, Salman Khan was sweet enough to agree to do the medley with me. I was very touched by the niceness of the gesture. And I'm sure Aamir must have been aghast. It's sad that he's got the attitude that he's senior and that if we juniors make mistakes we're out. He should correct me. As a senior he should tell me my mistakes, not take them to heart. He should behave like a senior, not a star. Actually one of the organisers even told me that Aamir felt I was ignoring him. But tell me, what difference does it make to him if I ignore him or not? I always greeted him with a 'hello sir'. I didn't ignore him at all. If I did too, it was obvious why. Believe me, I was so upset that I sat in the bathroom and cried for hours. I was very hurt. But I had to be brave and go out there and perform. As we were all paid to do so. I'm still very quite upset with Aamir's starry attitude. Thank god for Salman and his genuine niceness;

Your mentor Rajiv Rai, was in two minds whether to cast you or Juhi opposite Akshay Kumar for his next venture. However the moment you got wind of this, you went out of your way to convince him in your favour. Is it your intense dislike of Juhi that prompted this immediate action.
- Frankly I wasn't even aware that ]uhi-jee was being considered at all. Rajiv asked me to do his film and I agreed at once. I didn't even ask what the role was. Anything for Rajiv, but obviously. He was the one who introduced me here. And in my life, if he ever needs me for anything, I'll be there for him. Even if he tells me to do a character role or a sidey role. Even if he askes me to become a vamp, from a heroine, I'll do it. I have a lot of confidence in him. I think he's a very sweet person, other than a very good director. And believe me when I say I have nothing at all against Juhi -jee. I hardly know her to dislike her.

— BY Omar Qureshi

Interview: Divya Deadly! The New Sensation, Filmfare October 1992

1. Being Careless and Un-cooperative - March 1992
Being careless

"I fail to understand why people think that I'm not serious about my work. That I'm here only for a lark. Is it because I joke and laugh on the sets? Being arrogant and maintaining a distance does not really mean that a person is serious about his or her work. This is ridiculous yaar. I believe in being happy-go-lucky and spreading laughter. Tears and sadness are meant only for you alone. You cannot share your grief with everyone,"


"I admit where my dubbing is concerned, I have a genuine problem. I can dub only after twelve in the afternoon or late at night because in the mornings my voice is very husky. If I'm shooting late in the night then I do avoid dubbing because I get tired. Let me make it very clear that none of my producers have had a problem with me so far. I completed the dubbing of both 'Vishwatma' and 'Shola Aur Shabnam* in a span of five to six days. I think I did a pretty good job of it."

2. Joining movies, being Immature and drugs - March 1992
Entering movies

"I had a very happy and normal childhood. In a way, yes, I was forced into films. But at that time, circumstances were beyond anyone's control. I wanted to be independent. I detested studies and films was the only alternative for me. My father and grandfather did object initially but I still went ahead, I was adamant. Look I'm not ashamed of anything in life especially my past.

Being Immature

"What is wrong if I behave my age. I'm only seventeen. than me, even my grandmother still thinks that I'm a kid. I'm fedup of all the gossip and controversies. I fail to understand why people tend to misunderstand me."

Rumours about Drugs

"Just when my career had started looking up, there were this vicious rumours about me being on drugs. According to them, I'm supposed to be on drugs for the past three years. If I was on drugs then instead of being like a rolypoly elephant. I would have just vanished by now."

1. Experience & allegations of being Arrogant - July 1992
"I may be eighteen years of age but the amount of experience, I have belies my age. From what I've understood and seen. I can confidently say that nobody is perfect in this world. We all have our limitations just as we have our plus points.Thanks to all the rumour mongers I am the most controversial newcomer. I cannot stop getting hurt over all that is said and especially written about me. I am human after all and I do have the emotions that make me vulnerable. I cannot remain immune to criticism.

I know that I am misunderstood. I am supposed to be snooty. But I am not like that. I am very friendly and very very down to earth. My major weakness is that I get too friendly to everyone I start trusting them. I am gullible to all their lies and stories. I've been taken for a royal ride innumerable times. Yet I don't seem to learn a lesson. Inspite of all this, I've not become bitter or cynical and this shows the positive attitude that I've towards life. I cannot be a pessimist.

Neither can I be a hypocrite. I am very frank. I've noticed that many people get unnerved with the way I speak. But my intention is definitely not to hurt the sentiments of the others. I've the conviction to stand by what I say. I will definitely not lie to safeguard my interests and I just cannot be diplomatic. I speak my mind without weighing the pros and cons of what I'm stating. And perhaps this is where my problem lies. However, I cannot change myself to suit other people's attitudes. "

2. Childhood Memories & Vishwatma - July 1992
"I've always been a vivacious girl, somebody who has been full of life. I cannot sit quietly in a corner brooding or sulking. C'mon you live once so make the most of it. I agree I am childish and immature at times but then that's the way I am. I've no split personalities like most people here.

I have been like this right from the time I can remember. Even as a kid I was always upto mischief. The best part was that I would play these pranks and never get caught. I still remember once in school I was eating during class hours, I was pulled up by my teacher for this. I told her that I was hungry hence I was eating. She got angry and since I was sitting on the last bench, she made me get up from there and made me sit on the first bench right under her nose. I was very upset. So when she passed by me during the course of her lecture I jerked my fountain pen. Phew! And all the ink from the pen flew on to her saree.

However, she didn't realise that, not satisfied with that. I had a pair of scissors with me which I had carried for my craft classes. So I took it out and very quietly snipped off the border of her pallau next. Even then she didn't know what had happened. It was only the next day I heard her complaining to one of my classmates about what had happened. Happy with my deed. I just smiled very evilly to myself.

Believe me, when I say that I can do anything for the people I love and care for. Nobody who is close to me can ever say that I've ever fallen short of their expectations. I can give my life for them. But I hate being taken for granted, I hate people trampling over my emotions. That's the reason why I have very few friends. In fact just three of them. And of course I've my family. My parents, my brother Kunal and I are very close to each other. My dad has always given me the best and he always stood by me.

My dad was totally against my decision to become an actress. Since I was adamant he gave in with a lot of reservations and only because he wanted me to be happy. I gave up my studies to join this profession. Not that I regret my decision for I hated studies anyway.

Before the release of Vishwatma I felt like I was on a bed of nails. I had an upset stomach for three days, nothing seemed to register with me. Though the film failed at the box-office. I was appreciated. And that was enough for I knew that I was not a write off.

It was 'Shola Aur Shabnam' that consolidated my position at the box-office.

I have come here to work and I treat every producer, director and hero equally. No preferential treatment to anyone. I get amazed when people call me unprofessional. What's so unprofessional about me? I reach the sets on time. I've no nakhras on the sets, I don't require innumerable retakes to give a shot right. I am a fairly competent actress and dancer. I do what I am told to do. I've the necessary enthusiasm. So why am I being labelled and branded? I usually keep quiet, and do not retaliate. But when people push me against a wall I retaliate.

Though of course I don't forgive people who harm me intentionally. I don't want to brag but people who hurt me have got paid in the same coin sooner or later, without my doing anything. Everybody has to pay for their deeds in this life time."

3. Marriage and Sajid Nadiadwala - July 1992
"If I was even half as notorious as people made me out to be, then would such a caring man like Sajid still be with me? We have been going around for nearly one and a half year now. And things have been just terrific between us. The advantage is that Sajid is very mature and a very experienced man. He has been through a lot in life. Whenever I behave childishly or sulk then Sajid explains things to me. He tells me what is right and what is wrong. I trust his judgement he is never wrong.

Honestly, Sajid has been very patient with me. Like I cannot be domesticated, I cannot cook, to the extent that I can't make a cup of tea. It was Sajid who taught me how to make tea. Even his sister has been a big help. For one whole week, she cooked one particular vegetable so that it would be easier for me to learn how to cook it. The sad part was on the eigthth day I had forgotten everything. Once I cooked dal and Sajid practically spat it out. Not only was it without salt but it was bitter too. guess I am a bad student.

Right now I am going through one of the best phases of my life. Professionally I am doing well. Personally I have Sajid and both our respective families have accepted each other. I don't want to plan out my future, I live day to day. I have become ambitious now. I want to reach the top. I want to be known as an actress of repute. "