Breaking news INTERVIEWS

Ileana D’Cruz: “I feel honored to be part of FIFM and I love Morocco’s old world charm”

Written by Amal Asebriy

Ileana D’Cruz was India’s representative at Marrakech Film Fesival major jury chaired by the American director James Gray. Moroccan Ladies met with the Indian actress to talk about her experience in Marrakech, participation as a jury member, the roles she played and her first steps as an actress. 

You started out as a model, and switched to acting at a very young age. What inspired you to be an actress?

Honestly nothing. It wasn’t a dream or a goal of any sort. Even with modeling, I only did small ramp shows in my hometown which don’t really qualify, plus a few commercials. At first, it was an interesting sort of world for me, it wasn’t something I was aiming to be part of. I was extremely shy as a person, pretty much an introvert, and I was uncomfortable with the limelight.  So it took a while for me to get used to.  It was only around my seventh film that I started to really enjoy my work.

You held roles in movies from various genres. We’ve seen you in romance-comedy, thriller and action…, do you deliberately diversify your selection or is it just luck?

I intentionally do. I’ve also been lucky enough with the choices I got, not many people are fortunate with getting as many. I never wanted to be one of those actors to get slotted into one category, although some actors prefer it, but for me it was important to be known as a diverse actress, someone who could do possibly anything and push myself every day. That’s what I enjoy most about my work.

Which genre are you most comfortable playing?

I can’t say. Neither, I think it’s great to be able to push yourself out of the comfort zone. If you get stuck in a comfortable environment, you lose the whole spark and joy of getting to work every day. I like to wonder how I’m going to play and nail a certain character, that’s something that keeps me in my toes and when I can achieve what I want, it feels rewarding.

Moroccans relate to Indian movies and enjoy the whole Bollywood atmosphere, do you as an Indian relate to Moroccan cinema as well, and if so in which ways?

I’ve watched one Moroccan movie so far, and to an extent I can relate to the culture in certain aspects, because my mother was Muslim, so certain things are familiar. It is, however, extremely different still, there’s a massive difference but I love the old world kind of charm that Morocco has.

As a jury member, what are your thoughts about the selection of movies in competition this year?

Oh fantastic honestly. Though I can’t reveal much. It was so eye-opening for me to watch films from all over the world and in languages that I never thought I’d be able to see. So it is a great opportunity for me. I feel really lucky and honored to be a part of this.

What makes a good movie/performance for you?

I think story always counts. As a movie it needs to be a whole experience that immerses people in. But also, actors are very important as well. You can sometimes tell if they’re not really honest and as invested. So for me I’m particular about good acting in a film. Actors need to get lost and some of the performers I’ve seen in these films were amazing, I even forgot that they were playing. And that’s the best part about watching a film.

It’s your second time in Morocco, what do you find special about the country?

I love the old world charm here, I think it’s beautiful. The architecture is stunning. The weather is fantastic. The food’s amazing. The people are outstanding. I can’t choose one thing. I think Morocco as a whole is a beautiful experience.