Exclusive: Ileana D’Cruz on motherhood, movies & more | Filmfare.com

Ileana D’Cruz, renowned for her compelling performances, opens up about her transformative journey into motherhood, her battle with postpartum depression, and the unwavering support from her husband, Michael Dolan. In this candid interview, she reflects on the evolving definition of love, the impact of her blockbuster debut in Barfi!, and the highs and lows of her career. With deep insights into personal and professional life, Ileana shares what keeps her grounded, the importance of respecting time, and what truly makes a person attractive beyond appearances.

Motherhood is a milestone. How has it changed you?

Yes, I am pretty busy with the baby. I am a completely different person in many ways. I have become calmer now. Everything changes after becoming a mother.

How did you deal with postpartum depression?

One thing that has helped me is being able to talk about it. Secondly, whenever I am going for my baby’s appointment, the doctors also check on the mother. They give you a questionnaire to assess how you are doing mentally. They ask if you need help. So, there is always that communication, which helps immensely. If you can talk about it and share how you’re feeling with somebody, there’s always a way around it. But postpartum depression is alienating, and you don’t talk about it enough. At least I didn’t share enough about it when I was in India, so it was something I just wanted to discuss a little. Many women go through it quietly and don’t understand why. For me, what helped first was to start talking about it. My husband is amazing. He’s been really great, so every time I have had a low phase and am not feeling my best, he comes in, gives me some time off, and talks to me about it. He reassures me that I have dealt with it really well. Sometimes, that’s all it takes.

Tell us more about your bond with your life partner, Michael Dolan.I have been fortunate to have a really lovely partner. It’s made me feel almost like fairy-tale love, where sometimes you don’t believe that someone can love even the worst parts of you. But yes, Mike has seen the worst parts of me as well, and he still loves me a lot. He still looks at me, and sometimes I look like crap, but he’s just like that. It’s all these little things. I can be really horrible, mean, and moody sometimes, but he’s still really kind, sweet, and calm. That’s what love is, you know—there are no conditions. It’s like, I take you for good days and bad days.

How has the definition of love changed for you over the years?

It has definitely changed immensely for me. I have read about love where many people say things like, “If you can’t love yourself, how do you expect somebody to love you?” I used to believe that for a while, but I feel I am still working on self-love myself. Having somebody love me the way my husband does gets me to love myself more. My perspective on love has definitely changed. On days when I am not kind to myself, I look to my husband to help me be nice to myself. Being with him and having him love me the way he has, because he has seen so many different phases, has kind of made me love myself a little more. It helps me be kinder to myself.

What attracted you to Do Aur Do Pyaar?
The story was very sweet, unusual, and quirky. It was also the pairing of all these amazing actors. We had Vidya, obviously, and getting to work with her was a really big bonus. Prateik Gandhi is such an unusual character actor himself. For me, most of the films that I do, I go with a gut feeling. If something in my gut says this feels like a good story to be a part of, I just do it.For someone as talented as you, was it even more exciting working with Vidya Balan, a superb actor?Yes, I adore Vidya. I think she’s a fabulous actor. I first met Vidya after I did Barfi!. I remember she sent me an email after Barfi! released, saying how much she liked my performance in the film. I met her at award shows after that, along with Sid, who was producing Barfi!. So, there was an instant bond with her right from the beginning. When I met her for the film, it was like no time had passed. We just hung out in each other’s van, and she has such lovely energy around her. I still remember the first day we shot together. I was not feeling great and had a weird anxiety attack. She came over to see me, and we just sat and talked about random stuff. After 15-20 minutes, I felt amazing. She has such beautiful energy and is a gifted actress. She’s great to watch and perform with.

Ileana D’Cruz

What are your views on infidelity?

It’s a completely unrelated thing to say. I think infidelity is very subjective. Many people consider infidelity to be either physical or emotional. I feel like infidelity is very subjective. Personally, I don’t feel a relationship can continue if there is infidelity. It is very hard to go back to a relationship if you know you have been unfaithful. It’s a very grey zone.

It’s hard to forgive your partner in that case.

It’s definitely hard. I feel there are reasons people do what they do. I would like to know the reason why it happened. I am not somebody who just cuts off someone immediately. I would like to know the why and the what, and because of what, why it happened.

Your first Hindi film, Barfi!, was a blockbuster movie, and then there were ups and downs in your career. How did you deal with it?

It is a part of my profession. You have to go up and down. I feel doubt comes in when you have certain convictions about a film and it goes completely the opposite way. That doubt starts creeping in. Most of the films that I did, I had an idea of how they would do. I don’t feel like there were many downs—probably one or two low phases. At that time, I wasn’t happy with the offers coming my way. But as far as the movies are concerned, I still stand by the decision that I did a good job. Sometimes, it turns out to be a great film; sometimes, it doesn’t. I am like, it is what it is, and such is life.

Ileana D’Cruz

Are you in touch with your co-actors from Barfi!?Friendship doesn’t happen with everyone. They have all been my co-actors, my colleagues, my acquaintances—people I have worked with. Every time I meet Ranbir Kapoor, there’s always warmth and genuine fondness. We are very cordial because we have a great working relationship. I have very few friends in the industry, and those people have remained my friends. Arshad Warsi, Maria, and I are still friends and call each other every now and then. I have actually made more friends with the people I worked with, not the actors.What was the defining moment of your life?Experiencing success for the first time in life and not really understanding it. Probably doing Barfi! was another very big defining moment. Going to an international film festival to see the film on an international level was another defining moment because it changed my life entirely. These moments helped me change who I am as a person and moulded me into the person that I am today.What are the mistakes you’ll never commit as a professional?Disrespecting anybody’s time. That’s one thing I realised very early on in my life: time is money. There was probably a time in my career when I was young and had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t understand any of it and was still like a kid. I didn’t understand the seriousness of my job, but once I realised how serious our work is, I developed a respect for it immediately. I will never take it for granted.

Ileana D’Cruz

What keeps you going as an actor?The love for my job. I just love being an actor. It’s the thing that makes me feel most alive. I can be as tired as anybody, but if I am on a set and in front of a camera, doing what I love, playing a character, breathing life into something that a person has taken hours and days to write, it’s a beautiful, powerful moment.

Ileana D’Cruz

What makes a woman highly attractive besides her looks?What makes you attractive has nothing to do with how you look. It’s purely energy more than anything. I believe it’s a person’s energy, how you are as a person, how you treat other people, and how you come across to everybody. A kind person is incredibly attractive for sure.

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