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Catherine Deneuve on Box Office: It’s a Game You Have to Play

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Veteran French actress Catherine Deneuve, who has been conferred the lifetime achievement award at the 16th Mumbai Film Festival (MFF), on Wednesday said that the box office game is a part and parcel of filmmaking.

The 70-year-old was in conversation with film critic Anupama Chopra and Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone during a masterclass at the ongoing MFF here, when she was asked if box office matters to her and whether the number game ever takes a toll on the quality of films.

To this, Ms Deneuve said, “It was never like that. I don’t know how it is here in India. In America, there is a box office thing; in France, it’s not so strong. I never felt like that. I am quite happy working in France.”

“Just to get an idea, I look at it (box office) at times. At times, films you don’t expect, do really well. So, it’s amazing that you don’t know what is going to happen. If you already know what would happen, you would not make different films, so the best thing is that you don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s a game that you have to play,” she added.

The graceful and elegant actress started working in showbiz during her teenage years, and she is best known for her iconic roles in films such as Repulsion, Belle de Jour and Tristana and more recently in Dancer in the Dark and 8 Women.

Counted among some of the most sought after and classic beauties of French cinema, Ms Deneuve says she has seen bad ugly days too during her career.

When Anupama Chopra asked her about the downside of being an actress, she said, “I have had a lot of ugly and bad days. There are days when your temperament is high, but that time, you prefer not to work with people with whom you are not close, or else it can put a bad impression. You have to be nice and be yourself. I feel there is a downside to everything, because people expect a lot from you when you are an actress.”

Deepika, who shared the masterclass panel, agrees.

“There are days when you just don’t want to put the make-up on and just be yourself. I do realise there is so much expectation and you can’t let them (people) down,” she said.

Nevertheless, even after so many years, Ms Deneuve has been at it to “try to make it better”.

“Every time you make it feel like the first time. But over the years, you learn to refuse and say no, because you have to remind yourself that even you are a person, and turn down a few offers,” she says.

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