"In Bollywood it is like there would be little bit of acting to do, look pretty throughout and dance with a handsome in a masala movie. That is what I had in mind and I did not want to get into such a film," Ilena told PTI in an interview.
Known down south as a glamorous beauty, Ilena doesn`t want that label to continue in the Hindi film industry, but wants author-backed roles and not arm candy parts.
"I have been doing south films for six years. And there were lot of offers from Bollywood earlier which did not interest me much. The story line and my role in `Barfi` is something I really liked a lot. It is different from what I have done so far, hence I chose to do this film. It is all about right time," she said.
Releasing on September 14, `Barfi` is a romantic comedy around three characters. There is Murphy (Ranbir) whom everyone calls Barfi. He is always ready with a prank and cannot speak or hear. Jhilmil (Priyanka) is an autistic girl, while Ilena plays Shruti, who falls in love with Barfi.
Ilena had earlier turned down an offer to star opposite actor Salman Khan in `Wanted`, which was a remake of her own south film `Pokhiri`. She chose to wait for a more challenging role.
"When I was offered this role I was flattered as it required me to show my ability as an actor. Anurag told me the story and role...he said he has found his Shruti," Ilena said.
"He was sure I was fit for the role. But I was completely taken off guard did not expect a launch with a film like this," she said adding that since `Barfi` is not a regular Bollywood film, she was worried whether she would be able to do justice with the role.
"Considering it`s a big film and different, I was like will I be able to pull through this, It required a lot of me. He (Basu) had blind faith in me. He was encouraging...It was flattering...," Ilena said.