Bipasha Basu is a nervous flier. Like most people who fear flying, she avoids being on small aircrafts, which are more susceptible to air turbulence. On Wednesday, the actress was to fly back to Mumbai from Diu after completing Priyadarshan's Aakrosh, and her co-star Ajay Devgn convinced her to accompany him on a small chartered flight.
There is a regular 64-seater direct flight from Diu to Mumbai but it takes four hours and takes a detour via Porbander. Ajay decided to return to the city sooner by chartering a flight, and flying directly with five other members of the cast and crew.
The six-seater Cessna had them back in the city in an hour. Says producer Kumar Mangat, "Robin Bhatt, Priyadarshan, Reema Sen and George were also on the same flight." Even though they saved 90 minutes of flying time, Bips doesn't want to repeat the experience. The actress says, "When AJ asked me to fly with him, I was reluctant. I have a fear of small flights and have avoided them for nine years. I didn't want to take the normal flight as it takes more time so I said yes. Also, I didn't want to sound like a freak when everyone else was being so brave."
The actress continues, "You have to crawl into the aircraft. But Ajay pacified me by saying that he, too, is claustrophobic and that I would feel better after some time if I relaxed. After we took off, we ran into rough weather and were thrown around in our seats like potatoes in a sack. I have been reading about plane crashes for a while now and panicked."
The rest of the people on the flight, however, remained unperturbed. "Ajay, Reema and George were laughing and joking about the plane crashing while Priyan slept."
The actress learnt the Gayatri Mantra last year and she kept chanting it to calm her nerves. Bips adds, "It just popped into my mind. I think I must have chanted it at least 3000 times on that flight. Fortunately, the plane landed safely. I hate flying; especially in the monsoons when the weather gets choppy. Initially, Ajay and Reema were trying to scare me but when she saw how terrified I was, she asked Ajay to stop joking."
She recalls another horrifying flying experience in 2008. "It was during the monsoons and I was on a Mumbai-Bangkok flight. The turbulence never stopped and the trolley of the airhostesses jumped in the air and the food got scattered everywhere. That's why I am scared of travelling during the monsoons and am almost paranoid about flying. But now, this Diu flight tops that experience."