'IM JUST GO­ING WITH THE FLOW'

Ac­tor Anushka Sharma says she finds too much think­ing trou­ble­some; adds Shah Rukh Khan’s ded­i­ca­tion is ad­mirable, and ‘re­ally mo­ti­vates’ her

HT Cafe - - FRONT PAGE - Prashant Singh [email protected]

Con­sider this: in 2008, Anushka Sharma makes her de­but on De­cem­ber 12 op­po­site Shah Rukh Khan in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (RNBDJ). And now, as she com­pletes a decade in the film in­dus­try, the ac­tor is ready­ing for the re­lease of her next, Zero (on De­cem­ber 21), again costar­ring SRK. So, call­ing it just a co­in­ci­dence could be an un­der­state­ment. “Only the re­lease dates’ dig­its are op­po­site, with my de­but film’s re­lease date be­ing 12 and Zero re­leas­ing on 21st. But it’s such a cool thing that I com­plete a decade in the same month and with a film co-star­ring the same hero,” says Anushka, as she talks about her jour­ney so far, adding she has lit­er­ally grown up in front of SRK.

2018 has been great for you...

Yes, I feel re­ally good. Talking of per­for­mances, they have been uniquely dif­fer­ent from one another, which I am very happy and sat­is­fied with. I think it’s a good rep­u­ta­tion to have, that I can com­pletely trans­form my­self as an ac­tor on screen, and ap­pear as a to­tally new per­son. Also, all my films have been ap­pre­ci­ated im­mensely. Whether it’s Pari, Sui Dhaaga or Zero, these per­for­mances will al­ways be mem­o­rable to me, and I hope they get the kind of ac­cep­tance that an artist de­sires. For that rea­son, 2018 has been that high [point] for me as an ac­tor.

As you com­plete a decade now, are you think­ing of re­cal­i­brat­ing things with re­gards to ca­reer?

Hon­estly, I re­ally don’t think that much. I’m just go­ing with the flow. Think­ing too much trou­bles me. I don’t even re­alise on my own that I’ve com­pleted a decade. Some­one has to re­mind me about that. It has all gone so fast. For me, it’s all about where I stand right now. What I did be­fore doesn’t in­ter­est me, be­cause I al­ways want to do some­thing dif­fer­ent.

You have achieved a lot of suc­cess and star­dom. What still keeps you mo­ti­vated?

If I am work­ing with cre­atively driven peo­ple and whom I un­der­stand well, I get very ex­cited. So, I re­ally en­joyed the process of work­ing with Sharat

Since you haven’t an­nounced a new film af­ter Zero, ru­mours seem to sug­gest that you are set to take the fam­ily route…

That’s [spread­ing ru­mours] some­thing peo­ple will do any­way. It’s com­pletely un­nec­es­sary and silly as you ul­ti­mately can’t hide such a thing. You can hide a mar­riage but not preg­nancy. Peo­ple can write non­sense but they will only look fool­ish af­ter four months as you also need to see it. I feel ev­ery fe­male ac­tor goes through it, so peo­ple marry you off even be­fore you are hitched and make you a mother be­fore you are preg­nant. I don’t pay at­ten­tion to it, and just laugh these things off since I find them hi­lar­i­ous. When I read such stuff, I think, ‘where do such ab­surd things come from?’ Right now, I’m lit­er­ally work­ing round-the-clock.

Katariya [in Sui Dhaaga]. Sim­i­larly, I en­joyed work­ing with Aanand L Rai a lot. He has tried to cre­ate many larg­erthan-life things in Zero. Hon­estly speak­ing, when some­thing unique hap­pens in films, it re­ally mo­ti­vates me. As an ac­tor, I will al­ways pick in­ter­est­ing roles for my­self. Ul­ti­mately, I want to do some­thing dif­fer­ent and push the en­ve­lope. At the same time, it should also reach a wider au­di­ence.

Shah Rukh Khan re­cently said that he has lit­er­ally seen you grow in the film in­dus­try...

It’s true. When I met Shah Rukh to shoot for RNBDJ, I was 19 years old. While film­ing it, I turned 20. I am 30 years old now, so yes, I have grown up in front of him. I have done four films with him, so it’s like ev­ery two years, I work with him (smiles). So, I feel af­ter hav­ing worked for so long, my bond­ing with him has be­come much stronger and spe­cial as well. What I ad­mire about him is his sheer ded­i­ca­tion and just be­ing con­stantly at work. That re­ally mo­ti­vates me a lot.

Talking of Zero, what was the most chal­leng­ing part about play­ing your char­ac­ter?

Play­ing Aafiya has def­i­nitely been ex­tremely chal­leng­ing, es­pe­cially be­cause I think when you are play­ing such a char­ac­ter, as an ac­tor, you have a huge re­spon­si­bil­ity to­wards it, to play it truth­fully. Prac­ti­cally, since my char­ac­ter has cere­bral palsy, her body ex­pe­ri­ences an in­vol­un­tary move­ment. So, it was some­thing that I had to prep a lot for, in or­der to get used to it and make it my sec­ond na­ture so that I’m able to un­der­stand her phys­i­cal­ity and also un­der­stand her con­fine­ment [as she is on a wheel chair].

Jab Harry Met Se­jal, Pari, Sanju, Sui Dhaaga and now, Zero. You have been work­ing with­out a break for al­most two years now. Aren’t you feel­ing tired — phys­i­cally and men­tally?

Right now, I ac­tu­ally am (smiles). You don’t re­alise such things when you are in the midst of it all be­cause at that time, the pres­sure of do­ing it is so much that you don’t al­low your mind to play tricks with you in mak­ing you un­der­stand, ke bahut zyaada ho raha hai. Also, in the re­cent past, I have been do­ing back-to­back de­mand­ing roles, and not nec­es­sar­ily in the most con­ducive en­vi­ron­ment (smiles). So, of course, you would want things to be a bit eas­ier. Now, there’s a need to gather my­self, else I will start feel­ing fa­tigued — phys­i­cally as well as men­tally.

In be­tween all your films, you got mar­ried [to Vi­rat Kohli] as well…

I was work­ing till two days be­fore my mar­riage and then got into all the wed­ding fes­tiv­i­ties which were very hec­tic. Af­ter that, I took a break for just a week in South Africa. And then I was back on the sets for Zero and Sui Dhaaga. So, it’s def­i­nitely been very hec­tic as I have been work­ing round the clock. I feel I must un­der­stand that I’ve to re­spect my mind and my­self a lit­tle more. When you are ac­tu­ally go­ing through a process, you ig­nore it but then it sud­denly kicks in and you re­alise, ‘oh, I have had four films this year’. That can be very tax­ing for an ac­tor or any creative per­son. For a healthy creative out­let, you need to have a re­newed per­spec­tive and a fresh mind.

In Zero, you play a woman with cere­bral palsy. When you play such a sen­si­tive part, do you feel an ex­tra sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity? Not just Zero’s Aafiya, I feel the same about ev­ery char­ac­ter I play. I have been 100% com­mit­ted to ev­ery role that I’ve played, to en­sure that it looks real. For in­stance, in Sui Dhaaga, I didn’t think even for a sec­ond that, ‘I am play­ing a reg­u­lar woman but let me also look a lit­tle nice or put thoda makeup’. So my in­tent is al­ways to play my char­ac­ters truth­fully. I go all out and I don’t ride two boats at the same time. That’s very im­por­tant as an ac­tor. You have to re­ally im­merse your­self fully in a char­ac­ter, es­pe­cially if you have got an op­por­tu­nity and as well as the re­spon­si­bil­ity, the way I have got with Aafiya’s char­ac­ter. When you por­tray some­body’s life, it comes with a re­spon­si­bil­ity.

How was it work­ing with Zero di­rec­tor Aanand L Rai? What were your im­pres­sions of his cine­matic sen­si­bil­i­ties?

He is very soft-hearted but has got a lot of strength as a per­son, along with a lot of clar­ity as a di­rec­tor. He is very clear about what he wants out of you and that’s why I just fol­lowed his vi­sion com­pletely. He said, ‘have faith and come on this jour­ney with me’. So, I com­pletely trusted him. He kept telling me, ‘this is how I will show your char­ac­ter and that the story is go­ing to be a cer­tain way’. The clar­ity and pas­sion with which Aanand sir spoke to me made me want to go on this jour­ney with him.

You re­cently un­veiled your in­ter­ac­tive wax statue at the Madame Tus­sauds in Sin­ga­pore. How did it feel?

It was pretty awe­some. I even took a selfie with my­self (laughs). It’s in­cred­i­ble. I re­mem­ber see­ing Shah Rukh’s statue many years ago and think­ing, ‘how cool is it that some­one can be so loved, revered and pop­u­lar that you can make a statue of him’. In a way, it’s a bit freaky but a statue im­mor­talises you. My statue has also been made so well that when you see it, you are amazed as to how real it is. I think it’s an ac­com­plish­ment and I’m re­ally grate­ful that my statue stands with all those amaz­ing leg­ends and stars.

Anushka Sharma

PHOTO: MAZEN ABUS­ROUR

Anushka Sharma Ev­ery now and then, trolls and ne­ti­zens seem to tar­get you for some or the other rea­son. But by now, have you at­tained so­cial me­dia nir­vana? Hon­estly, I don’t re­ally care about trolls and what’s be­ing writ­ten on so­cial me­dia [about me]. If I am both­ered by them, then there’s a prob­lem with me. If trolls and peo­ple talking non­sense starts to bother me, then I should re­ally look at what wrong I am do­ing with my­self. Ac­tu­ally, I don’t even re­act to things [on it]. I feel some peo­ple are re­ally mis­er­able and aren’t able to find the rights things to do with their time and in­tel­li­gence.

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