'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
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 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.