Interview By: Amul Vikas Mohan
There are actors, and then there are stars but very rarely you meet or given the opportunity to have a chat with a mix of the two. I really like talking to Anushka Sharma, because for me she is the epitome of that mix I was just talking about. She is a fantastic actor who keeps on surprising you with every new performance of hers and at the same she is a full blown Bollywood A-list superstar. Anushka handles both these aspects of a celebrity with such ease it’s like watching a top class artiste at work. For an actress to have two major releases on two major festivals i.e. Eid and Diwali in one calendar year is hardly heard off and our Anushka is pulling off that this year with such an effortlessness it’s unbelievable. Read on for excerpts.
“As an actor, I let my work do most of the talking, so when fans and movie buffs admire my efforts, I feel touched.”
This year with ﬁ lms like Sultan and the upcoming Ae Dil hai Mushkil, you seemed to have gone even a notch higher. So what are your thoughts on the same ?
I am very grateful for this fantastic year- somewhere I feel like my focus on work ﬁ rst and work alone, have brought me success and a lot of love. With Sultan, given that it’s a ﬁ lm with Salman Khan, I have gotten so much love and adulation! So many people have loved Aarfa, her independent thinking and her values. Ae Dil Hain Mushkil has taken this adulation and unconditional love from people to a higher, wider level, which has been very fulﬁlling. Right from young girls trying to imitate Alizeh’s look, to the praise for this character, adulation and affection have poured in. As an actor, I let my work do most of the talking, so when fans and movie buffs admire these efforts, I feel touched.
What do you think worked in the favor of Sultan? Did you expect this kind of response not just to the ﬁ lm, but also to your performance?
With Sultan I think my character made huge impact because she stands by her convictions and beliefs. That Aarfa got praise and support from fans means the ﬁlm has somewhere given an alternative to the leading lady’s contribution to mainstream cinema. I knew that Sultan will do very well, but the acceptance for Aarfa, has made me feel my efforts have paid off . I trained hard for this character and also worked on the diction, mannerisms and body language within a limited span of time.
Tell us more about Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and your role in it?
In Ae Dil Hain Mushkil, I play Alizeh- a girl who lives life on her own terms. I love my character’s look in the ﬁlm! It’s a beautiful blend of Indian ethnic and western silhouettes. Some of these looks have taken a lot of preparation but in the end, it has paid off . Thanks to Karan, Manish and my team who worked on hair and makeup!
What was the kind of preparation that was needed for Ae Dil Hai Mushkil?
I had to train in diction to get the Urdu accent accurate. Besides that, the character is easy to relate to for me as a person. Karan and I spoke and discussed Alizeh a lot, and I worked on the minute details in the character. Since I am quite comfortable working with Ranbir, our equation helped in playing this role too.
How different was the experience of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil from your other ﬁlms?
Working in Ae Dil Hain Mushkil was a lot of fun – with travel, food and great company. For most ﬁlms, I tend to prepare extensively, do workshops and research which was the case with this one as well.
You are one of the new crop of actors who have always taken risks or done something new. What do you have to say about the youth dominating in different parts of cinema today with fresher ideas?
I think fresher, newer ideas of content in cinema ARE the need of the hour and I think it is working with audiences. More than about taking risks, for the sake of risks, for me personally, as producer and actor, it’s about making ﬁlms and telling stories that are relevant and entertaining. All over the world as cinema has evolved as has content on television and on the web. For Hindi ﬁlms to appeal to younger audiences, we will also need to match these ideas and keep pace with changes. With these ﬁlms also doing well, the change is gradual but it’s deﬁnitely happening.
“For Hindi films to appeal to younger audiences, we will also need to match these ideas and keep pace with changes.”
As an actor what is it that further keeps you going despite the fact that there may be naysayers who will criticize you or judge you?
For me, it’s the audience/fans who appreciate my work. Criticism isn’t restricted to ﬁlms alone, naysayers comment and judge you about personal choices too. You can’t focus on the negativity alone. You have to focus on that which keeps you going and inspires you. I choose not to react to slander or negative criticism but am open to constructive feedback. For me, delivering good ﬁlms is my biggest motivation and only answer to naysayers.
How is your next production Phillauri coming along?
We’ve completed shooting for Phillauri and postproduction work is ongoing. It’s a beautiful ﬁ lm and very special to us as it’s our second home production. We’ve shot in peak summers of Punjab and it was a hectic busy schedule as I also shot for Sultan simultaneously. But it’s brought together very talented people and everyone has worked towards delivering a really good ﬁ lm. Fingers crossed for a release early next year!
As a young producer what are the challenges that you face and how do you overcome them overtime…
Being producer is a lot of responsibility but I knew what I was getting into when I took it up. For me, I really want to make ﬁlms that will be remembered for telling solid, qualitative stories. Of course, with my hands full with multiple ﬁlms, I simply couldn’t have done this without my brother Karnesh’s support. He is backing every detail and aspect of our productions. I participate in narrations, meetings and do pay attention to ﬁlming. We were fortunate that NH 10, our ﬁrst ﬁlm was so well received both by audiences and the ﬁlm industry. I hope Phillauri also makes a similar positive impact as we want to continue producing such ﬁlms.
This is also our 18th anniversary issue, tell us what you were doing when you were 18 and what was the turning point of your life when you realized what you actually want to do?
I was modeling when I was 18. But I always did want to be an actor. I recall, when I would be told to have a blank expression on the ramp, I would ﬁnd it a bit confusing as I tended to smile at the audience.