Interview By: ANKITA R. KANABAR

With back-to-back successes and unique roles, NushratBharucha has carved her own way in the hearts of the audience and the industry. Little wonder then, that post ‘SonuKeTitu Ki Sweety’, she’s been signing such varied projects – starting with ‘Dreamgirl’. Enjoying the success of her latest release;Nushrat talks about how different this film has been and more. Excerpts:

What’s your reaction to the success that ‘Dreamgirl’ got?
I’m ecstatic, elated. When you choose a film you’re not really sure if you’ve taken the right decision and somewhere with ‘Dreamgirl’ – Ayush and me we both have said in all interviews that we had that instant feeling that this will do well. Ayush actually said that it had blockbuster written all over it. I truly felt it was such an entertaining film. I had to do it. For me, this film was a gut decision and I’m glad that somewhere my gut has resonated with the audiences and people have given it this kind of love, positivity. I’m just glad people are having fun with the film. It’s an amazing feeling.

You’ve said to me earlier that it’s not just a challenge to find success outside the ‘PyaarKaPunchnama’ franchise but also a challenge to find films you wish to do outside that. How did ‘Dreamgirl’ fall into your criteria?
I think, it’s always going to be a challenge to find the films you want to do; even today. You change with time and you change with every film. My modus operandi has always been that I want to do something I’ve not done before. From ‘PyaarKaPunchnama 1’ to the sequel – even though the film and premise was the same, my characters were world apart. Which is why, I had fun doing it. I think, back then nobody wanted to do ‘PyaarKaPunchnama’ and nobody wanted to cast me as a leading heroine. So, it was a very good fit I guess that I took up a film where I thought I will be one of the lead heroines eventhough there are six actors and three girls in the film. I felt that nobody wants to cast me but this one team is showing faith in me – my director Luv, producer Abhishek. They all had faith and wanted to cast us and we were all newcomers. They believed in us and I felt like, let’s do this film. We made it with so much honesty and I feel that the honesty and love just for the film is what people saw on-screen. I’m glad they loved and appreciated the way they did. I think my criteria has always been that it should be a good film more than anything else. May be in that sense, ‘Dreamgirl’ does fit into my world because again, it’s such a quirky concept. I feel like I’m doing quirky films all along. I went on to say, I’m not the heroine, I’m the villain of the film. Raaj the director of the film, he told me I was the first choice. He said that if I said no, he would have to think of who else to go to. I’m just happy that there was someone again who believed in me that much and when I heard the script, the film was amazingly funny to me. It was as simple as that. At this point, even we didn’t realise that the film will do this kind of business though. You just have to do your best that you can.

How different was the experience on this one?
I’m a very nervous actor. I’m very critical of myself. I find it very difficult. I get conscious to see myself on the monitor after a shot. I feel like if I see it, then I will use my brains and will try and change it or might manipulate it to the best of my understanding. But if I do that then I’m restricting myself to only my understanding. Where is the magic in that? I feel like, you should be able to let yourself go and see from someone else’s eyes. Let someone else decide whether they have got what they want. In all my cases, I let the director take that call. So, even in ‘Dreamgirl’, I’ve not gone and seen the monitor after I do the shot. I just let them decide whether it’s okay or not. At most, I’ll say take another shot because may be I didn’t feel the emotion enough but I don’t look at it. So, I feel like, in this film I was able to kind of relax a little bit. I was less critical of myself and less stressed out. Which also had to do with the fact that this film was such a laugh riot. To do humour or this kind of comedy you have to be easy with it. If you’re going to be nervous or helter-skelter, it’s just going to show. That’s just what I learnt on this film. I learnt to relax. I have been cracking jokes. I would just have fun with it. I think that fun element is what this film brought into me with a lot of calmness and ease. It was a blast and that really came across even on-screen.

Do you feel this film has also sort of broken the stereotype around you created by your earlier films?
Even though people stereotyped me as the bitch or a nagging girlfriend or the villain of ‘SonuKeTitu Ki Sweety’ – for me they were character, roles. I had to truly believe that girl was in all of those films. So, if you actually ask me my working behind it; for every character of mine whether it was ‘PKP’ or the sequel, I have a whole book which is her entire back history of why this girl would think like that. Why is she so controlling or nagging? I’ve had to go and understand her completely. Only then I would be so sure of my stance in that fight with the boy. I have to be convinced that what I’m saying is truly important to me and it hurts me sometimes and that’s why I’m fighting with you about it. People like that do exist and relationships are there where two people are not meant to be together and they’re fighting to be together and that’s what ‘PyaarKaPunchnama’ was. These three boys were not good with these three girls and they should probably wait for better partners. Even if the world stereotyped me, for me they were characters and I’ve never felt like I need to get out of this tag. I owned it, loved it. If there was another part to ‘PKP’ or ‘SonuKeTitu Ki Sweety’, I would do it in a heartbeat. ‘Dreamgirl’ for me was just another story with no baggage. I don’t want to change anything. I’m just happy with who I am. I want to do scripts that impact me, entertain me; that’s about it.

At this point, what is it that you’re looking for? In terms of the roles you want to do after this?
I just want to do roles which challenge me, take up a different world, different emotions. Just be in a different story all over again. For me, as an actor, I don’t define it in genres. For me, it’s just emotions –romance is an emotion, not a genre. Action is an emotion of angst or revenge. Comedy is an emotion. I look at a story from a very emotional point of you. Whether you’re able to communicate that emotion to the audience, is the key really. If that comes out well, then I’m sold on that film. Just something that keeps me going – simple, complicated, grey, dark, black, everything (laughs).

“I just hope the audience keeps giving us that support. We can up the game only if they let us”

In today’s changing scenario, how easy or difficult has it become for actors to find roles that satisfy your creative soul?
I think right now is a really good space for every actor, every writer or director, producer who wants to say something different. There’s a term for that I think – thinking actor’s films or guild I guess. It should be something which keeps challenging your mind and keeping you on the edge. I feel like this is a good time for that space to be able to do things different. Emotions are going to be the same – you’re going to make people laugh, cry or make them angry. Emotions are the same. It’s just about how differently you’re going to say them. For me, creativity for us right now is at the peak and audiences are the ones to credit for this. They are giving the backing to such films that people can make stuff like that. There have been great films and concepts that have done so exceptionally well and I just hope the audience keeps giving us that support. We can up the game only if they let us.

Do you finally feel settled here and do you feel that despite the success of the ‘PKP’ franchise – it is ‘Sonu…’ which has been a turning point for you?
Yes, the turning point has been ‘Sonu…’ eventhough the ‘PKP’ franchise has been successful in its own way. But one has to understand that a film says something. Now both those films – the girls were cause to a certain effect which the makers wanted to have the audiences to feel. The girls were always a set-up of a joke only. So, in that case, we were never taken seriously as actor because the film was author-backed for the boys itself. If you’re smart enough as an actor, you recognise what the film is and you have to contribute to that film. I’m not an actor who thinks from the point of view that ‘ismeinmerakyahai’? It’s about what I can do for the film. I have to contribute to the film that way. That’s the correct job of an actor. That’s what gives me joy. If you want me to be a bitch, I’ll be a great bitch or a nagging girlfriend if you want me to. In that case in the ‘PKP’ franchise, as girls we were restricted to just that. We didn’t have much beyond that to do. In ‘Sonu…’, if you think about it, the girl was not all negative. She was strong and has a stand on the matter. The boy almost lost the fight to the girl – towards the end. He didn’t have anything to win the boy back. In that film, the concept, the premise was so much more for us as actors. The scope was so much more that it became the turning point for me. Also, it did a lot more business!

Tell us about your upcoming projects.
So, after this, I will have ‘Turram Khan’ which will release on January 31, 2020. That’s with Rajkummar and Hansal sir directing. That’s very special for me. A completely different film and world. I never thought, coming from ‘PKP’ and ‘Sonu..’ which are so commercial and different from Hansal sir’s work – that I would be in a Hansal Mehta film. I’ve watched all his films. Infact, I did audition for some of his work before so I feel blessed and thrilled to be a part of his cinema. This film is always going to be special for me for so many reasons. It’s been eight years now; I started with him in ‘LSD’ and now I’m working with him again. What an amazing person and he is very close to my heart so I’m glad I’m working with him again. And the next after that is ‘Hurdang’ with Sunny Kaushal and Vijay Verma. It’s directed by a new director called Nikhil. Again when I heard that film, the girl in it was so amazingly written. I instantly fell in love with her. While the narration was going on, I was imagining myself saying those lines, and I was like, I can’t let this go. I have to be this girl. She has to be a part of my filmography. I wanted to push myself and be this girl. I love the 90s, and this film is set in the 90s with the backdrop of this agitation which comes in between this love story because of the ‘Mandal Commission’ at that point. I love every topic we’ve touched upon and what a bunch of actors to be with again. So, very excited and hoping it all turns out as well as ‘Dreamgirl has’.

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