Interview By: ANKITA R. KANABAR

While one still hasn’t gotten over her performance in her debut film, Sara Ali Khan is back with her second out – Rohit Shetty’s ‘Simmba’. She’s pretty and all that, but it’s her intellect that can’t be missed as well. We catch up with Sara to speak about this latest release and the appreciation for ‘Kedarnath’…

What’s the feeling like – now with the appreciation you’ve got for ‘Kedarnath’?
Honestly, a lot of people think of it as ‘Chapter 1’ is over. But that’s not how I see it. I think the only thing that’s happened, at least for me on a personal level – is that I needed to see myself on-screen. I understand that my parents, the media, the audience, everyone matters a lot but at the risk of sounding arrogant – if you yourself are not convinced, you can try till the cows come, you will not be able to convince anyone else. I needed to watch the film, I needed to do that. After having done that, and then, seeing the appreciation that one has got, you feel a sense of duty now. It’s not confidence but because of the love that you get in any form, it comes with a duty attached to it. Because you’ve liked me, I know what it takes to make you like me. I want to make sure I do that for the rest of my life.

What’s the feedback you cherish the most?
I went incognito to watch the film with the audience at PVR and Gaeity and I don’t want to sound sadist but you’ll understand where I’m coming from. I really enjoyed when people were crying in the climax, seeing me. That’s what it is. I feel like when you do a film, and if you are moved – permanently or in the moment, it’s the most beautiful feeling. I’ve had the opportunity to be moved multiple times during ‘Kedarnath’. It’s similarly my duty to move you for a second and in parts, we as a team have done that.

How’s the transition been for you from an emotional story like ‘Kedarnath’ to a potboiler like ‘Simmba’?
When you are playing characters, it doesn’t matter if you are crying or laughing or shouting, because it’s not you doing it, it’s the character. It all depends on your team and fortunately, both the teams were so good. Gattu sir’s eyes were always on me. Sushant was always there being Mansoor, ensuring that I’m Mukku. Rohit sir’s entire team was there to see me, guide me. Simmba was there to see if I’m Shagun.

At this point, two films later, do you get a sense of stardom?
I think it’s too early for that. Nothing has changed really. I wake up, go to the gym, eat and go to work. You get fans and feel like a star only when you’ve developed a certain body of work. What matters to me is happiness and the way to achieve that is through conviction in your work, happiness on set and giving that happiness when people finally come and watch you on Friday. Your life and journey is not about goals, it’s genuinely a process.

Now, has the game been upped, in the sense of an added pressure coming along with the appreciation?
All this has just made me realise that I need to do better work, and I need to work harder. What happens is your battles keep changing, but you have to be in the battle field for sure; every time there is a new challenge. Now I’m not looking for acceptance because I’ve worked very hard. I deserve 80 percent of the praise I’ve got, 20 percent is the combination of good karma and the fact that people are genuinely liking me. I don’t think they were able to go to the cinema halls and not like me. They are like, ‘oh she’s so sweet.’ But now I want to make sure that people will like my work. I want to work doubly hard so that the sweet girl is appreciated for her work. Right now, I’m slightly confused if people like me as an actor or a person. I’m serious. You watch that episode of ‘Koffee With Karan’ and you want to like this girl. People bought that ticket wanting to like me, not attack me.

But that indeed worked for you for people to know who you really are, and admire you as a person for being so real…
When most comments were like, ‘she is so real’, I was like, ‘why wouldn’t she be? She is on a reality show, not playing a character, (laughs). The fact of the matter is, it’s extremely safe to be honest. It’s so tricky to lie and manipulate and remember, what did I say to whom?

With your second film coming straight after the first one, there wasn’t scope to see yourself and further improvise on what you think can be better. Yet, did you feel after seeing ‘Kedarnath’ that you could have worked on this or that?
Of course. I felt that in every shot and I’ve spoken to people that I really could have done this. They are like, yes, you could have but now you can’t. The main thing is – the feeling which you have after pack-up that I could have done better, that’s normal. That will never stop. That’s something I’ve actually learnt. I would mess Ranveer and Sushant’s heads the next day after shoot. But I keep listening to my director and as long as I do that, I should be fine I think.

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