She looks fitter and more radiant – as we catch up with Sonakshi Sinha amidst the promotions of ‘Kalank’. Shooting back-to-back and promotions have kept her busy, but it’s great that we’ll keep seeing her often now. She’s donning an Anamika Khanna outfit, and continues to be fun-loving as always while we chat about her upcoming release and more…

Even at the trailer level, we were all intrigued with what ‘Kalank’ has in store, so what was your reaction when you heard the script?
I was really mind-blown when I heard the script because the kind of world Abhishek presented to me was amazing. My character was something I immediately wanted to do. Every character is so important to the story and taking it forward – all of that really excited me about the film.

What I loved about Abhishek Verman’s previous work – ‘2 States’ was his treatment to the story and how he made one feel. Do you think, that’s what he’s again brought into ‘Kalank’?
Absolutely! I think Abhishek is a very fine and talented director. He’s made one film before this and to make a film like ‘Kalank’ as your second film and pull it off is no mean feat. It’s not an easy task. I mean, being compared to Sanjay LeelaBhansali in your second film – is mindblowing. Hats off to him to be able to achieve that. He’s someone who’s very good with emotions, and detailing of everything – right from the sets to the characters, costumes, emotions that they’re portraying. He’s got an eye for detail. I’ve really enjoyed working with him.

What did you personally take care of, in terms of your looks?
I didn’t have to take care of anything because we had this genius man called Manish Malhotra (laughs) who set the look for every character. I just showed up at his office, we did the fittings, trials, hair and make-up and we got it!

You’d told me that ‘Lootera’ came naturally to you as compared to your other larger-than-life, animated characters which you did at that point? Did ‘Kalank’ also fall more into that zone?
Yes! She is subdued, strong, emotional, resilient – overall a strong woman. So, I guess I seamlessly fit into the character despite of it being in a different era. Once you get into the whole setting, zone, you become the person you are supposed to be.

Since you were creating a foundation for yourself in the industry, you did those big commercial films – but do you think you’ve made a shift ever since ‘Akira’?
Absolutely! With ‘Akira’, I tasted blood. I was like ‘wow – this is so liberating.’ I was carrying a film on my shoulders. It was the first taste of power and that’s what I wanted to continue doing after that, which is why I chose the kind of roles that I chose and still continue to do so. It has to be something that challenges me, or something that adds great value to the story and that’s when I do it.

“With ‘Akira’, I tasted blood. I was carrying a film on my shoulders. It was the first taste of power and that’s what I wanted to continue doing”

Is that why the quantity has decreased than before because you’re looking for quality?
Possibly. I was working non-stop, 24/7. I had no time for myself to do the things I like. I had even put on weight which was spoken about. Once I started taking it slower, taking one film at a time, that’s when I started taking care of myself more, doing things that I like more, just having ‘me’ time. That’s also so important for a person to grow. It’s helped me more even in my craft. This year looks like I’m going back to working like that – with back-to-back films.

Talking about the fitness part, the transformation is really spoken about but at what point did you feel like doing this for yourself?
It was only for myself. It started off as – let’s find a new work out to do – and it worked for me. That’s when I got more into it, and enjoying it. I am not someone who loves working out or going to the gym. It doesn’t come easily to me. I have to be forced to do it. I’m someone who loves food so that’s also another problem. But I found something I loved doing and continued it. Consistency is key to fitness I feel and it worked. It’s not something that I did to prove a point. It’s something that happened organically and over a period of a year. I’m happy people are noticing that change but it’s not something I did to prove a point.

You’ve always been appreciated, no matter what, but has this change lead to a further shift in people’s perception towards you, or added to your confidence?
I’ve always been confident and my confidence doesn’t come from the way I look; it never has. Even when I was 95kilos in school. I know that I am good at my work and work ethics. I’m well spoken. I know I can strike a conversation, keep people’s attention and that’s where my confidence comes from. Infact, my biggest hits were when I was at my roundest best. I’m not crazy about it now. It was not done with an agenda but it’s always good to be fit because more than looking, I’m feeling better. That’s what’s most important.

What else has changed from ‘Dabangg’ to ‘Dabangg 3’ and how have you managed to retain the person you’ve always been?
That’s more to do with people who’ve been around me and most of my friends are not from the industry. They have a different perspective on things and they keep it real. They don’t treat me like a big star. That’s why I keep these people close to me, that’s what I love about them. That’s under control – with family, friends, doing things you love to do – singing, dancing all of that. Trade Magazine