Anushka Sharma: I don't carry any baggage
Q. How did you come about trusting Navdeep Singh for your first production?
Anushka: I hadn't seen his first film ('Manorama Six Feet Under'), but had heard great things about it from Vikas Bahl and Anurag Kashyap. I met Navdeep at my house; Vikas and Vikramaditya (Motwane) were also present. The two of them kept talking about the film while Navdeep stayed mum. After listening to them, I asked for Navdeep's opinion. He shifted a bit and said the film was nothing like the way Vikas and Vikram pitched it. I was sold. This man who has not made a film for years tells me with utmost honesty in front of the producers that
the film is not how they described it. He was clear about what he wanted and it seemed exciting.
Neil: Navdeep is pretty sure about what he wants. There is no faffing around.
From left: Anushka Sharma, Darshan Kumar and Neil Bhoopalam. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Q. Rajkummar Rao was supposed to do the film with you. How did Neil Bhoopalam come into the picture?
Anushka: I didn't even know Rajkummar was doing the film, so I was shocked to see an article about me throwing him out of the film. Even Freida Pinto was supposed to do the film before me.
Darshan: Yes, initially it was Rajkummar, Freida and me.
Anushka: When I came on board, it was Neil opposite me. Navdeep may have thought Rajkummar didn't fit the role; he is the best person to answer this question.
Q. Having been on the other side, do you look at producers in a different way now?
Anushka: I have learnt how difficult it is to make films. There are a lot of opinions and creative differences. You also learn about what is sellable and what isn't. 'NH10' is purely content-driven; there are no songs in this 1 hour 45 minute-long film.
Darshan: There is one promotional song though. It is called 'Chhil gaye naina', and has received a lot of appreciation.
Q. Was she a good producer?
Darshan: We didn't feel that she was the producer.
Anushka: The easiest time for the producer is when the film is being shot. The real test is selling the film. It was a challenging role for me as an actor and then I had work in collaboration with my brother (Karnesh, co-producer) too. Our responsibilities are well divided. Apart from the sand storm accident, everything was smooth sailing.
Q. Who came up with the title 'Clean Slate' for the production house?
Anushka: Me! That's how I like to live my life. I don't carry any baggage. The idea was to bring new ideas and thoughts.