Anushka Sharma is right now in the midst of a busy, happening life and sure enough, she loves talking a dime a dozen. We catch the rising star in a chatty mood. Excerpts from an interview.
Q. You play a journalist in 'PK'?
A. Yes and my character is not just a journalist because you have to give the heroine a job in the movie. There is a reason why she is a journalist. It is a significant role. I am not allowed to say anything more than this about the film or my character.
Q. Since the beginning of your career, you have acted mostly in big banner films only. Aren’t they safer bets?
A. Yes, but you forget that I am also producing a film like NH1. My biggest hit was Band Baajaa Baaraat which was produced by Yash Raj, but directed by a young debut director (Maneesh Sharma). While we were promoting our movie, no one was willing to interview me. Before Band Baajaa Baaraat released, I had made a bucket list of directors I wanted to work with. I firmly believe that the film is as good as the director. I remained very patient. People gave me plenty of advice on how being out of sight is equal to being out of mind. They told me I must do potboilers and masala films. I did not relent at that time because I didn’t think I was going to be this big star because of a project. Since I had no plans of becoming an actor, I had no game plan in mind as well. I just did what I felt was right. Even after my first film, I didn’t become an overnight star like Ranbir (Kapoor), Ranvir (Singh) or Deepika (Padukone). No one put me on the covers of magazines and called me the next big thing. No one said that ‘she is the one to look out for’ (laughs). No one looked out for me. At that juncture, people also told me to do films with this particular star, or to act in any movie that will put me in the Rs 100 crore club and so on, but that didn’t seem right to me. I stayed put, as I really wanted to act in films that I am proud of. I have acted only in seven films in six years and now I am considered one of the topmost actresses. Before Band Baajaa Baarat, I only knew what I didn’t want to do. But now, I am also clear about what I want to do — which is, to act in films by the best directors in the country. I just believe in one thing — if you do something under pressure, then you are never going to be happy. I have learnt to be calm. My films haven’t released in two years, but what people don’t know is that I am shooting for four films. I am working my a** off. Really, why should I be insecure?
Q. Did you feel insecure at any point?
A. Yes, I did sometimes. It is very difficult to ignore some of the things people say. It is such a competitive field and people judge you a lot. I did have my moments of doubt, when I questioned myself whether I was doing the right thing. But I chose not to be insecure. It’s all a matter of choice. You know, a journalist asked me whether I feel insecure while working with other actresses and I found the question funny. Why do people not ask male actors like Ranveer and Arjun (Kapoor) about whether they are insecure of each others’ biceps? They are bromancing but we are cat-fighting. Why are girls being misunderstood? Say, for instance, during the shoot of Dil Dhadakne Do, to me, Priyanka (Chopra) was the same as Ranveer and Farhan (Akhtar). Why should it be a girl vs girl thing? Kat (Katrina Kaif) is my favourite co-star. I had the best time shooting with her, but people find that so hard to believe. Anyway, we are not taken too seriously here.
Q. For someone who didn’t plan on becoming an actress and didn’t enter the industry with that mindset, is it uncomfortable being under the microscope all the time? Like, your lip-enhancing episode created a stir on social media and offline as well.
A. That phase was a little funny because I was not in town when the whole thing happened. Luckily for me, wherever I was, the WiFi was bad. I had no idea about the incident, but I sensed something was amiss because out of the blue, I received wonderful texts from my directors Rajkumar Hirani and Navdeep Singh, saying that I look beautiful in their movies. I returned to India and was taken by surprise to see how big the whole thing had become. Some of the comments were harsh and hurtful and some of them were really funny. But yes, one day I just sat and cried. How can someone have so much hatred for you? I realised that it’s much easier for someone to sit behind a computer and judge someone. That’s sad. The reason I spoke up was because I didn’t like being bullied. It was not a surgery — I got temporary enhancement done for a film. I think it helped my role. When you watch me in Bombay Velvet you will know what I mean. But even if you don’t get it, it’s okay. I am not ashamed of what I have done.
Q. Social media can get scary sometimes.
A. Yes. Imagine a decent man is sitting next to me and just for the heck of it, I decide to take his picture and put it up on social media and accuse him of molesting me. Within seconds, people will start abusing him. I think it is imperative that we know what we are fighting for, and we need to look at both sides of a story before passing loose comments.
Q. Do you think social media has affected the way we look at relationships too?
A. Not only social media, but generally people are giving in and giving up too easily. I just want to be with an honest, good person and someone who is always willing to keep the relationship going. People are giving up on relationships too easily. I am old fashioned. For me, either the man is there or not there in a relationship. There are no
Q. Do you want to talk about your relationship with Virat Kohli?
A. I don’t really want to, because there are people who will immediately pass judgements out there and start scrutinising the relationship. When you have a relationship with a guy or family, anyone can then get up and ask you anything and I don’t want to go through that. It is very pure for me. We are not hiding anything. We watch matches together, we go out to eat whenever we feel like it, but it is just that we don’t talk about it. I think once I start giving out details it will make it all very frivolous. I don’t even talk about my friendships with Ranbir, Kat, Karan (Johar), Arjun. I am not the kind who would put up my pictures with them online or talk to them on Twitter. I like to keep things private.
Q. What prompted you to turn a producer?
A. It was always at the back of my mind. Once I got sucked into movies, I started watching all kind of films. I get fascinated by some concepts and I would always discuss with my brother that we must produce films. When the script of NH1 came along, I decided to produce it too. I thought let me put all the chips into what I believe in. I am not getting driven by insecurity. I want to work with self-assured people like Navdeep. Nobody here wants to take the initiative, sab bhedchal hai (It’s a herd mentality out there). I want to do things because I have the courage to face the consequences. Some people advised me against it saying it is too early in your career as an actress. You could do it later. I wonder who made that rule. Is there some kind of a template that we are supposed to follow? I have come here on my own. You know, the thing is, here actresses are not looked at as professionals. They pretend to take us seriously but they are not. I find it very amusing.