''As a society, why are we not talking about the one thing because of which we are born today?'
Sonakshi Sinha takes on sex education in her latest film, Khandaani Shafakhana.
The film, which sees rapper Badshah's movie debut, is about a Punjabi girl's sex clinic, and how she tries to engage the citizens of the small town she lives in.
"People who face sex-related diseases or problems should not feel like they are wrong. It shouldn't be talked about in hush-hush tones," Sonakshi tells Rediff.com Contributor Divya Solgama.
You have done quite a few comedies.
I love this comedy space!
It's a very good space for me because I find it quite challenging.
Comedy is no funny business.
It's very difficult to make people laugh.
Luckily, I have a good sense of humour and comic timing.
I know what I am capable of.
I like to make people laugh and love to laugh at myself too.
Comedy is my favourite genre.
Were you apprehensive about doing Khandaani Shafakhana?
When I heard the one-liner of the film, I was very apprehensive about accepting the role.
At first, I thought why were the makers approaching me with a subject like this because I only do family films.
That was my first reaction.
But when I heard the script, I thought I must do a film like this.
It is such a relevant subject and written in such a beautiful and clean manner. There's the right amount of humour, entertainment and information.
This film makes you think that as a society, why are we not talking about the one thing because of which we are born today?
Why is that subject so taboo in our society?
Today, if a male doctor becomes a gynecologist, nobody will raise an eyebrow.
But when a girl wants to run a sex clinic, her own brother is against it.
Films like Vicky Donor and Shubh Mangal Savadhan were made with respect to such issues, but all of them had male protagonists in it.
This is the first time a female protagonist is doing such a film, and I am proud to take up Khandaani Shafakhana.
The things that are talked about in this film are actually true.
It's also directed by a woman.
Yes! The kind of sensitivity with which she has handled this film is amazing.
I don't think a man could have done it in the same way.
It could have bordered on cheapness, but Shilpi (Dasgupta, director) has not let that happen.
How did you prepare for your character in Khandaani Shafakhana?
My research was actually Shlipi's work. She is so amazing that I will not be able to stop praising if I start.
I play a medical representative in the film.
Shlipi showed me a few videos of medical representatives and that's how I got to know how they talk and sell medicines.
It's actually a very street-smart character.
She also showed me advertisements of sex clinics that really helped to build up my character.
As the film is set in a small town, I would like to give full credit to the writing team, as every detail of the character was written for me.
Have your friends talked about sex-related issues with you ever?
Yes, everybody talks about it!
But sadly, nobody has discussed their sex-related problems, and that is one of the biggest issues shown in this film.
People don't open up.
A disease is a disease after all, and it will get treated only by a doctor.
People, who face sex-related diseases or problems, should not feel like they are wrong. They haven't asked for it, it just happened.
It shouldn't be talked about in hush-hush tones.
There are so many subjects in schools, but nobody on sex-related subjects.
Sex education should be introduced in school.
Today, there is so much access to the Internet that children are bound to find out about these topics, and in a wrong way.
The more you treat this subject like a normal fact of life, the more people will not be so close-minded about it.
You are a fashion designer and Badshah is known for his fashion. Was there any fun competition between you on the sets of Khandaani Shafakhana?
Not at all!
I have the simplest look in this film, and it was very comfortable for me.
On the other hand, Badshah had to be over-the-top. He wears flashy jackets and is very blingy.
We contrast each other.
Will you ever start your own fashion brand?
I am in a profession of which fashion is an integral part.
Every day we have to look good and stylish.
Today, fashion is talked about more than other factors.
Becoming a designer or have a label of my own is very demanding.
Until I feel I can give it my total 100 percent, I don't want to jump into it.
What was it like working with Shilpi?
Shilpi is very quiet and shy. It took time for her to open up.
At first, I thought that the bonding between us will not happen because she was not talking to me much.
It was in the script readings that she opened up amazingly because in those readings, I could sense that wow factor in her; she knew exactly what she was doing in the film.
It was so nice that I asked her when she was making her next film; I wanted to work with her again!
I felt I was working with my elder sister.
Being the kind of film it is and with the kind of dialogues I have to say...
I did the most difficult scene of my life in this film.
It's the one when I'm sitting in a rickshaw and there's a big board with 'Sex' written in capital letters. Below that are all the diseases related to it, and I have to read them out.
But this is the way people advertise in small towns, with speaker phones attached to rickshaws.
I had to do this scene in a market surrounded by real people, so it was a very difficult scene for me. But Shilpi put my mind at ease.
It doesn't matter if the director is a first-timer or hundredth-timer.
A director is a director, and an actor can easily tell if they know their job or not.
If Salman Khan hadn't worked with me, saying she is new and doesn't have experience, just think where would I be today?
Salman Khan once said Sonakshi will always be in the Dabangg franchise. How do you feel when a superstar has so much confidence in you?
It feels really great!
It's more special for me because I didn't want to be an actress, but Salman Khan showed me the path.
He didn't ask me if I wanted to Dabangg, he just told me I was doing it.
After that, there was no looking back.
So that statement was the biggest validation I could get from a person like Salman Khan, who had so much conviction and confidence in me.
I am really happy that he said that because Dabangg is so special to me!
Do you worry about box office numbers?
I have stopped worrying about box office numbers a long ago because that's not in my control.
I don't like to stress upon things that are not in my control.
As an actor, I give my 100 percent to every film. I treat every film as my first, and put that effort and energy in it.
What shows are you watching?
I have watched Mirzapur, Sacred Games, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad...
When will we see you in a film with your father?
For us to be in a film together, it has to be a really good subject. We're just waiting for that to happen.
Are you a part of the Rowdy Rathore sequel?
I've heard about it, but nobody has spoken to me about it.
I would love to be a part of the sequel.