Sonil Dedhia in Mumbai
Anushka Sharma wowed audiences, critics and fellow actors with her performance in Band Baaja Baarat, and looks all set to sweep all the awards this year.
The actress now steps into her new role in Patiala House, opposite Akshay Kumar. The film has been directed by Nikhil Advani (of Kal Ho Naa Ho and Saalam-e-Ishq fame).
Anushka tells Sonil Dedhia how all her three films so far, including Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and Badmaash Company, have done well.
You have tasted success with each of your films. How has the journey been?
It's been great. I have been fortunate to be a part of films that have done well. My work has been appreciated and people are now taking me seriously. I can do films that I want to do, and not work under any pressure.
I hope my journey continues in a similar manner.
At the end of the day, it's not about hits or flops, it's about the decisions you make. I want to enjoy my time now.
How has life changed after Band Baaja Baarat?
I think after Band Baaja Baarat, people have developed faith in me. They have started taking me as a bankable actor. I have got a lot of appreciation from the industry people and I feel more comfortable.
It's brought in a lot of good changes for my career and for me. A lot of offers -- films, endorsements and performances at events -- are coming my way.
Did you expect Band Baaja Baraat to be such a big hit?Yes. Not only me but everyone working on the film were confident that it would do well. Since a debutant director Maneesh Sharma was making it with a debutant actor, the audience and critics were sceptical. But we proved them wrong.
'I can be called an honourary Punjabi!'
What can we expect from your next film, Patiala House?
I play Simran, who is Gattu's (Akshay Kumar) neighbour. She is a hyperactive and talkative girl. Her father is a Sardar and her mother is British.
The film is about a father-son relationship and how their ideologies clash with each other due to a generation gap. My role is like a catalyst, bringing about a change in the way things happen.
You've played a Punjabi girl in all your films, including Pataial House.
I guess I can be called an honourary Punjabi! (Laughs). But I am not a Punjabi, nor can I speak Punjabi.
'Rishi Kapoor looks very intimidating but actually, he is very cool'
Which is your favourite song in Patiala House?
I love Adat Hai. I call it a (American folk rock singer) Jack Johnson song because I thought this song was a typical Jack Johnson song with soothing music and guitar.
We hear that you were a little nervous when you first saw Rishi Kapoor.
He looks very intimidating but actually, he is very cool. On the sets, he would keep pulling my leg and cracking jokes. Initially, I was very scared because I thought he was a strict person. But later, the ice was broken.How was it sharing screen space with Akshay Kumar?
Akshay is very cool and super easy to work with. He does a lot of improvisation and that's what I've learnt from him. He pays attention to the smallest details.
Did he play any pranks on you?
No, for a change Akshay didn't play pranks on anyone. His character in the film is serious, so Akshay had to be in character.
But he told me that this is not how he is on sets usually. He said, "Anushka, do another film with me and then you'll know why everyone is scared of Akshay!" (Laughs)
'I can't judge people on what they have done in the past'
How was it working with Nikhil Advani?
It was great. Coincidentally, it's the fourth film for both of us.
Nikhil understands what he wants from his actors and gets it out of them. If I had any problems, I would directly go and tell him. He understood my range as an actor.
Nikhil's previous film didn't do well, and Akshay hasn't had a hit in a long time.
I can't judge them on what they have done in the past. I am bothered about my movie, not what the other person has done in the past.
The film is about a generation gap. Did you ever have to face that in your personal life?
Never. When I wanted to be a model, my parents were fine with it. When I wanted to be an actress and auditioned for Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, my parents were very supportive. I have never faced parental pressure. So I've been lucky. But I know someone who has faced this issue, so I can relate to it.
'The only cricketers I recognise are Herschelle Gibbs and Andrew Symonds'
Do you follow cricket?
No, not at all. My character in the film has no clue about cricket either. She calls the pitch a field and tells Gattu to take goals, and he replies, 'I take wickets not goals'.
The only cricketers I recognise are Herschelle Gibbs and Andrew Symonds. I recognise them because I remember reading something about Gibbs in a newspaper while I was shooting, and Symonds because of the Harbhajan Singh incident.
'There have been days where I've worked for 20 hours'
M F Husain was raving about your performance in BBB, and said that he would like to cast you in his film.
I have not spoken to him and don't believe what has been written in the media. I know he has watched the film many times, and I'm very happy that he has appreciated it and me. I feel very flattered and humbled.
Are there any changes in your lifestyle?
I come from a middle class family. I work very hard. There have been days where I've worked for 20 hours. I don't get to meet my family very often and hardly have time to meet friends. I have sacrificed a lot to do what I am doing and I love where I am today.
Money has never been a priority because if I do the right kind of work, money will follow.
'Buying a house in Mumbai has been my biggest achievement'
Do you think you've achieved a lot already?
Not a lot. But I never thought of entering the world of films and today, I am getting to work with some of the most talented directors and actors. Fortunately, all my movies have done well. This adds to my responsibilities.
What is your biggest achievement so far?
I recently bought a house in Yari Road (a suburb in Mumbai). I guess that's my biggest achievement. I can hardly think of any 22 year old, who can buy a house in Mumbai with their own money.