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This article was first published 11 years ago

Anushka: Every actor is an attention seeker

Last updated on: January 9, 2013 17:09 IST

Image: Anushka Sharma in Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola
Sonil Dedhia in Mumbai

After playing chirpy roles in her movies, Anushka Sharma will be seen in a very different character in Vishal Bhardwaj's Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola.

The actress, who was last seen in the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Jab Tak Hain Jaan, will pair up with Imran Khan for the first time in the new film. Matru... also stars Pankaj Kapoor and Shabana Azmi, and will release on January 11.

In this interview with Sonil Dedhia, Anushka talks about what she learnt from her success, working with Vishal Bhardwaj and the Meena Kumari complex her character in the film suffers from. 

You have found success at a very early age. What have you learnt from it?

I have learnt that success should be used as a way of doing your work in a better way.

Ranbir Kapoor is a star but he still picks films like Barfi and Besharam, which are completely different from the rest.

I want to be successful to be able to do things on my own terms. You should use your stardom and success to be able to pull people into the theatre and that is what I want to do.

'Bijlee is one of the most complex characters that I have portrayed so far'

Image: Imran Khan and Anushka Sharma in Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola

In one of the interviews before your first film (Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi), you mentioned that Bollywood for you is a big bad world. Has your perception changed?

Today, I have some knowledge about other professions and I realised every profession is bad! (smiles).

Just before I came into the industry, I heard or read in the news all kinds of stories, which today I find very dumb. So I used to think it has to be a dirty world with dirty feelings.

After spending four years in the industry I have realised that when you receive a lot, there is an equal amount to give back. So whoever is the biggest star right now is working that much harder. There are no two ways about that.

I have a lot of respect for people who have survived in this industry for so long.

The characters you have played have been very happy and vivacious. Was it a deliberate attempt to break that image in this film?

The problem is people always like to categorise. So one actress is always bubbly for them, the other actress is hot, someone else is romantic, which is very wrong.

Yes, I would agree that this is one of the most complex characters that I have portrayed so far. I had to read between the lines.

It wasn't like I was proving anything by taking up this film. It is always exciting to do something different and work with a good director.


'It was mentally draining to work in this film'

Image: Imran Khan and Anushka Sharma in Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola

Vishal's heroines have been popular for doing dark and intense roles. How did you prepare for your role?

Vishal Bhardwaj's films are not obvious and I had to learn that when I started the film.

Human beings are flawed and Vishal likes to bring out the grey areas of people. When a film is not very verbose, then filling the spaces in between becomes difficult.

It was mentally draining to work in this film. I had to work a lot on my body language. After a few days of shooting, I sent a message to Vishal saying that I don't think I can do this. Everything I had done so far looked so simple. As I said earlier, my character has many layers and I would have spoilt it if I had played it linear.

How would you define your character in the film?

Bijlee, my character in the film, is a spoilt brat. Her father is very rich and has spoilt her. She has studied at Oxford and has just returned to this small town. This obviously makes her stand out.

She is unpredictable and doesn't think twice before doing something. Somewhere she likes to shock people and be an attention seeker. I play this very complex character in the film

Are there any similarities between the character and you personally?

I am not a spoilt brat. I was brought up in an army background. There was no scope for throwing tantrums in our home. I am unpredictable, but not with everyone (smiles).

Every actor is an attention seeker; it's an occupational hazard.

Tags: Oxford

'Vishal is the most sarcastic man I know'

Image: Imran Khan and Anushka Sharma in Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola

Bijlee also has a Meena Kumari complex. Can you explain that?

Meena Kumari is famously known as the tragedy queen so Imran's character in the film (Matru) feels that my character, Bijlee, is only happy when she is sad.

My character is very complex and has a lot of layers. She creates situations that make her sad. 

How would you define Vishal as a person and as a director?

Vishal is the most sarcastic man I know.

I remember I had finished a shot and he found it really good but I wasn't very sure. I told him that it was a bad shot. He sarcastically told me, "I have a habit of selecting bad shots and putting them in my film."

He has seen a certain kind of life. He has seen so much which you and I won't even think is true because we have lived in big cities. He has learnt a lot from life and that's what you see in his films.

He has struggled a lot. Coming from nowhere he came into the industry as a music composer and today, he is one of the most successful directors. He also writes the lyrics and does the screenplay, and produces his films. He is genuinely a multi-faceted person.

'Everyone has made mistakes in life and acceptance of that was what I learnt in the film'

Image: Imran Khan and Anushka Sharma in Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola

How was the experience of working with Pankaj Kapur?

Pankaj Kapur is one of the best actors on the scene. He has been a theatre actor because of which he has learnt to blank out the people or the crowd in front of him. This is one of the strengths an actor must possess. When I started shooting the film, I was intimidated by him.

He doesn't talk much so you are always on your toes around him. He is a teetotaller in real life but in the film he plays an alcoholic and he played it so beautifully. It is a pleasure seeing him act.

What has been your learning from this film?

On the personal front, before I started shooting this film, I saw the world in either black or white. After doing this film, somewhere I started accepting things more and became less judgemental.

I started to sympathise with people. Everyone has made mistakes in life and acceptance of that was what I learnt in the film.