She is making all the right moves as a successful actor and producer today, but for Anushka Sharma it has not been an easy journey in Bollywood. Coming from a background which had no filmi connections, she has really worked hard for the way to the top. Bollywood Journalist spoke to her about her upcoming film Sultan and how difficult it was to play a wrestler.
Over to Anushka.
Do you think that there is a remarkable change in Bollywood with women oriented subjects coming up?
Women are doing well for themselves in various fields in Bollywood. Be in costumes, direction, editing or production, they are excelling everywhere in Bollywood. In fact writers are writing stories with female leads and the films are doing well at the box office. It’s an interesting time and as an actress I want to make the most of it.
How was it playing the wrestler?
When I heard the narration, I was worried about many things and had my own doubts. I was worried about how women wrestlers look. ‘Will I have to gain weight and bulk up for the role?’ was something that was going through my mind constantly. Then I researched and analysed and I saw that the wrestler girls were like me – tall and toned. That set aside my doubts. I put on weight for the role but I did not become unfit. The second thing was about wrestling itself, I was thinking, ‘would I be able to do it?’ It’s a close contact sport but I had a great teacher like Jagdish Kaliram. Once I started training, I felt kicked about it and he taught me the correct techniques. Thirdly, the sport is all about making contact. I was not used to the physical proximity especially more so because I am a woman. I found it bizarre initially. Sometimes your face is in under someone’s armpit. When I saw videos of girls wrestling I said, ‘Lets go for it’. I trained myself properly to look the part. It was difficult but fortunately I didn’t have many bruises but let me tell you that I would have pain spasms almost everyday after shooting. You carry their weight and throw them down. That was not easy.
But you spoke in Haryanvi for NH10 as well?
In NH10, I did speak Haryanvi but you must not have realised what I was speaking. The language is like that. Here (In Sultan) I have not spoken much.
Was there any special diet that you had to undertake for the role?
I had to take a protein diet and I have become a vegetarian two years ago. I ate a lot of Spriulina, Paneer and Green vegetables.
How do you look back on your journey now?
I have got good films and I am thankful to Aditya Chopra. He has put in a lot of faith in me. Whenever I work on any Yash Raj film I feel that they believed in me and that’s why I am in films today. I had no connections with movies apart from watching them. My journey has been good and by God’s grace I have not changed. I didn’t come into films for fame and money, Whatever I would have done in life, I would have done it well.
Tell us about your role In Sultan?
Aarfa, my character wants to win the Olympic Gold medal and she is very hopeful. Sultan falls in love with her and he gets motivated to become a wrestler. It’s a simple and grounded relationship.
What is your opinion about the trolls on social media?
I find the trolls who are active on social media are very negative. They are people who are fed up of life, I feel sad for them. They have so much hatred. But I have decided not to give them the power to change my mood. I come from a typical middle class background. I have had a long journey. I had problems then and I have problems today too. If you have no compassion you need to respect one another. I don’t need to respond to them instead I choose to ignore.
You have been speaking highly of Karan Johar, how is your bonding with him?
Karan Johar, is a huge achiever and he’s so articulate. He’s an institution in himself. He’s so funny and there’s so much to learn from him.
You are also a successful producer today with NH10 doing well at the box office and you have started your next Phillauri?
I always wanted to produce films and do stories that I believe in. There are such lovely stories to tell and I always wanted to produce films so that I could work on newer ideas. It’s a bigger opportunity. You formulate ideas and develop and keep it burning and the faith to deliver it. It’s a collaborative effort. Now I realise that Production is people’s management. I have learnt it from my brother. My cast is new. As an actor you drop your fees but as a producer you back your films somehow you try and balance it both ways. I have learnt not to regret any decisions. You have to see potentials inside you. You have to see opportunities . As a producer you can do that and find the right people to do it.
Regional cinema too is doing well, will we see you producing regional movies as well?
Our regional films are doing so well. Sairaat has done so well. But for me it’s all about comfort. As an actor I am not sure, if I can’t speak the language I won’t be comfortable doing that language film. But as a producer I am definitely open to that window.
Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone are doing well in Hollywood, do you ever plan to go the Hollywood way?
Whatever I do has to be amazing. People say my English is good but that doesn’t mean I would go and do Hollywood films. What Deepika and Priyanka are doing is amazing and they are representing our country. They are working hard and I have seen Priyanka taking so many flights to be where she is and it’s not easy. She is doing a commendable job.
How was it working with Salman Khan for the first time?
Salman Khan is one actor who behaves the same with everyone. He will not go out of the way to impress you. He’s the same with everyone. I liked that about him.