Anushka Sharma talked to BT in an up close and personal interview, ahead of her next release ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’, directed by Imtiaz Ali.
In a recent interview with BT, she talked about the choices she makes for herself, what she bases them upon, and how she stops herself from becoming an industry clone. She answered all the questions straight from her heart and admitted that she’s insecure but that doesn’t let her make her decisions. She explains, “This industry breathes on insecurity; everyone benefits from the insecurities of an actor.”
Read the full interview below:
Interviewer: This is the third time you’ve been paired opposite Shah Rukh in less than a decade. A few weeks later, you will start your fourth film with him, which makes it the maximum you’ve worked with any actor so far. Does it even feel real?
Anushka: It’s wonderful working with Shah Rukh. He’s gracious. He has been warm and welcoming right from my first film and that has left a lasting impression. You understand the value of goodness that people show after you’ve spent a few years in the industry. On the set, he created an environment that helped me perform to the best of my abilities. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a couple of newcomers. Every time I’ve worked with newcomers, I’ve had this feeling that I have to be nice to them because I remembered how good SRK was to me when I started out. The experience of working with Shah Rukh gets better each time. Also, having known him as a person, I feel easier interacting with him now.
Interviewer: Over the years, do you feel that your chemistry with him has also improved?
Anushka: Chemistry depends on the script. You may have a great rapport with an actor off screen, but it might not translate on screen because it’s absent in the script. Shah Rukh and I have played characters like Harry and Sejal, who indulge in banter and share a journey together, which has made room for our chemistry to build up. Essentially, while working with an actor, I only see him as the character he’s playing. This is probably what also helped me in my very first film to hold my own without letting reverence for my co-star’s stardom get in the way.
Interviewer: In one of your previous interviews, you mentioned that male co-stars often get better rooms during outdoor shoots. You shot a long schedule with SRK for ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’. Though he’s known for his chivalry, did he give you a chance to complain?
Anushka: Even when I spoke about the issue in that interview, it was not about any one person’s experiences; I had made a generic comment. Being a producer myself, I know how these things work. I understand ki aisa hota hai yahan pe. As for Shah Rukh, he has been accepting of how I am. He’s sensitive towards women, and maybe that’s because he was brought up by so many women. I don’t want to get into the nitty-gritties of how I felt on A or B set because it’s petty. It dilutes the purpose of what I was trying to say back then.
Interviewer: In a relatively shorter career span, you’ve ticked more directors’ names off your bucket-list than most of your contemporaries. What was your plan of action?
Anushka: I knew my plan and I didn’t alter it according to circumstances. I never let industry insiders trick me into believing in an alternate plan. No one knows how many times I’ve used my filter, stepped back and let go of so many temptations to just stick to my plan. After my big break, I wasn’t flooded with offers. It was my second film with Ranveer Singh that got me recognition. I realised that I will only be remembered for how good I was in a film. As a movie star, you have to be relevant and for that, you have to continuously reinvent. You can’t just be content after establishing a certain image. I was clear I’d chase good scripts and directors. I never hankered to work with any megastar because I didn’t want to piggyback on anyone. And just by doing what I wanted to do, I ended up doing four films with SRK. I’ve cautiously charted my path to success with half the number of films that others, who I am compared with, have done.
Interviewer: You are as much an outsider in this industry as Kangana Ranaut is. With nepotism snowballing into a huge debate, one can’t ignore both your success.
Anushka: It’s unfair to negate someone else’s experiences. Everyone has their own thought process. Does nepotism exist? I guess it does. Is everyone nepotistic? I guess not, because if that were the case, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you. Shah Rukh, Imtiaz and I wouldn’t be where we are had this industry not given us our share of opportunities. Having said that, I am not in any way negating anyone else’s claim because I know that it does exist. While it’s a topic worth a discussion, I feel that it takes attention away from topics like merit and talent. While nepotism exists, people can survive on true merit.