There is something about Anushka Sharma that makes you beleive in her. Right from her first film ‘Rab Ne
Bana Di Jodi’, her conviction is infectious; and her 100 watt smile can change the mood in an instant. Since, ‘Band Baaja Baraat’, her choice of roles has been spot on; be it ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ or ‘PK’ she has been able to stand in front of the star power. When it came to carrying a film like NH10 on her shoulders, she proved that she is gutsy. This Taurean with an Army background, has always been an active, fit, rough and tough girl. With ‘Bombay Velvet’ on the cards, Anushka’s career is on a high.
Exceprts from the interview:
What made you back a project like NH 10 financially?
In my entire career I have tried to do things that excite me as an artist. Things that would give me different opportunities and let me explore and experience my capabilities. I had never read anything like NH 10 before. It made it easy for me to make the decision to want to produce it. The movie spoke about a person’s strength. It’s about how badly can somebody get pushed till she decides to strike back.
Was the violence in the story a concern for you?
You know as an actor we don’t look at things like, ‘this is violent’. We look at the story. You can’t isolate this as a “violence laden film”. So, I can’t even tell you if I remember there was violence in the movie. I look at the story and the strength of the character. I do things that are close to my heart. I do something when I feel I want to experience something that is there on the page. I felt that “NH 10” was a very original and unique subject. It was just easier to be a producer on this film. It was a more commercially viable decision rather than just being an actor. I am happy it was a wonderful experience. I got to learn so much.
CBFC suggested some cuts in the film. Do you feel that CBFC should adapt to the demands of new India?
We made the film because we believed that an audience existed for it and we still believe that. Personally if you ask me, it would be nice to just have a rating system for films and not cutting things out because it should be left to every individual to decide what he or she wants to see. You always have the option to walk out of the exit doors, if you don’t like something. The bigger problem according to me is that when you start working within so many parameters and with so many restrictions what might happen is that we might kill the scope for original ideas because when we are already narrowing down so many things and working within boundaries then original ideas might not be that easy to come up with. You will stunt your own originality. That’s my fear as a creative person.
As someone who represents the industry, I can tell you that one should leave it to public discretion. People are intelligent enough to make decisions for themselves. We are old enough to deal with our emotions. By saying that people are not fit to watch this, we would be judging their evolution. Silence is not the answer. The more you’re silent, the more regressive as a society you become. When you make someone feel repressed, that leads to a lot more problems. For example take the certification of ’50 Shades of Grey’. In some countries it is 15 and above I guess. So, is it like the adults in this country cannot watch something that people of 15 years and above in another country can? Why?
Were there any cuts/edits that you would not have liked to make in NH 10?
When we go to make a film and I think inherently as responsible people we have this thing in mind that we won’t be doing anything that is out of line. So, when you keep all that in mind, you make a film and then suddenly things change, policies change, what happens is that you feel you have to part with something that you’ve held on to for so long; something that came out as a pure creative thought that you decided on as to what people will speak and how they will behave. When you are asked to make those cuts it hurts obviously. But we have ensured that it doesn’t interfere with the impact of the film or the way we would have liked people to receive the film.
What did you enjoy the most while preparing for the role?
It was a unique experience. Not only the fact that I was doing some action in the film but also the mental and psychological journey that an actor follows is a great kick. There is this whole struggle that we’re trying to overcome in the film. That experience was new for me. In general when I read what my role was I felt that there was something different for me. The space of the film made me feel that there was a new facet with which I can experiment.
Tell us something about the film coming back to you after two years.
I had not said ‘No’, back then. We have to keep in consideration what we are doing and we have to place the films in time slots. At that point I had many projects going on. I think this film was written in my destiny because it has come back to me but the feeling I had the first time I read it was the same when I read it again after two years. It was a superb script and even after the changes I don’t think the film got affected much.
What are your views on movies with women in lead roles? Do you feel there is disparity in the industry?
There is no doubt that there is disparity. We are moving towards a more stable time I guess. Last year two really significant films did really well at the box office and were remembered for the value that they added to our industry. The films were ‘Queen’ and ‘Mary Kom’ and their success shows a change in trend. There are more stories written for men and that’s why there are more movies like that. There is a bit of disparity also because of that. I think it shouldn’t be this way. If you see an actor’s movie, will you say that it’s Neil Bhoopalam’s male centric movie? Why are the movies with female leads always talked about?
The day we stop seeing films with this perspective and watch them for the stories they offer, things will improve. I will say this for NH 10 also. Anybody could have been in this film. The incident that happened in the movie could have happened with anybody be it a girl or a boy. It did not happen with the female character in the movie because she was a woman. It happened with her because she just happened to be at a wrong place at a wrong time and the same thing could have happened to anybody. I think that is what attracted me to a film like NH 10. It was not talking about women power and we did not propagate it in any way. It said that in that situation the way that woman acted reveals her strength. We have to stop looking at things in duality. We never say that the movie is hero centric. So we should just do away with looking at movies as female centric or male centric. I never look at films like that.
What kind of a person are you? Are you as chirpy and bubbly as all your roles in the past have been? What do you do when you are angry?
As a person you can’t be chirpy all the time. There will be something wrong with you if you are chirpy all the time. No one can be in one behavior all the time. I am a happy person. I try to be happy and try to keep other people around me happy. It gives me happiness to keep other people happy around me and spread positivity. I have other moods also. When I’m angry I don’t pick up the rod for sure, like I have in the movie. No one does that unless he/she is a psychopath. I am very vocal when I feel angry. I am not passive aggressive. If I’m angry I will tell that I am angry. If someone asks me if I am fine, I can’t say I’m fine when I’m not. I’ll be like, no, I am not okay and I’ll tell you why I’m not okay! So, I’m like that. People around me know how I am; my friends and people who have worked with me.
How much of a Taurean are you?
I’m a fair Taurean, full on Taurean and ‘pakka’ Taurean. I’m straightforward. I’m stubborn within reasoning. If you can reason with me and convince me that you are more reasonable, I’m not stubborn like, “I won’t!”