It's been almost ten years that Anushka Sharma made her debut in Bollywood. Now, she is not only a successful actress but a successful producer too. Today she says that she is happy with her new found success. "I came here on my own. I didn't have any Godfather or uncle," says the 29-year-old indicating at the same time that she doesn't want to get into a debate on nepotism.
This year she is all set for her next film as a producer, Pari. She talks to us about her success and her role as a producer. Excerpts from the one-on-one interview with her.
This is your third film with Shah Rukh Khan? You seem to be very comfortable around him.
When you work with an actor who is selfless and experienced it obviously helps you. He has technical knowledge and by nature, he's a helpful person. He is very generous too. So, the working process with Shah Rukh Khan has become very easy. Sometimes, when I am lost while doing a scene, I forget the mark (on the floor) where I have to stand. He never makes a fuss about those retakes. He is an extremely patient person. In fact, I learnt how to be patient from him. He never grumbles on the sets.
How did you learn Gujarati for the film?
My diction coach was there by my side all the time and all the credit goes to him. I didn't want it to look artificial, especially during the serious scenes. My character is Gujarati and she has gone to a Gujarati school too. She has got less exposure in life, and I wanted the character to look and act that way.
Did you do a lot of homework for the role?
I believe as you do more and more films, and your experience increases you gain some confidence and it keeps increasing. When you go on sets, you know exactly what is happening and you are prepared for it. I like to work on my character. I had requested everybody to ignore me if I sound different because I intended to make up for it while dubbing. I was shooting for Jab Harry Met Sejal and Aye Dil Hai Mushkil at the same time. So when I would go on the sets of Aye Dil Hai Mushkil I had to speak in Urdu and then I would switch to Gujarati when playing Sejal, which was tricky. Sometimes I would get things mixed up.
How was it working with Imtiaz Ali?
I had always wanted to work with him ever since I watched Jab We Met. He has a thing for love stories and deep understanding of romance in a man-woman relationship. We have been wanting to work with each other for a long time.
Do you mull over your character after you have finished shooting for the movie?
Sometimes I do mull, especially after a hard hitting scene or a sad scene and I tend to get upset too. I remain in the character for some time. It happened when I did NH 10, I went into depression. I felt very awkward. If it is a fun film, it doesn't bother me. I have been trying to switch on and switch off as I please and I am working towards it. That is why I am doing one film at a time. I genuinely feel that if I do a serious scene, then I have to be completely immersed in it and live it. For me that is an achievement. If people forget that you are a star and that you are actually the character you’re playing, then you have won half the battle. I don't have an interesting personality like Salman Khan, I can't draw the audiences, so I have to work very hard on the characters that I play. I am very boring as a person so when I get to play such interesting roles on screen I try and make sure that I do it to perfection.
You are working with Anand L Rai in his next with Shah Rukh Khan
I have not shot for the film. Right now my entire attention was on Jab Harry Met Sejal. I am happy that I am working with Anand L Rai, and I am looking forward to it. Although me and Katrina have no scenes together, I love her and I am excited about working with Shah Rukh Khan again. As I said, it is very easy to work with him.
Which films of Shah Rukh have you loved?
I loved him as Kabir Khan in Chak De and Swades. I liked other films too but I have an affinity towards those off-beat films. He is constantly trying to reinvent himself as an actor, which is great!
How different was Shah Rukh during Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi which was your first film?
As an actor you don't see Shah Rukh Khan, I see him as the character in the film. Whatever films I have done with him he has played that character perfectly. In Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi they are not in love with each other in the beginning, but slowly fall in love and are not aware of it. In Jab Tak Hai Jaan she is in love with him and in awe of him but he does not love her. So basically, everything depends on the character.
Imtiaz Ali is known as a saint in the Bollywood circle, how was it working with him?
I won't call him a saint for sure. He's evolved and his thinking has evolved too. I am philosophical and spiritual. I understand him well because when he talks I understand what he is saying. We think on the same lines. If you are positive everything looks happy otherwise you won’t like anything. He is very calm and very respectful and overall, a very good mentor other than being a prolific director.
Will we ever see you co-producing films with the YRF banner?
YRF is a self-sufficient organisation. I have taken inspiration from Aditya Chopra. They produce their own films. He is very encouraging and I know him since the last ten years. I don't know how it would work out, since he is very principled. As a producer the way he handles people, is very fair.