Almost two years after Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola, Anushka Sharma is returning with vengeance. While she has multiple films lined up for release in next 12 months, it would be magnum opus PK that would bring her back on the big screen. Even as the much anticipated film is now barely hours away from release, Anushka gets into a relaxed conversation amidst ‘hazaar’ other interviews that are needing her attention.
You are someone who is never ever seen in a frivolous affair. I am sure there must have been something terrific about PK for you to do it, right?
Honestly, when Rajkumar Hirani called me to meet for the film, I told myself that no matter what, I am gong to work with him. His female characters may not have a very lengthy role per se but then they are always very significant. He characterizes them quite well and hence it was a no brainer for me to do PK. I am such a huge fan of his work and honestly, even if it was just a 20 minute role, I would have done that. Guess I met him with such purity in heart that even God said – ‘Le beta, I will give you much more than just 20 minutes (smiles)’. I am blessed.
You seem to be in complete awe.
You know, when it comes to a Raju Hirani film, it is not just a movie experience but an opportunity to be a part of something significant; something which inspires people, makes them think and sets them on a much higher level. The only way I can make something of my career and look back proudly at my body of work is by playing memorable roles. Hirani guarantees that.
So what is that accounts for a memorable role for you?
To begin with, for me a director is very important; it is my first attraction towards picking and choosing a film. I don’t want to be playing roles that don’t make sense to me. I need to be contributing something to the film and make an impact in some way. Unless I do that, I won’t be happy. This is where a Rajkumar Hirani setup comes in handy. I know for sure that the script and its execution would be flawless.
For someone whose career has only seen a rise since the days of Band Baaja Baaraat, it is expected that you must have infused substance into your performance all over again, right?
I will tell you something. Recently, the most rewarding experience for me was when in a recent interview where both Raju and I were there, he made a statement that ‘If Anushka is given a role, she elevates it to a different level altogether’. Now he had never said that to me on face ever before but here he was saying it on a public forum. Now that’s the kind of compliment I look for. While shooting, everyday on the sets I used to think that Rajkumar Hirani and (writer) Abhijat Joshi are so good that I should be doing something more. Now when he himself said that I was good; I was zapped. I like such pat on my back.
Meanwhile, as a strategic decision, nothing about the film has been revealed so far in the promotion.Why is that so?
See, it isn’t as if we are hiding anything. It is just that we want people to not carry any preconceived notion when they go and watch the film. For example, when the film was narrated to me, I was excited because I didn’t know anything about the film. Then slowly I discovered the story and the characters, which was an amazing experience. Now that’s the same kind of experience we want audience in general to enjoy as well.
But then isn’t this the kind of strategy that could sometimes threaten to backfire as well as audience may not be intrigued enough?
No, because when we speak too much about a film, it ends up losing its novelty value. Isn’t that something which is happening today for so many films? We may have been worried had the promos not seen a good response. Since that’s something which is being appreciated for bring good, fresh and truly different, I know for sure that we are in for some good times at theaters.
She’s done just seven films before “PK” and is working on a few more (“Bombay Velvet,” “Dil Dhadakne Do” and her co-production “NH10”), but within this short list of movies, in a career spanning just six years, Anushka Sharma has worked with three of the finest directors in the country — Aditya Chopra, Yash Chopra, Rajkumar Hirani in “PK” — and is set to work with Karan Johar in his next directorial, “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.”
The ever-warm Anushka asks me why I am not having my cup of tea as I speak to her, and makes a mock-irritated expression when I reply that it is because I am in awe of her. But as we have seen not only from her impressive haul but also her performances, especially in her debut film “Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi” and “Band Baaja Baaraat,” she is quite an achiever.
Her co-stars span a list from her first hero Shah Rukh Khan to Ranveer Singh (two films each), Akshay Kumar, Shahid Kapoor, Imran Khan, and now Aamir Khan and Sushant Singh Rajput (in “PK” again) to Ranbir Kapoor in two forthcoming films, and a third film with Ranveer.
Quite a coup really, so Anushka makes a preening gesture. “While actors can be similar in many ways, directors are all different, thanks to their lives, experiences and approaches that make them have different sensibilities,” she says. “You cannot compare them, except that all of them are good ‘person handlers.’”
We persist in asking her to compare the three legends she has worked with and she adds, “Adi (Aditya Chopra) is like my guru. He was so positive when I was doing my first film. Yash (Chopra)-ji was like a child. It was colossal to work with him, and he told his stories from the point of view of women mostly. Women were so much empowered in his films. The chance to be directed by him was everyone’s dream, so I feel very fortunate that I was the youngest and newest actor to do so.”
She goes on, “As for Raju Hirani, I felt really thrilled and happy because of my respect and love for Raju as a director. He raises the bar and he does not just make a good film but also something that leaves a mark on society. He does what he knows, is a genius of a director, has tremendous confidence in his writing, and knows his audience. Even on the day of the shoot, he is improvising till the end with a rare intensity.”
Anushka also states that when it is a Rajkumar Hirani film, it does not matter what you are paid. “His film is beyond all that because you are becoming a part of a thought process that will affect the minds of so many people!” she declares. She confesses to a slight déjà vu when she first came to meet him for this film. “I felt that I had been here before, and then remembered that I had auditioned for ‘3 Idiots’ even before I signed ‘Rab Ne…’ though he was unaware of it!”
Excited about “PK,” she relates how her father told her, “What if we all start calling you Jagat Janani (the creator of this world)?” because that is her (Hirani-an and) quirky name in this film!
Denying any workshops and such gimmicks to get into the character, Anushka states that it was a tough role. “When you play a real character, you have to look effortless, but that needs a lot of effort!” she smiles. “It is difficult to get into such a character and think and react like her. I had to imagine a lot as well, and the film’s coming to me while I was promoting ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’ made it a bit tougher,” she recalls.
Between the two Khans she has worked with (“If God wills, I will get a film with Salman Khan!”) she calls Shah Rukh Khan a bundle of tremendous energy and fire. “Aamir is meticulous, and though he later started pulling my leg and we became good friends, he was not someone with whom I could make small talk earlier,” says the actress. “Aamir is a very sharp person. I have observed him — how he would say something, even how the audience would see and think about the sequence.”
Anushka is now turning producer with “NH10.” Asked why she is co-producing a niche film, she bristles. “I don’t believe in terms like niche or mainstream. There are stories that need to be told and I have full faith in the film and the director’s instinct. As an actor, I just wanted to back the film and I am sure that it has commercial appeal.”
She also adds that the audience and media should stop thinking in numbers about a film’s success. “Isn’t ‘Queen’ a hit even though it has not made 100 crore? The budget of a film decides what is a hit film and what is not!” she says firmly.
Anushka is one actress who is never reluctant to work with other heroines, be it Priyanka Chopra (the forthcoming “Dil Dhadakne Do”), Katrina Kaif (“Jab Tak Hai Jaan”) or Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Karan’s new film. “That is because I look at a film as a film, not at the length of my role. If my role is brilliant, why should I refuse? Karan’s film, for example, is not a love triangle and has a great role for me as Ranbir Kapoor’s heroine. Zoya Akhtar was convinced that I would refuse ‘Dil Dhadkane Do’ because of Priyanka’s presence in a major role, but mine was so kickass. I told her, ‘Babe, why did you think I would refuse your film?’”
Asked how she evaluates her career till now, and Anushka has a crisp answer. “Before ‘Band Baaja Baaraat,” into which I was kind of sucked in, I did know what not to do, but after the film released, I knew what I have to do! I had no plan earlier, but now I know what I have to do, and on my own terms.”
What about the fact that her off-screen affairs are always highlighted, like her relationship with Virat Kohli or the misunderstandings with Ranveer Singh and Sushant Singh Rajput?
“I cleared the air with Ranveer and Sushant because the issues had been created by the media. Ranveer was the same as in ‘Band Baaja Baaraat’ and ‘Ladies Vs. Ricky Bahl’ when we shot for ‘Dil Dhadakne Do.’ As for Virat, I am so much in love with my work that I am willing to take prying paparazzi and such reports in my stride. But I do not want to make my personal space into everyone’s entertainment if someone asks me to speak about my relationships.”
The gorgeous Anushka Sharma was recently spotted on the cover of GQ Magazine looking absolutely stunning in a racy cut-out swimsuit. Did I say stunning? That might just be an understatement. She rocked this shiny swimsuit with a fringed overcoat looking nothing less than SEXY. Don’t believe me? See for yourself..
See what I’m trying to get at? I have always pictured Anushka to be that gorgeous, girl-next-door who is too sweet (sometimes) to be sexy. Clearly I was mistaken. Anushka Sharma is Lady Debauche in GQ‘s new video and she has proven that she is a complete game changer!
There are millions of adjectives I can use to define this mysterious actress but you’ve got to see her play multiple characters in this short film. I was dumbfounded! I have never seen Anushka in a sexier, wilder avatar and she has certainly pulled the secretive lady act like a true diva. Tongue out! (I am drooling..no joke).
DAYUM! Anushka Sharma you sexy, sexy thing. Now I feel like santa needs to give me a dictionary for christmas…cause I’m totally out of words.
Anushka Sharma is all set to appear in PK this December and while we can’t wait for her role to unveil itself the actress remains tight lipped about the subject.
However, Anushka did share about the fun experiences while shooting and she even opened up on her relationship with the cricket icon Virat Kohli in an exclusive conversation with our bollywood guide G9 Divya Solgama.
Your fans would like to know the reason for your disappearance as you would be seen on the silver screen after a huge gap.
I was not in the public eye, but I’ve worked really hard in these two years because I’ve shot for four films in two years. So now I am very happy that those films are complete. As for PK, it’s a strange kind of excitement. It’s like you don’t know what’s going to happen but you know it will be good. I have done only 7 films so far because I choose the best ones according to me. And I think I am very satisfied the way my career is going and I had foreseen it exactly this way.
Recently we saw your old video audition tapes for 3 idiots. Share with us something from that nostalgic moment.
People think that I had auditioned for 3 idiots after Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, but that was not the case. I auditioned for it during my modeling days and I didn’t even know the film I was auditioning for. But when I came for the trials ofPK, I had a Deja Vu; I thought I had seen the place before. So while I was there the audition director asked me if I remembered doing something similar and he showed me the video audition when I couldn’t recollect the incident. I was like OMG! Really.
In such a short span of your career you have worked with the top most directors like Yash Chopra, Aditya Chopra, and Rajkumar Hirani, Anurag Kashyap, Vishal Bharadwaj and now you will be seen in Karan Johar’s next. So how do you guard yourself from the evil eyes of your contemporary actresses?
I would like to hope that they are happy for me because I have always been happy for people that way. We have to kill the cat fight stereotype. If I like somebody’s work I make it a point to appreciate it. I even called Kangana when Vikas showed me a glimpse of her in Queen. Even when Deepika started growing after Cocktail I was so excited. The thing is when you know what you are doing in life, what others do doesn’t matter. I have not even worn a black thread to ward off the evil eyes (laughs). I am competitive in a different way.
For that matter Katrina is my favourite Co-star because I had such a good working relationship with her, because she maybe very guarded as a person, but she’s very real. She’s not very pretentious and I love that about her. I had a great time working with her so I am sure she feels happy when I do well. Having said that, I think I am very well protected by God.
Your next film Dil Dhadakne Do has an ensemble cast and last time when we met Priyanka she said she had a great role in the film. If that’s true, then what lies for you in this movie?
I am doing movies, I am doing stories. I don’t look at things this way. In terms of screen time, Priyanka’s role is bigger. But I was not insecure; I trust my work a lot because if I didn’t trust the role enough, I wouldn’t have done the film in the first place. Instead I feel the film matters more than the length of your role. I heard the role and found it kick ass, so I agreed to do it.
Share something about your next film NH 10 where you will be debuting as a producer.
Somebody told me I was the youngest producer. I always had it at the back of my mind that I wanted to produce films I believed in one day. So I want to back those kinds of films. When I read NH 10’s script, I was sure about doing this film but I had the instinct to produce it too. And the best decisions in life are the one that are taken from the heart. I found this movie so special and decided to get fully involved in the making. Having said that, my brother has been a huge part of the decisions I have made in my career. I never used to watch a lot of films before I started acting, but my brother being in the Merchant navy watched films as it was his only times pass. So he has developed a very strong script sense. I am very confident about NH 10 and am ready to face any challenge that comes before or after.
Is it true that Rajkumar Hirani wrote your role in the film to make his wife happy?
When sir had offered this film to me, he told me that his wife always tells him that the girls in your films have significant roles in the film, but they don’t do anything much. So he decided to make his wife happy this time. He has made me happy too in turn (laughs).
Recently Karan Johar announced his next film with you, Ranbir Kapoor and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. So how excited are you working with Karan and the rest of the cast?
Ranbir and Karan and I worked on Bombay Velvet and we had a great time, we share a great bond. I have literally grown up watching Karan’s films. So it’s a big thing for me that I will be doing yet another film with Ranbir and Karan. Besides this I think Aishwarya’s role is very fresh and new and different and we are very happy that she is a part of us.
In your upcoming film Dil Dhadakne Do, you will be working with Ranveer Singh after a long gap since his debut. So as per you how much has Ranveer evolved as an actor?
I have always had a good equation with Ranveer. It is very easy for me and Ranveer to get along. We have a certain screen chemistry which is undeniable. So when we came together for the film after such a long time, we hit it off instantly. I think as an actor he has calmed down to a great extent. I had to tolerate his antics and he even thanked me for being patient with him in Band Baaja Baaraat. So he used to keep asking me every day in Dil Dhadakne Do ‘How am I now?’ I want you to think I am your best co-star.
Share with us your experience of working with the ace actor Aamir Khan. Did you have any fan moments at the time of the shoot?
One thing that I really appreciate about Aamir is that he gave me my space and I have a lot of respect for him for the kind of films he’s done. Sometimes in between shoot when I used to sit and stare randomly it used to strike me that ‘Omg! I am working with Aamir Khan’. My brother used to make my mother buy clothes that Aamir Khan wore when he was a kid. So yes when you work with a good actor, your work invariably gets getter.
Lastly, lots of stuff is being said about your relationship with Virat and even he agreed that the two of you are seeing each other. So what your take on this whole issue?
I think he made it very clear, that when you’re seeing people together nobody’s hiding anything. We are moving about our lives normally. I have always lived my life very openly and normally. It’s just that we choose to not talk about our relationship. We can’t subject it to entertainment news. Earlier I didn’t agree on dating him because we really weren’t!
We want to keep away from frivolous questions like ‘Aap Valentine’s Day pe kya karogey?’ or ‘Aapke Bday pe kya gift kiya’? And stuff like that. Now I cannot share these details with the world, can I? I can only tell my friends. That’s my personal space and we both want to guard it because it is so pure to us.
Bollywood actress, model and producer Anushka Sharma can be seen starring alongside Aamir Khan in Rajkumar Hirani’s long awaited PK which will be released on Friday December 19th. Anushka Sharma is best known for her roles in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Band Baaja Baaraat and also won a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress in Jab Tak Hai Jaan. I had the opportunity to speak with Anushka Sharma about her upcoming movie PK/Peekay.
Hi Anushka, I’m Simran from Punjab2000. It’s lovely to be able to speak with you today, how are you?
Hi Simran, I’m really well thank you, you too.
Anushka, you’ve been involved in some wonderful films throughout your career so far, with a great deal of commercial and critical success and now an award winning actress. What made you decide to take the part in PK and how were you approached for the role?
Rajkumar Hirani is an excellent director and he’s made some extremely memorable films and as an actor and everyone wants to work with him. So I was really glad that he called me to be part of PK, I couldn’t say no. It’s so special for me and I hope I’ve done a good job. (Anushka previously auditioned for a role in Hirani’s 3 Idiots).
I’m sure you have. Now your character in PK Jagat Janani (Jaggu) has a very different look to how we are use to seeing you in movies. I’ve seen a few video clips where you go through several image changes. How involved were you in creating the look of Jaggu and how much fun is it to play different looking characters?
When we started talking about the character we really wanted her to look very different to how people have seen me before and obviously as an actor I want that as we’re always looking for versatility in our roles and looks. So, we worked a lot with various clothes and accessories. We tried glasses and nose rings too. Finally we decided that changing my characters hair would make all the difference. So, after trying several wigs eventually with the one you will see, everyone on set unanimously decided on that look which we were all happy about as the image really suited the character.
Anushka can you tell us a little bit more about your character Jaggu?
I’m afraid I’m not allowed to tell you anything about the character. Sorry Simran. We’ve been asked not to say anything.
You see not much information about your character or the film has been released which definitely makes it more appealing and intriguing, but can you tell us something?
Hahaha all I can tell you is that I play a journalist in the film, a bit like yourself. So think of your role & you will figure out mine.
Ok ok if that’s all you’re allowed to give us, haha. Now you starred in your first film with Shah Rukh Khan now in PK with Aamir Khan and Sanjay Dutt. Do you ever get intimidated starring alongside such experienced and well known film stars?
I actually haven’t whilst working as you have to focus on the job at hand. I’ve fortunately felt fine so far.
So how much did you learn from working alongside such actors and what did you take away from the experience?
Unfortunately I didn’t get the opportunity to work with Sanjay Dutt on PK but it was a wonderful experience working with Aamir and Sushant (Sushant Singh Rajput) who are both very very good actors. When you work with great actors it obviously has an affect on your own performance and I’m really happy that we all hit it off so well.
Now the PK clips that have been available for us to see look really humorous. What was the experience on set like and how much fun did you have?
It was a great deal of fun. Rajkumar Hirani films (3 Idiots, Munna Bhai M.B.B.S) are very funny and so entertaining. In every scene there is something happening, whether it’s comedy, drama or emotional. You feel excited everyday and really look forward to going on set and sometimes I would laugh so much I wouldn’t be able to keep a straight face at all.
It sounds it and I’m really looking forward to seeing the film. So Anushka for fans that may be new to your movies or not even necessarily Aamir Khan fans, what can they look forward to as an audience that’s different from other roles or films that you’ve both been in?
I really believe it’s something that the audience needs to discover when they go to the cinema to watch the film. I genuinely think that the character is something new that I have to offer and it’s a very special film. I can take myself out of being an actor and view it as the audience. I really love this movie and I really think everyone will enjoy PK.
I’m sure we all will. Anushka any plans to visit London or UK soon?
Not yet unfortunately as I’m going to be so busy with other projects, but I really do love it there.
As you said you’re going to be busy, what are some of your upcoming projects as I hear you’re going to be starring in the next Karan Johar film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil ( Anushka, Ranbir, Aishwarya).
Yes I have several releases after PK. I’m really happy and excited as I’ve grown up watching Karan Johar films Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and all the others haha. I’ve worked with both Karan and Ranbir Kapoor on Bombay Velvet which should be out in May 2015. Shooting for Ae Dil Hai Mushkil starts next year. We all had such a great working relationship so I’m really happy that we’re going to get back on set and shoot the film. I’m really looking forward to us all working together again.
Anushka can we have a message for all your fans at Punjab2000.
Of course. I really want to thank the fans for all their support so far. I feel really blessed and extremely fortunate that I’ve had the support of the community and I really hope that I can continue to entertain everybody in the coming years. And I do actually remember one of my first interviews in the UK, when I was shooting for Patiala House was with Punjab2000.
Thank you so much for your time Anushka. Looking forward to watching PK so all the best with the movie, take care.
Thank you Simran and to everyone at Punjab2000 for all your ongoing support for me & I hope you enjoy PK. Take care, bye.
Anushka Sharma’s two year long break from the public eye fructified well for her career. The actress who is all set to be seen in Rajkumar Hirani’s PK this week along with Aamir Khan, has Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet and her home production NH-10 lined up next year.
But the most interesting announcement that came our way was Karan Johar’s ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ where she will seen alongside Ranbir Kapoor and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan who will return to the silver screens after a long respite. When there are two actresses involved, there usually is a tussle over who gets the meatier part but with this film, Anushka emphasized that they both have brilliantly fleshed out roles. “I bumped into her at a party and she told me I have a kickass role in ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’. She, too has a fab role in the film. It’s a very rare and refreshing part. We are so happy she agreed to the film.”
Speaking of the film that will soon go on floors and is slated for a 2016 release, Anushka exclaimed that she is looking forward to it. “Me, Ranbir and Karan worked together on Bombay Velvet and we had an absolute blast. I am really looking forward to this project. I have grown up watching Karan Johar’s films. So it’s an honour to work with him.”
Karan, himself will return to direction after long and the star studded affair is something the audiences are eagerly waiting for. The film is so far expected to release in June, 2016.
Bollywood diva Anushka Sharma has come a long way from her modeling days. Having appeared in half a dozen commercials, debuting opposite Bollywood’s Baadshah Shah Rukh Khan to acting in the last Yash Chopra-directed flick, this girl-next-door has surely and steadily ascended the ladder.
As the actress gears up to blow us away with her performance as Jagat Janani in one of the most-anticipated films of all time, ‘PK’, we take a look at her journey so far.
Time and again Anushka Sharma has surprised us with her onscreen appearances. The actress is not afraid of trying something new. Her debut film, ‘Rab De Bana Di Jodi’ saw her opposite Shah Rukh Khan where she played the beautiful and vivacious Taani Gupta. The film did well and was declared a superhit. But it was after hr appearance in ‘Band Baaja Baarat’ opposite newcomer Ranveer Singh that she got her recognition. Anushka played the quirky and intelligent wedding planner, Shruti Kakkar.
Anushka’s last hit, Yash Chopra-directed ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ saw the actress playing a photographer. Talking about the late filmmaker she said: “In Yashji’s films, all the emotions, conflicts will be with the woman. It’s so smart, because in a relationship, the woman is the one with all the vulnerability, the emotions and also the strength. Yashji always brought that out in all his characters.”
For the past few months, Anushka has had her hands full with Rajkumar Hirani’s ‘PK‘ where she will be seen playing a journalist opposite Aamir Khan and Sushant Singh Rajput. “I am playing a regular working woman in the film, something that I have played in most of my films. But she’s not a journalist just for the sake of it—she’s an idealist and is trying to adapt to the set-up. In the film, you see her emotional journey—this girl has seen things in life that has made her more mature,” said the actress in an exclusive interview to Screen.
Anushka Sharma will also star in Anurag Kashyap’s periodic romance, ‘Bombay Velvet’. “From the very beginning, I have always wanted to work with the best directors and on good scripts. That’s what my excitement is about. It is the only criteria, but nobody ever asks me about these things. I was shooting for Vishal Bhardwaj and I was shooting for Yashji around the same time, so you can see yourself being different—the way you are talking or behaving or approaching scenes, everything is very different. It’s a thrill because you are being versatile and adding that versatility to your body of work. I also felt thrilled when working simultaneously on ‘PK’ with Raju Hirani and ‘Bombay Velvet’ with Anurag Kashyap,” she said.
Apart from acting, Anushka, 25, will be donning the producer’s hat for her next starrer, ‘NH10’. “I really liked the script of ‘NH10′. I believe in the film and I have faith in the director and writer. And if I have the ability to back a project I will do it,” says Anushka.
What sets Anushka Sharma apart from other Bollywood lads and lasses, is that the actress made it big without having a Godfather in Bollywood. Anushka landed her big break in Yash Raj Films and everything seemed to have worked out perfectly for her due to hard work and dedication. Not only is she an absolute natural in front of the camera when it comes to filming, but is also said to be totally at ease be for photo shoots. She is delight to watch being interviewed and her easy personality translates beautifully onto her characters.
The actress made headlines sometime ago for an alleged lip job-gone-wrong. “My decision to have done that was because I very strongly felt that it would help me with my character in ‘Bombay Velvet’. Now, it’s a decision I took. If I was ashamed of it, or I was hiding it or had done it for other reasons I would not come out and talk about it,” she says.
And of course her relationship with Indian cricketer Virat Kohli has become the talk of the town. The duo has been spotted on quite a few occasions, be it enjoying a night out on the town or engrossed in a cricket match together. But, the actress has refrained from talking about the romance, saying that she is a very private person and will neither hide it nor speak about it. “I feel that if I start to talk about my relationship once, there will be no end to it.”
Well, we have high expectations from Jagat Janani in ‘PK’ and we wish Anushka Sharma all the very best for the film.
“I can’t say what I’ve learnt from Aamir but I really respect his approach towards his work,” said Anushka Sharma in a Bollywood Hungama exclusive video interview with Faridoon Shahryar. Anushka is busy promoting PK but there’s a refreshing approach adapted by her which is clearly apparent in the manner in which she puts across her thoughts or the choice of films. On being asked if Jagat Janani in PK is the most challenging role that she has enacted so far, without being politically correct, she says, “No, NH10 andBombay Velvet are my most challenging roles so far.” She also speaks about how she has come to terms with Media and the unjust gossip stories that get written at times.
There’s a tremendous buzz around PK. You are introducing the character. How are you feeling?
I’m very excited about PK. It is every actor’s dream to do a film with Rajkumar Hirani. It is not merely you are doing a movie with him; you become a part of something big. Big, not because of the Box Office numbers but big by the effect it has on people.
You are seen with Sushant in ‘Chaar Kadam‘, you are there with Aamir in ‘Love Is A Waste Of Time‘. In terms of your romantic chemistry, what’s the deal like?
And you think I’ll tell you. (Laughs)
Just trying my luck…
Good try. There’s a reason why we are not talking about the film. These days we have so much of information, that you know pretty much everything and you want more. Sometimes it is nice to not have any expectations to go with an open mind and just discover the film for yourself. There’s another reason why we don’t want to talk about the film which you will discover when you watch the film.
In Band Baaja Baraat, the writing was very crucial and it was a turnaround for you as an actor. Now, you have PK which has great writers like Raju Hirani and Abhijat Joshi. How important is writing for a movie?
According to me, writing is the most important thing. It is the idea, and it gets developed into a story, then everyone else comes on board, the actors, who is going to produce, places where it will be shot. I personally feel that we don’t give enough attention to writing in our movies. The reason why Raju Hirani, Abhijat Joshi or Zoya Akhtar do such lovely work is because they are into their writing. They will never give up. For them, it is the writing that will make their film hatke, more loved, bigger. I can only showcase my work as an actor if I am given the tools to do it. Abhijat and Raju Hirani have set a really really strong example.
Some unjust gossip stories were written about you in the media. But there are other journalists who are trying to do an honest job. There is a perception that you withdrew yourself from the media.
Last one and a half years I didn’t have a release so that’s why the absence was felt. I was shooting for four films and I was working my a** off. I meet a person for an interview and I know what the person is trying to get to. Sometimes you have a good conversation the way I’ve had with you over the years. Sometimes you know someone is just trying to find a scoop. With some experience you know that. You can’t generalize that ways. What I’ve learnt is that you can’t take these things very personally. This is the law of the land. I can be pulled into what is written, sometimes unwillingly, but what I can do is not to take it too seriously. There is always a mutual respect for each other.
What is it that you’ve learnt while working with Aamir Khan?
You are not aware of it or describe, some things get engraved subconsciously. I can’t say what I’ve learnt from Aamir but I really respect his approach towards his work.
Your favouriteAamir Khan film? Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar
Is Jagat Janani your most challenging role so far?
No. NH10 and Bombay Velvet are.
You shall be seen with RanbirKapoor in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil to be directed by Karan Johar. Excited about that?
Really really looking forward to it! I grew up watching Karan Johar films. I really love Karan’s films. It’s a dream to work with him. I am really happy that Ranbir, Karan and me are coming back with Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. We really had a good bond while working on Bombay Velvet.
Anushka Sharma’s last release, nearly two years ago, was the box-office dud Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola. So it’s natural that she is excited about her new film PK, touted to be the biggie of the year. “I love the fact that everyone I know just can’t wait to watch PK,” says Anushka about the Rajkumar Hirani film co-starring Aamir Khan that releases on Friday. A t2 chat on PK and VK (Virat Kohli, silly!)
How tough is it to promote a film where you aren’t allowed to say anything about the film?
(Laughs out loud) I don’t think it is as difficult for us as it is for you guys… the journalists. You have to speak to us about the film… you have to do the interviews and yet you can’t ask us questions about the film! It must be a real challenge for you guys. Hamara kya hai? We can just tell you that we can’t say anything about the film and clam up! (Laughs) But the fact that the film has been kept so much under wraps is for a reason. We are so used to saying so much about a film before people see it that sometimes it kills the novelty and the curiosity around the film. Film dekhne se pehle hi sabko sab kuch pata chal jaata hai (laughs).
PK is a film that needs to be experienced… it’s a film which requires you to go in without any preconceived notions whatsoever. The kind of curiosity that has been built for PK is actually going to enhance the experience of watching the film. Honestly, that’s what I feel.
But that doesn’t mean that we haven’t been promoting PK. I think talking unnecessarily about a film just ruins the interest around it. One needs to be able to hook the audience enough to want to watch the film and I think the marketing strategy around PK has achieved it… it’s been good, sensible marketing. From whatever I have seen, gauged and heard, 10 out of 10 people are very interested in coming and watching PK within the first weekend.
How did you react when you were first offered PK: a Rajkumar Hirani film starring Aamir Khan!
(Laughs) That sounds so good, doesn’t it? But honestly, when Raju sir called me to talk about the film, I had no idea that Aamir was going to be in it. During the narration of the film, I was over the moon because I loved every bit of my character. Every actor in the industry wants to work with Rajkumar Hirani and I had been dying to do a film with him for a long, long time (laughs). I wanted to know what it would be like to work with someone like him… he makes such good cinema which has the right blend of entertainment and social message, his films are primarily driven by its characters. I am very happy, ya… just being associated with PK brings a smile to my face. It’s a very special film.
From not blinking to the way he talks and walks, Aamir’s PK has a lot of quirks. Does your character Jagat Janani also have her share of quirks?
Well, the name Jagat Janani itself is quite quirky, isn’t it? But beyond that, I can’t say anything because that would mean giving out a lot about the film. I’m sorry! (Laughs)
Your look — short hair, minimal make-up and a tomboy feel — is a first for you. How did you become Jagat Janani?
Raju sir wanted me to look completely different from what people had seen me before. I was very excited when he told me that, because as an actor you want to do different roles and look as different as you can in every film you do. My look was a collaborative effort… we had to sit and discuss what Raju sir wanted Jagat Janani to be like. He had a very clear vision of her — fun-loving yet mature, someone who lives life on her own terms. We tried out a lot of wigs because the whole look of a person changes when you change the hairstyle. Finally, when I wore this particular one, everyone just felt that this was it. The look wasn’t a one-day thing… we experimented over a few days because we wanted to get it just right. Even the clothes I wear have a very unique style. I am very happy that people are liking it… girls are saying that they want to cut their hair short… it’s kind of sparked off a trend.
How challenging has playing Jagat Janani been among all the characters you have played?
I wouldn’t say it was the most challenging character among all that I have done so far, but Jagat Janani was special in the sense that I got to learn something new about the craft of acting every day…. I found NH10 (where Anushka makes her debut as producer) challenging because it required a certain level of physical fitness. Then, Bombay Velvet (directed by Anurag Kashyap and co-starring Ranbir Kapoor and Karan Johar) was very challenging because I had to learn jazz since I play a jazz singer. I had to change my body language a lot for Bombay Velvet. For PK, I had to play Jagat Janani keeping in mind what I didn’t have to do… when you watch the film, you will understand. I had to give a certain level of stability to the character.
Everyone on that set is very well prepared… it runs like a well-oiled machine. Their groundwork, their homework is spot on. Led by Raju sir, they are all very professional… you won’t find anyone coming to the set and fumbling on what to do next… it’s all pre-decided. I always knew that Raju sir was Bolly’s number one director and once I worked with him on PK, that idea was reinforced all the more. The kind of stories he tells are unique and he’s someone who just single-mindedly wants to make a good film. He’s been writing PK for five years… that’s the kind of time and effort he invests in his films — and it shows. When you see someone work with such passion and intensity, you know that he is a professional at just another level.
Was it intimidating sharing screen space with Aamir Khan?
I wasn’t intimidated when we were shooting because once you are playing a character, you just concentrate on that… you have your own thought process happening. In the beginning, of course, it took time because I am a bit shy. He drew me out dheere dheere… he would always play pranks on me and pull my leg and lighten the atmosphere. He is a very sharp person… extremely intelligent. There’s a lot that one can learn from him.
Is he a helpful co-star?
For me, a truly great co-star is someone who gives me my space. That’s something he did. And the way he’s played PK is so unaffected and so natural that automatically it’s had a positive effect on my performance as well.
Aamir tweeted that his family watched PK and loved it. What was the reaction from your friends and family?
My parents and my brother watched it about five-six days ago. They loved it. My father thought this was my best work and that’s made me very happy because he isn’t really very generous with compliments (laughs). My mother was watching it like a proper audience member… she was laughing and crying and was very, very involved.
(Pauses) He watched it before he left (for Australia). He said he liked it more than 3 Idiots. So, that’s a big thing (smiles).
Over the last year or so, there was so much conjecture about your relationship with Virat. Now that you have admitted to your relationship, are you in a better personal space?
I don’t really think there is any difference in how I was feeling then and how I am feeling now. We both lead very normal lives… we are just like any other boy and girl in a relationship. We share similar interests and we like being with each other. It’s not that we were hiding our relationship… it’s just that we weren’t comfortable shouting from the rooftops that: ‘Hey, we are seeing each other!’ (Laughs) I haven’t ever spoken about my relationship and I will still not talk about it. People have seen us together and it’s not something that we really needed to announce. As he said, anyone with a bit of common sense would know we are seeing each other. I would just want people to treat us normally like any other couple in a relationship.
Aamir Khan is early. By a whole 45 minutes. In times when we’re used to stars turning up two hours late, this is a pleasant surprise. Soon after, Rajkumar Hirani (director of Aamir’s next), co-star Anushka Sharma, producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra and co-writer Abhijat Joshi arrive at the HT office.
Aamir Khan visited HT office in Mumbai.
Over the next few hours, the cast and crew of PK interact with team HT Café and Fever 104 FM, along with a few invited HT readers.
Anushka, you debuted opposite Shah Rukh Khan and now you’ve done a film with Aamir. Who intimidated you more? Anushka: Honestly, it was Aamir, and I will explain why. I come from an army background so there is a sense of hierarchy… Aamir: How does the army background figure here? Anushka: It does. In the army, you aren’t on backslapping terms with people, and I used to feel shy about approaching Aamir or talking to him. But having said that, Aamir and Shah Rukh have different working styles. SRK is more spontaneous, whereas there’s method to what Aamir does. When he comes on the sets he already knows what he will do in a scene.
Are there any plans to make a sequel to 3 Idiots? Abhijat: Honestly, I don’t know. We have an idea for the 3 Idiots sequel, a Munna Bhai part three, and also for a PK sequel; but the PK and Munna Bhai sequels interest me the most. So, I think the 3 Idiots sequel may happen in the future, but these two I really want to work on.
Sequels seem to have become a safe marketing decision for film-makers of late. Vidhu, do you think they make for good business decisions? Vidhu: Can you imagine that a company that has made Munna Bhai MBBS and Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006) has not made the third film for eight years now? For the sake of marketing a film, it (making a sequel) is the stupidest decision. For a Vinod Chopra film or a Raju Hirani film, not doing it (a sequel) is the dumbest thing, because even if we made rubbish, by Monday, it would make Rs. 200 crores. By the time you guys say it’s a bad movie, we would say thank you very much, and sorry we messed up. But we are not doing that, because we only make films if we are happy with the script. We are not in the business of marketing films, but of making genuinely good ones.
Aamir, Salman Khan has said that he is ready to do Andaz Apna Apna 2. Are you? Aamir: I would love to. I have asked Raj (Kumar Santoshi; director of Andaz Apna Apna, 1994) why he hasn’t started working on part two, but he hasn’t got down to it yet. We are waiting for him to come with a script… I would love to do it.
Junaid (Aamir’s son) worked as an assistant director (AD) on PK. What was that like? Raju: He is a wonderful kid. He was treated like any other AD, was given work, and reprimanded when needed. But he really has a mind of his own; I can see glimpses of Aamir in him. Aamir: I am missing Junaid a lot actually. He is studying in Los Angeles, USA. Kiran (Rao; wife), my mom, Azad (son) and Ira (daughter) have seen the film, but Junaid has not. I was happy working with him. The only thing was that, on the sets, he used to be at the periphery of the unit controlling the crowd or something, so I didn’t get to see him too often.
Anushka, is it true that you auditioned for 3 Idiots (2009)? Anushka: So, this happened even before Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008). I was given some dialogue from Munna Bhai MBBS (2003), and they didn’t tell me what I was auditioning for, and who the director was. Then, while shooting for PK, an AD showed us the audition tape. It was so bad that it didn’t even go past the preliminary stage and reach Raju sir (laughs).
Anushka Sharma was all smiles when she visited HT office in Mumbai.
Aamir, two of your past releases have had a school and a college as backdrops. Where will we see you in your upcoming film? Aamir: Actually, schools and colleges don’t excite me at all. I had a very traumatic time in school and college. Yes, I ended up making two such films (Taare Zameen Par; 2007, and 3 Idiots; 2010), but I think PK is more a school of life; it’s not [about]a formal institution.
Raju, you’ve worked with Aamir and Vidhu on 3 Idiots. What was it like working with them again? Raju: They are both film-makers, and it’s easy to work with film-makers. With them, I have realised that I need to say very little, and they understand much more. It’s easy to work with those who understand cinema.
We often hear of camps being formed in Bollywood. Aamir, you, Raju and Vinod have stuck together since 3 Idiots. Is there pressure to churn out another hit after your last outing? Aamir: For me, there is no pressure. I don’t believe in these clubs or camps, and I don’t think Raju and Vinod do either. We like to work organically. If Raju has a script that may not suit me, then I will understand that he needs to cast someone else, and that’s how things should be. Otherwise you start compromising on your work. There is no concept of a camp; we came together to work again because the situation required it.
Release Date: December 18, 2014
Co-stars: Aamir Khan, Sushant Singh Rajput
Director: Rajkumar Hirani News | Images | Official Site
Release Date: Early 2015
Co-stars: Neil Bhoopalam, Darshan Kumar
Director: Navdeep Singh News | Images | Official Site
Release Date: May 2015
Co-stars: Ranbir Kapoor, Kay Kay Menon
Director: Anurag Kashyap News | Images | Official Site
DIL DHADAKNE DO
Release Date: June 5, 2015
Co-stars: Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akhtar
Director: Zoya Akhtar News | Images | Official Site