by ASJAD NAZIR.

ACTRESS Anushka Sharma has been testing herself with a wide array of roles in recent years and continues that trend with a challenging role in this month’s big Bollywood release Sui Dhaaga: Made In India.

She stars opposite Varun Dhawan in the uplifting drama about dreaming big and battling against the odds to achieve that.

caught up with Anushka to find out more about the film, her amazing social work and more.

You have become very unpredictable with your choices. How are you selecting the projects you are doing?
I’m always looking out for different stories and different characters. For an actor it’s very important to constantly keep reinventing yourself so you show a different side of yourself to your audience, because that’s the only way you will be able to sustain their interest and faith in you. I think experimenting with roles in films is very important – it is reaching out to your audience in the best way possible, of course.

It seems like you are happiest when you are out of your comfort zone?
Actually that’s very true and a good observation. I am happiest when I play a character who is very different from my own personality. I feel like I can really express myself. And when I say myself, I mean myself as an actor too. My real personality – I’m very quiet actually, I don’t really have a very strong personality in that sense, so I feel like when
I have a different character to play, I can really put my all in there. I think it’s very boring to be yourself on screen – it’s a lot of fun when you’re able to be someone else.

But is it true that you thought Sui Dhaaga was too challenging even for you?
Yes, it is true that it was challenging for me because it was a film in which I was playing
a character who was totally different from who I am as a person. And I had to really understand that her instincts were very different from my own, so I could not
rely on my own instincts as a person. I had to have different thoughts and different instincts for her, which were unique to her. And to get those, and to inculcate that faculty inside me. I had to really understand this person and where she came from, her aspirations and her situation. That is something I had to work on, and hopefully I have been able to do it.

What did you most like about the project?
What I liked was the creative process. Sharat [Katariya] was a good director to have worked with and Varun [Dhawan] was a very engaging co-actor. And I think the entire team in terms of the producers, editors, lyricist and everybody, were really those who believed in this film. So I think these reasons have been interesting for me.

Tell us about the story and your character?
The character I play in Sui Dhaaga comes from a low-middle class family. She was married off when she was much younger, she’s not very educated and is busy with her work in her house, just running the house and everything.

But she really doesn’t feel like she has ever been able to express herself or her opinions, other than in matters of the housework and all that. In the larger scheme of things in the home, she hasn’t mattered. She’s a woman who has a mind of her own and through the film, she and other people discover that about herself – that she has a personality
which is unique and strong, and a mind that is active and opinionated.

But her way of expression was going to be very different from perhaps women like me, who are more privileged and have been given way more opportunities. I think that it was what was interesting to me about playing this character.

What was the biggest challenge of this role?
Like I said, I was playing someone who was so different from me in terms of her instincts, behaviour and personality, so I could not rely on my own instincts as a person, because that would not be true to the character.

What was the biggest thing that being part of this movie taught you?
This film has really taught me how it doesn’t matter where you come from, it’s where you want to go. If you persevere in doing something, and if it comes from a good place, then you will succeed in life. These are the things that have stuck with me.

Is it fair to say this is an emotional film?
Yes, it is definitely an emotional film. But at the same time the emotion is not, you know, soppy. It’s very uplifting somehow. And I think it’s something that everyone will be able to connect to.

So who are you hoping connects with the film?
I think it’s a very wide-ranging film and I do think that it can reach out to as many people as it should. It’s a universal film because the concept is so universal and everybody will be able to relate to it. It’s a family film, so I think we are reaching out to any and everybody.

Sui Dhaga promotion in Jaipur

You must be happy with the incredible response the trailer has received?
Yes, we are very excited and very happy. The trailer has got a good response and people have really understood the film for what it is. So I’m very pleased about how it has been received.

This film does impart an important message, but what social causes are closest to your heart?
Well, anything to do with children, education, and women empowerment are things I feel very strongly about. But apart from these causes, I have been very actively and forcefully working towards animal rights and animal welfare, because I think that is something that requires attention.

There is a huge section of people who are not compassionate enough to animals because they do not see them as important as a human life. So creating awareness and talking about that seems like a very important thing for me to do. We all understand that in terms of being part of the environment and part of Mother nature, no one life is more important
than the other, and when one thing is not taken care of, it adversely affects everybody. This is something that I always try to speak about.

You will be starting an animal shelter soon?
I have announced that I’m going to be starting a shelter very soon. I have already got the land for it, and the shelter is being built to take care of animals, sort of like a rehab for old animals, those that have retired from work, and of course for any animals we can help and take care of, and provide medical assistance to.

Today what inspires you most?
I think what inspires me the most is when I see some act of goodness around me, which happens naturally and organically, and is not forced and fake. I think also somewhere where I see people just enjoying their work, whatever it may be, taking pride in the work they are doing, and doing it with a lot of fun and happiness. That really inspires me,
and I really appreciate such people.

Your production house has done a great variety of movies, but what can we expect next?
We will carry on doing a lot more interesting work – the idea is to always create more content and tell different stories. We will also be doing some very interesting work in
the digital space, so that is a big announcement we will be making soon.

You have achieved a lot, but do you have any great unfulfilled cinematic ambitions like a dream role?
I don’t have any ambitions actually in terms of dream roles, but my ambition is basically
that I want to be living in the moment and seeing the scripts that are coming to me and then deciding what excites me, like how Sui Dhaaga excited me when I read it. So
I think I just try to react to the moment.

How much have you enjoyed the whole process of having a fashion label?
I have really enjoyed it. I’m really happy with the way the brand is doing also and the faith that we are instilling in our customers. It’s getting bigger, our collections are available now in most places and on more platforms, and I believe that is a really good sign for us. It is all very exciting and also very encouraging.

What can we expect next from you in terms of projects?
The next film I’ll be doing it Zero. It is going to come out very soon, so that’s the next
release that I will have. And other than that, like I said before, announcements will
be made shortly.

Finally, why should we watch Sui Dhaaga?
You should watch it because it’s a good film.

  • Sui Dhaaga: Made In India is in cinemas next Friday (28).

 

DR ZEUS’S GLOBAL VIEW

THE hotly anticipated Dr Zeus album Global Injection will be released later this month and has a number of big-name guest appearances on there.

The ace British music producer (above) has been working hard on the songs and early indications are it will be the best album of 2018.

Zeus told me: “I have been lucky to release a number of albums and feel blessed
they have been loved, but this is my best yet and it’s been a long time coming. I have worked really hard on the album and am proud of every single track. Thanks to all those who worked on the album, including the amazing vocalists who helped realise my vision.”

 

UDAY LIGHTS UP TWITTER

ACTOR turned producer Uday Chopra recently wrote a post on social media asking for India to legalise marijuana and gave various reasons, before stating that he doesn’t use the drug himself. He was told off by the Mumbai police for his tweet and was also not surprisingly trolled, with one person suggesting he needed something to forget that despite getting so many gold-plated opportunities in life, he still hasn’t been able to make a mark.

 

SONAM SHARES STORIES

ACTRESS Sonam Kapooor recently revealed tantalising details about her husband  Anand Ahuja, including saying he doesn’t have much of an imagination in bed and that he had initially tried to set her up with one of his friends.

She also revealed how he proposed, saying: “We were in New York and one day when he was biking and I was walking alongside, I was being a brat, having a crappy day. I was complaining about how there was no good person in New York. He got off, got down on one knee and asked if I wanted to marry him.”

 

ABHISHEK AND HIS CHOICES

I HAD said previously that Abhishek Bachchan was right to refuse Paltan because it would be a disaster and opt for Manmarziyaan instead, which I predicted would get
much better reviews, but not generate huge numbers. I was right on all counts because Paltan flopped and Manmarziyaan received solid reviews, but not the blockbuster numbers the actor’s career so desperately needs. I hope Abhishek can find a commercial project worthy of his talent because the one thing that Manmarziyaan did show is that he is a fine actor.

 

FREIDA: IN A GOOD PLACE

SHE may have found global fame after the incredible success of 2008 Oscar winning
film Slumdog Millionaire, but Freida Pinto recently confessed that she felt lost for a long time because she was just doing whatever work came her way and lacked confidence.
But she took a break and has now returned emotionally stronger.

She said: “Today, I’m sure I don’t feel lost anymore. I can accept my flaws and speak my mind. And I am the happiest that I have been.”

Freida will now hopefully choose better projects worthy of her talent and perhaps take advice from her ex-boyfriend Dev Patel, who is making great professional choices.