Nushrat Bharucha needs no introduction in the tinsel town of Bollywood. She has wowed audiences with her captivating performances in such box-office hits as Pyaar Ka Punchnama (2011), Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 (2015), and Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety (2018).
In a time when actors sign films left right and center after the success of their last release, Bharucha seems in no hurry. This is so because she wants to do more than just looking pretty, roaming around trees and fluttering sharp eyelashes. She wants characters that are fun to play.
The actress is currently seen in Dream Girl, co-starring Ayushmann Khurrana. It’s her first release after Luv Ranjan’s smash hit Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety in 2018. Before the release of Dream Girl, Eastern Eye caught up with the beautiful actress and talked to her about her journey in Bollywood, making it big without any godfather, her plans of digital debut and much more.
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Why are there such long gaps between your two films? Your last movie Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety released in February, 2018.
The main thing is that I should have fun in the film, fun to play that character. It is eventually about that. In the movie Dream Girl, the story is about Ayushmann Khurrana’s character, but I had so much fun being a part of it. There is passion and there is joy and they go together. If I have joy in making the film, then I will be passionate to be a part of the film. May it be back to back filmmaking, or if it is not there, I can wait for one. If there is not something interesting, I won’t be able to do it.
As an actor, did you ever feel insecure about working in a film with Ayushmann Khurrana?
If I was insecure, I would never have done the film. The only insecurity I have is that what if my performance is not good enough. Will I fall short of performance in front of so many great actors? With Annu Kapoor, Vijay Raaz, Manjot Singh, Ayushmann Khurrana, and Abhishek Banerjee, the audience would remember me or not? Will I do a decent job? For me, even if there are just four scenes, the point is, did the audiences have fun or not? That I should not be forgotten, is what I want.
When you started your career in showbiz, did you ever imagine reaching such far?
Honestly, I did not know whether or not I would reach till here, but I knew that I would make it. What was the definition of making it, I never understood. I just felt where I was at that point – whether it was Jai Santoshi Maa (2006), Love Sex Aur Dhokha or Pyaar Ka Punchnama – I always knew there was a path, there was a journey which would lead me, but I did not know where and how. Though I had a voice in my head telling me that I would make it, I had not defined what that “make it” was. I just stuck to that voice.
How do you look at your journey?
When you come from no experience, you don’t understand the industry. You don’t understand how things work. There is a machinery running, and that is how things get easy for most of the actors to function. Otherwise, you cannot function, you will fall apart. Now I have a certain machinery in place and I understand that if I had known this before, it would have been so much easier. Now things are getting easier. Before it was quite difficult. I know that because you don’t understand it, and there is no one to tell you that, no one to teach you that, you grapple in the dark. So, for me, the journey has been walking from dark towards the light. But I knew there was this light at the end of the room, so I kept walking and now I reached here.
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Did you ever think of giving up when things were not shaping up the way you have probably though?
I did want to give up a lot of times; I cannot even recollect how many times. And that “giving up” feeling emerged from the fact that I come from a very small, in-their-own-world family. My father and mother lead a very simple life and nobody had a dream or ambition as high as me. For them, acting as a job was not what they had in mind. So, whenever I turned and looked back at them, I would see fear and anxiety in their eyes. I would feel like forgetting my dreams and do something else for them, so that they are not so worried. What kept me motivated, honestly, was that voice in me. I would go to sleep thinking that I would definitely think of doing something else for my future, but when I would wake up, I would be like, “No, I will make it”. Then back to the same grind, like where are the auditions today, to who do I have to meet, what films are being made and so on.
Looking back, do you ever feel that one can survive in the industry even without godfathers?
I don’t think I approached it like that. If you think about it, it always takes somebody to kind of believe in you, and it needs that one chance for you to make that mark, or to say, “Ok, I have put a toe in the door, now you need to fling the door open”. That one chance had to be given by somebody, and I feel Dibakar Banerjee gave me that chance with Love Sex Aur Dhokha, because that was the first time people knew me as me. Of course, they thought I was Shruti because my name in that film was Shruti. They did not know me as Nushrat Bharucha. But that led me to meet, for the first time, with directors like Abhishek Chaubey, Vishal Bhardwaj and Imtiaz Ali. In that film, I did not work as a proper heroine; I just did a character that did a good job and the film worked. So, people were seeing me for who I was, as an actor, as a performer. That felt like that there was a ray of hope. I think that with every film that came my way and every pat on the back I got, gave me that one more string of motivation to go one step more.
Do you feel you are getting more confident with each project?
A part of it, yes. Let’s just be realistic about the fact that when a film does well, you are seen as somebody who is accepted and liked, and people want to see you more. That kind of does give you a little bit of confidence of saying that I am part of this. How much a part of it? I don’t know. For how long? I don’t know. But I am here now. It does give me the confidence definitely to kind of say, “Okay, I’m going to continue doing the way I am working, and hopefully things will play out even better”.
What goes behind your thought process of selecting films that you do?
I think the failure in my career, which was my most ambitious film, Akaash Vani (2013), has taught me this because I felt like nobody has yet offered me a film so nice and I never got a better role than this and I had given everything of myself to that film, that character, two years of my life. I said no to quite a lot of other work because I said that I wanted to do this film. When that did not work, it just opened my eyes to so many things that you think it’s your choice. It’s not. You think it was your brain that decided to do this and you were the smart one and the film would become a hit. A film can flop and you could be proven wrong. I think realizing that it’s not in your control, the only thing you can do is doing your job right.
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What is the one thing you realized is the key to the making of a film?
There are a lot of other people who are doing so many more things than acting. That they all have to fall for a film to work. That is why I said the film is just not credited to an actor, I think it is credited to the whole team because I will just act my part and then leave for home, after that you have to do the rest. That, I think, is one thing that has kept me balanced, knowing that I don’t have too much in control. I work from my sensibility, my understanding, and I trust the project with other people equally.
Would you like to star in any web series?
I think, very soon, you will see me in some web series because I have been putting it out so much and telling people that I am interested in being a part of one. From that point of view, I am looking at a story. Whether it’s a short story or something else, as long as I am interested in the story and I like what I am doing, I will do it. I am not going to think I have done films for the big screen why should I pursue small scale production? I don’t think like that. If I like the content, I will do it. I think it’s a great space.
These days the audience is more interested in the content of the film rather than the star power. What do you have to say?
Content is coming up as a star because people are wanting to see different things. They have seen those films; they have seen those heroes – the heroes and heroines in Switzerland and sari – they have seen all of that. I think it is the fact that the audience now wants to see stories which are familiar to them. We, as an audience, have gone back towards what is familiar to us.
Do you think if Akaash Vani had released in today’s time, it would have done better?
I will not shy away from saying this because it is the truth. Sad but true. I feel that if Luv sir had made it with bigger stars, the film would have done much better. And for me, that is a bigger win. I think that film was more important than my success. If I had that thought while the film was made, I would have told that myself. The story is so nice. It should not die because we are not big enough – and we were not big enough then. Secondly, I think it was made too ahead of its time. I think even today people are not willing to talk about marital rape. They are just not willing to accept that a husband is forcing himself on his wife. Even the court is not willing to accept that. So, I don’t know if the film would work today as well. Thirdly, on a practical level, I felt the film was too long. The subject was too heavy. Why would you let audiences be sadder in your film for longer? Relieve them of that pressure.
Dream Girl is running in cinemas now.