Is it crisp confidence? Is it the smugness of one who knows she’s good at what she does? Or is this how a new generation of actors deal with snowballing success? You can’t quite figure out Sonakshi Sinha easily, says BHUMIKA K.
Sonakshi Sinha is quite the success story today, with four hits in three years. Daughter of ‘Shotgun’ Shatrughan Sinha, Sonakshi has inherited that brusque confidence her father has often displayed. Smug from the success of her latest, Lootera, where she garnered critical acclaim, Sonakshi is on the threshold of a slew of boisterous movies she’s come to be known for since her debut with Dabangg, including Bullet Raja and Rambo Rajkumar.
The brand ambassador of Rajguru Rise saris was in Bangalore to walk the ramp in what she’s most comfortable in. “A sari gives you a certain amount of grace and poise. In films I dance like a mad person wearing a sari. You can do anything in it! I’ve done action in a sari!” Excerpts from an interview:
Your break in this industry was so far removed from your father’s…
Oh drastically different! My father didn’t have a father from the industry. When he started 30 years ago, he started from scratch. Fortunately, for me I was born into his family, after he made it. He’s told us stories about his struggles as a boy who came from Patna to study at the Pune film institute (FTII), then struggled in Mumbai, knocking on producers’ doors for work. He started off as a villain and became a hero. And a big one at that. His is a story that a book can be written on. Mine is not so exciting. I was a fashion student, never wanted to be an actor, kind of got offered this role and could not pass that opportunity up. So I became an actor by default.
What have you learnt from him?
A lot of things. Mostly about staying true to yourself and being original. My father has a very distinct personality and I believe people say that about me as well. He does not focus on his weaknesses; instead he focuses on his strengths, which is what I do too.
In terms of acting?
He’s let me grow as a person and as an actor. Find out things on my own. I think somewhere he felt that I am like him, so he had that faith in me always. He never really sat me down and given me acting tips…every conversation with him is like a learning experience. From his stories, there’s so much you can imagine.
Hasn’t success come to you too fast?
Yes, but I never took it as a bad thing because it didn’t affect me that way. I’m sure a lot of people do get taken away by it but I’ve grown up seeing my father successful, the fame, the adulation…so it never really fascinated me much. I guess somewhere I was brought up to take it in my stride. I feel truly fortunate that my films have done so well.
What worked in your favour?
I think I’m hard-working. Some people say it’s luck, some, good judgement of the kind of films/scripts I’ve chosen, some that I look different, that I’m expressive. I really think it’s a combination of everything. You can’t really pinpoint what worked.
Your ‘look’ that’s talked about, the ‘desi look’, sounds almost like an accusation...
Which is really annoying. What do you want me to look like? A Russian? (Laughs) I don’t react to it anymore. I’m an Indian girl, I work in Hindi films. I dress according to what the directors want. You won’t see me strutting around in shorts in Dabangg. The media keeps questioning me, which is very strange. And I just have this to ask them — you don’t go around asking these other girls who wear miniskirts in film after film ‘Why are you only dressing up in western clothes?’ Why do I get picked on? I guess, if you are different, you will be. I’ve been through it in school and college, this is the bigger field so…it carries on even here!
You’ve played loud, over-the-top characters in your films till Lootera came by. You seemed comfortable with those, and in Lootera as well…
I enjoy the singing, dancing, funny expressions — I like it. I can carry it off. My films have done really well, so there’s no questioning that. That is what people like to see. Lootera is a once-in-a-lifetime film. It was a big challenge for me and I did it. I guess it just goes on to show that I will fit in wherever you put me. Those roles required me a certain way; Lootera required me to be different. That was also appreciated.
What was the one big learning…
(Almost on auto pilot she reels off) Concentrate on your own work, do what you gotta do…What was your question?
What was the one thing you learnt from Lootera?
Oh Lootera was a completely different learning experience. It was like going back to school. It was such a disciplined set. Wonderful working atmosphere. Everything was on time, every person knew what he was doing, it was shot with sync sound, so everybody was silent all the time. I learnt that less is more, but depends of course on which kind of film it is…with Lootera I learnt to live the role. That’s not something I’ve done before.