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'I can play Rajjo in my sleep': Sonakshi Sinha on 'Dabangg 3', Salman Khan and art therapy

Looking back: Sonakshi Sinha had no acting aspirations until her Salman Khan encouraged her

Looking back: Sonakshi Sinha had no acting aspirations until her Salman Khan encouraged her  

Approaching a decade in Bollywood, the actor speaks about how art is her escape from the crazy world of the movies

A little more than nine years ago Sonakshi Sinha stepped on to a film set in Wai, Maharashtra, to shoot for Dabangg her debut film. The actor had had no acting aspirations until her first co-star Salman Khan encouraged her to join the family business (Sinha’s parents Poonam and Shatrughan are both actors). It was during this shoot that Sinha discovered her love for acting. “I remember going on set, completely new and raw; not knowing what I was getting into,” recalls the actor. “There was no grooming, acting classes, workshops or dance classes. I was just thrown into the deep end of the pool and told to swim. Whatever I learnt, I learnt on set. My first time in front of the camera, and for some strange reason, I felt very comfortable. It felt like I was supposed to be here, and that was nice because it felt like I could do this.”

Art matters

But acting wasn’t the only talent she discovered on the set of Dabangg. When they weren’t shooting, the actress found herself painting alongside Khan who had only recently began expressing his emotions on canvas. “I would join him because when you're on an outdoor schedule, there's not much else you can do.” As Sinha’s career took off after the 2010 film, the actor has had little time to spend for art, so somewhere along the way, she stopped. Until recently, that is. “One day I decided that I wanted to start painting again so I did. I don’t paint very regularly but it's something I really enjoy,” she says, adding, ‘I should do more of it’, almost as a note to herself.

For Sinha, mixing colours and putting brush to canvas is almost therapeutic. “It’s like meditation. I forget about everything else. There are times when I’ve come back from a 16-17 hour work-day dead tired. I go straight to my painting room and have immediately forgotten about how tired I am.” So far, the actor has has completed over 30 art works, some abstracts and other portraits of people and animals. Only her family and close friends have had a peek at her art, but the actor has plans of an exhibition or auction because ‘art is meant to be shared’.

Role play

For now, though, the 32-year-old is looking forward to the release of the third installment in the Dabangg franchise. The film is a prequel which explores ‘how Chulbul Pandey (Khan’s character) became who he is’ and has Sinha returning to her role in the series. “I can play Rajjo in my sleep,” says Sinha. “It's etched into my consciousness. These characters are accepted and loved by everyone, so we can't change them too much. We're taking you back to how they became [who] they became,” she explains. This is Sinha’s fourth film with director Prabhu Deva and having him at the helm, she believes has given these characters ‘a nice new twist and a refreshing change’.

What hasn’t changed too much, though, is Sinha’s relationship with co-star Khan. “Our families have been friends for the longest time, and he's known me since I was in college,” says the actor. “Our dads have worked a lot together, and they're very good friends. I know his entire family, I love them and they love me. Over the years, working with him, that bond has become stronger. What I like about Khan is he does not change at all. He's so true to himself.”

It’s been close to a decade in Bollywood for Sinha, and she’s come into her own. “The experience of working in the industry for the last nine years, the people I've worked with and the films I've done, they've all taught me something. That's my biggest take away from what I'm doing. I want to learn, I want to keep learning. That's why I approach every film like my very first one”. After a long pause and with a beaming smile, she concludes, “Initially, I used to be very quiet — now not so much. I like that about myself, I like that I'm way more confident than I was back then.”

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 3:31:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/i-can-play-rajjo-in-my-sleep-sonakshi-sinha-on-dabangg-3-salman-khan-and-art-therapy/article30331277.ece

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