In a new light

OUT OF THE SHADOW After playing second fiddle to stars, Sonakshi Sinha is now doing films where she is central to the story

OUT OF THE SHADOW After playing second fiddle to stars, Sonakshi Sinha is now doing films where she is central to the story   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Sonakshi Sinha turns over a new leaf with Noor

Noor is making headlines, and finally Sonakshi Sinha seems to be playing herself. “Like me, she is a modern day girl, who speaks her mind and doesn’t take herself too seriously,” says a relaxed Sonakshi in Delhi. One remembers a couple of years back, before the release of Tevar, she had a hard time justifying her choices like Rowdy Rathore and Action Jackson. Lootera notwithstanding, she has taken some time to come out of the shadow of male stars to reach this space where women have a say. “It was not some plan. Those were the films that came my way and as an audience I like to watch that kind of cinema — family entertainers.” She admits that some of them didn’t turn out the way they were promised but it happens with every actor. She reminds that Dabangg and Son of Sardar kind of films were working at that point of time. “So, why one would be apologetic about commercially successful films,” she argues. “Today, if A.R. Murugadoss, who has worked with superstars of the industry, feels that this girl can carry his film, it is because of those films and the following that I had garnered through them. I am very proud of my body of work and now I want to take up different kinds of challenges.”

So after playing a fighter in Akira, Sonakshi is playing a journalist in Noor. “I understand this girl as our personalities are so similar. There are so many girls, who will be able to relate to her because she wants a perfect life, a perfect figure and all while making something out of herself...finding her purpose, which is something I grappled with. The reactions to certain situations are so natural that there are certain parts of the film where I felt that I am not even acting. It was nice to play a real character after playing all those larger-than-life characters.”

Director’s actor

Journalists often complain that Bollywood doesn’t portray them convincingly. As Noor is based on Saba Imtiaz’s novel Karachi, You’re Killing Me, director Sunhil Sippy has had some material to mould her. “The book is very interesting but as it got adapted to Mumbai, lot of things changed. I created Noor on my own with the help of the director. I am a director’s actor and very spontaneous. Until the camera is rolling, I can’t get into the character,” reflects Sonakshi.

Over the years, she says, she has seen different kinds of journalists. “So in terms of personality and work ethic there is no one way to approach the character. For me, Noor could be just about anyone of them. What we have done is that we have tried to keep the backdrop authentic. Noor wants to raise serious issues of her city but her boss doesn’t allow her to. He expects her to cover fluff and entertainment news which she doesn’t want to. She is being suppressed but one day she takes charge of herself and goes after a really big issue. She makes a few mistakes along the way but ultimately makes her voice heard.” Recently, she interviewed a seasoned journalist and during the chat she discovered that the obstacles journalists face are similar to what has been depicted in the film. “When you go after a big story, the system is not with you. You are constantly stalled at different stages. So you have to fend for yourself as it takes a long time before the story reaches the audience.”

Promos suggest that it is not easy for girls like Noor to find a boyfriend. It sounds like stereotyping somebody who has a good head on her shoulders and glasses marks on nose. “It happens with independent, opinionated, working women today. They are so focussed on their careers that it is just too difficult to find anybody. It actually says finally women are concentrating on their hopes and dreams and not following what we have been fed so far that your ultimate aim is to get married and fulfil somebody else’s dreams.” And if a section of society is finding hard to come to terms with it, Sonakshi says, “it is their problem.”

Bizarre cuts

Talking of journalists, reportedly, the Central Board of Film Certification has cut out Dutt from Barkha Dutt, whom Noor calls her role model. The senior journalist has tweeted that she would not have minded her name being used. “I see it as bizarre as Barkha sees it because CBFC is so vague about things that are to be censored. There is a dialogue in the promo where Noor says ‘seedhi savitri se tedhi savitri banoongi’. The actual words were sati savitri, something that we commonly use. They had an issue with that. What is okay in one film, is not in another. In Akira, we were told the we could use the word saala only twice. Where is the logic?”

But Pahlaj Nihalani, who heads CBFC, is supposedly a good friend of her father, Shatrughan Sinha? “He is, and I have put my point across. Let’s see,” says Sonakshi.

Sometimes, film stars don’t find the ways of entertainment journalists logical either and Sonakshi has had her share of experiences. “Even when we go on talking about our work, the questions ultimately get diverted to personal life and other controversies that are happening around. What’s worse is that the headline is about that and not about what I am trying to convey through my work which is sad in a way.”

New frame?

One presumes a pet subject of a section of journalists is to analyse her body mass rather than measuring weight in her work. “Exactly, I have always maintained that my work should speak for itself. Even while growing up, I didn’t give much importance to how I look.” Having said that she has indeed lost a few kilos. Is it again for the new challenges or is she trying to fit into some new frames? “Noor is supposed to be an unhealthy, over weight girl. There is a scene where she says that her weight is more than her Twitter followers. I usually don’t check my weight but for that scene I had to. As I stepped on the weighing machine and looked into it, I said, ‘Oh! my god when did it happen?’” After that Sonakshi pulled up her socks and decided to make certain lifestyle changes. “Shooting schedules are so hectic that there is no time for working out. So I made a small change in my eating habits. Now, what I eat is way healthier than what I used to. Earlier, I used to take lot of junk food. However, there is no diet as such. Still, even when I really feel like eating something, I don’t stop myself but I don’t skip my workouts and if I have one bad meal, I make sure that rest of my meals during the day are healthy. It is always about striking a balance.”

So, considering she is a playing a serious journalist, does she hold a view on Romeo squads and gau rakshaks? No, comments. I am an actor!,” chuckles Sonakshi giving me a ‘you too’ look.

A ‘challenging’ Ittefaq

While Sonakshi is waiting for another Lootera to come her way, the actor is busy completing B.R. Films’ comeback back vehicle Ittefaq. An adaptation of Yash Chopra’s film starring Rajesh Khanna, Sonakshi is playing the role essayed by Nanda. “It is very challenging because I have to portray one character in two different ways in one film. It is hard for me to hide my real self!”

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 9:07:45 AM |

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