Right when the fate of one film is about to seep in, she is out with another! Sonakshi Sinha is making the most of the rabbit hole she chanced upon, totally enjoying her Wonderland, writes Shubarna Mukerji.
BULLETT RAJA with Saif Ali Khan will be her third release this year and it’s not her last. There is R…RAJKUMAR to go too and others that will be showcased in the first half of next year. Her date-book is filled with a jam-packed schedule and the girl could not be happier. “You know, when I have a day free, I feel lost. I don’t know what to do with time on hand,” she declares. And the funny thing is Sonakshi Sinha is not trying to sound deliriously diligent, she is simply speaking her heart. “I have been asked so many times about how I’m managing to do so many films in a year and how I do not feel overworked, or as you put it, ‘All work and no play makes even Jill a dull girl’ but really this here, is my playground!” The smile beaming brightly at me, I don’t have words to argue. Though I admit, I never thought she would be the type to put in 18 hours a day at work, in the name of “passion for cinema”… She did, after all, chance into becoming an actor to begin with. Who was to say which way she would turn? To add to it, her co-star Salman Khan did appear to be molly-coddling her like a mother-hen. So immersed was he in his role as her mentor, he even went around telling people that she had put on weight for DABANGG 2! Such pampering would go to anyone’s head, and yet, she remains an ardent student and a hard worker.
“Why would I be pampered? Just because I am Shatrughan Singha’s daughter, doesn’t mean I expect preferential treatment. Frankly, I have never got it either. I set the tone of my work space on day one when I walk onto the sets to work. I am there to give my best and do my job sincerely. With that straightened, I don’t believe I leave room for any doubts. I have worked with a variety of people, and since I am generally an easygoing person, it has always been fun and happy. I don’t sit there plotting my next move or trying to befriend a certain co-star.” And she doesn’t. But with her interesting mix of co-stars and even directors, it might not always be so easy to set the tone. After all, no two people work the same way… While we have an Abhinav Singh Kashyap declaring that Sonakshi will never be able to do a crass-crude role, there’s a Prabhu Deva who is set on doing something akin to ROWDY RATHORE for her…
“Haha… their opinions of me are purely based on my having met them at different phases of my life!” She laughed a little more at the thought of a MISS-ROWDY-RATHORE, and returned to explaining, “When I did DABANGG, I might have come across as shy and standoffish but that is simply because I was new, I had taken a leap of faith and was waiting to see how life would unfold for me. I might have given Abhinav the impression that I was too classy to do certain kind of work. But the fact is I can be quite a tom-boy. I gel fabulously with Prabhu Deva Sir. There is a part of me which perhaps talks hi-fashion and brands, but I can still get right into the muck and rough it up!”
Clearly the after-effects of being raised along with two boys… girls with brothers are invariably this enviable blend of femininity and spunk. “Maybe,” she conceded, adding, “All I remember about my growing days was being one of the boys. Even when I grew up I remember being treated just like one of them. I was buddy-material! No one ever bothered to behave like they were in the presence of a lady or anything. Sometimes I wondered if anyone would ever see me as a girl!”
I can bet they all do now… “Yeah, they are probably eating their hearts out for not giving me a chance!” She laughed it off but clearly made me wonder about this new page that Sonakshi turned, becoming an actor. She changed the perception people had of her; she changed her own destiny… “When someone asks me today what the one thing that I believe in strongly is, I would say it is the sleight of hand and the twist of fate. There are things that are meant to happen and they will happen. Irrespective of where you are in your space or mind, if He means for it to happen, He will do it. I can say that with such staunch belief because Sonakshi Sinha, the actor, is clearly a twist of fate. How else would a formerly obese girl, with no acting background, doing a course in fashion designing, suddenly end up being an actress? I don’t have any other explanations for it.”
I would say fate and a good dose of hard work. What can be seen as an act of fate has to be nurtured all the same. Does it ever worry her that she has to keep herself far away from her formerly obese self? Does it make her insecure? Especially given the fierce competition that exists in film-land?
“When I decided I had to lose weight, I did it purely for health reasons – I am young and wanted to be physically fit. Of course now that I am an actor, I need to look a particular way and so I ensure that I eat correctly and I go to the gym. But do I get paranoid if I miss a day of working out? No! Earlier my feet would turn to lead every time I thought about hitting the gym but now I have started enjoying the process. See, it’s like this when you have to do something you generally would hate one of the two things will happen, either you start enjoying it or you will be repulsed completely. Fortunately for me, I have started enjoying the process but that still doesn’t mean that I will hit the gym after putting in 16 hours at work. I am not in love with cardio!”
It is good to be rational in all circumstances but is it easy to forget that there are girls who are vying for the same place as her, who would religiously hit the gym and make many more efforts to ensure their place in the industry is secured? She might not have had to act like a fanatic but the fact remains that her competitors are fiercely guarding their terrain whilst watching hers with hawk-eyes. “I cannot refute what you say, it is true… I have seen it happen in front of my eyes. There are times when I am sitting with my directors or producers and they have received calls from certain actresses who openly slash their rates and ask to be considered. It happens all the time, and I am certain it is not restricted to the film industry. But, like I said earlier, no matter how many phone calls how many directors get, the role will go to only the one who is destined for it. It is a fact. I cannot get myself to make that call, and I never will. I enjoy being an actress but it is also a fact that my house doesn’t run on my money. I don’t have to save enough to buy a house. I don’t have to know if I have enough films to sustain in this industry. Maybe my lack of desperation has me treating my profession differently from the others…” She shrugged off the situation, but said nothing about what she intends to do to tilt the scales… “Absolutely nothing intentionally planned!” she vouches. “I am fairly ambitious, I love my job, I am willing to work hard, very hard. If all this is not enough to ensure I keep up the good work, there is nothing more I am willing to do!”
This article first appeared in December 2013 issue of Cine Blitz magazine