What was your first reaction on learning that you needed to cut your hair for Karthik Calling Karthik?
Initially, I was nervous. I wasnt very sure whether I wanted to cut my hair because I have always had long hair. I have always been associated with this simple girl next door. So, I did not know how this short hair would suit me. But I think it is the best decision that I ever made because on screen it looks great. I feel much better now.
What amount of convincing did it take to make you say yes?
Ah…it did take a lot of talking and convincing. After that we put on a wig to see how it would look. Thats when I was convinced that if I did cut my hair, it would suit me. Then we finally went on to cutting my hair.
Did you turn to anyone for advice?
Yeah, Mickey Contractor. He has done my make-up in the film. I have known Mickey ever since I have been a part of the industry. He knows my personality, the kind of face I have and my body type. So he had certain suggestions. Like I have a long neck, so the hair should not be too short.
Apart from that, I also trust Adhuna completely. I knew she would do it.
How did Adhuna Akhtar, the stylist, help?
She was very sweet. She got a wig first and cut it and then showed me how my hair would look.
Even through the process of cutting my hair, she was doing it as if she was doing a surgery. You know how they explain every step to you in a surgery…she made me very comfortable. She guided me through the whole thing.
Did the director (Vijay Lalwani) have a certain look in mind for the character? What is she like?
Sometimes there are certain characteristics that suit a person or their personality.
So, when I heard the narration, I pictured Sonali with short hair. I could not have imagined her with long hair. She is confident, ambitious, independent and focused. She speaks her mind. She is spontaneous.
After this, will you be open to more such experiments?
I already have short hair. I dont know how much more I can experiment!
Who has styled you? What is your overall look in the film?
Niharika Khan has styled me. The look is very simple. The focus in the film is not the clothes. Although we have paid a lot of attention to what I am wearing, it is not the kind of film where one would come out and say, Wow! I love what she is wearing! If that happens, then somewhere we have gone wrong. It is not about the clothes and the make-up. It is about the performance. In a lot of the scenes, I showed up on the sets in the morning and my director would say, I like what you are wearing today. Lets shoot in this.
Tell us about Karthik Calling Karthik…
It is a romantic thriller. It is about a boy called Karthik and how he goes about his daily life doing a regular nine-to-five job. Suddenly, he receives a phone call from someone who also claims to be Karthik. That one phone call changes his life.
Is it one of your most challenging roles so far?
In a way, yes. Sonali, in a lot of ways, is very unlike me. In the trailers, she is the one who always makes the first move and is more confident than the boy. In that respect I am very different from Sonali. I had to let go of a lot of my inhibitions.
What is Farhan Akhtar the co-star like?
It was a great learning experience. Bahut kuch seekhne ko mila. It was fun. He is a lot of fun on set. He is constantly cracking jokes and making people laugh.
Tell us something we dont know about Farhan…
That he is extremely athletic!
Are you tired of answering questions about your personal life?
I dont feel irritated. Its just that I have reached a point in my career where my work should do the talking.
Whats next on the film front?
I have finished working on Housefull, a comedy directed by Sajid Khan. That will release in April. Then I have finished shooting for Ashutosh Gowarikers Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey. I play a Bengali girl, Kolpona Dutta. See, I spelt it also like a Bengali, Kolpona! It is about the Chittagong uprising. I am styled like a Bengali, but not like the glamorous Bengalis usually portrayed in our films. Its a very real Bengali look with a cotton khadi saris and three-fourth sleeve blouses. I am glad that I got the opportunity to work with someone like Ashutosh. I always wanted to do a period film. Who better to do a period film with than Ashutosh? It is a period thriller with Abhishek (Bachchan). That will come out in August. Now, I start shooting for Pradeep Sarkars next. It is a Yash Raj film and it is a love story. I am opposite Neil (Nitin Mukesh). Then I have a film called Break Ke Baad. Thats opposite Imran (Khan). Thats again a love story.