Sonakshi Sinha at the Bullet Raja shoot off the EM Bypass on Monday. Picture: Anindya Shankar Ray
She’s got a smile to light up the dullest day. Dressed in a colourful salwar kurta, Sonakshi Sinha was digging into a platter of fruit at the Bullet Raja shoot in Lahabari on Saturday, even as she kept an eye on the monitor watching co-star Saif Ali Khan in action. “I am quite a foodie. I don’t diet, though I do work out religiously,” smiled the ‘Bullet Rani’.
After Lootera, you’re back in Calcutta with Bullet Raja. How has it been?
Compared to Lootera (co-starring Ranveer Singh and directed by Vikramaditya Motwane) which was predominantly shot outside (in Purulia), I have enjoyed myself more this time because I have been in the city. So, I am getting to see a lot more. This house is so beautiful… such an old-world charm. Overall, shooting for Bullet Raja has been a good experience.
You played a Bengali girl in Lootera and now you are playing one in Bullet Raja. What’s the difference between the two roles?
The big difference, of course, is that in Lootera I play a girl from the 1950s, while the character in Bullet Raja is rooted in the present. My character in Lootera is a little more mature…. The characterisation as well as the treatment of both these roles is very different. While that is a traditional ’50s Bengal zamindar’s daughter, this is a modern-day Bengali girl who wants to be an actress. It’s a very feisty role, I feel. This girl goes to Bombay to become an actress… it doesn’t work for her, but she falls in love with this gangster and even gets him home to Calcutta (smiles). That’s what we have been shooting here… he (Saif’s character) meeting my parents and me showing him around the city. That whole aspect is very, very interesting.
How has it been being directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia?
He’s made so many critically-acclaimed films and for him to choose me was a real high. Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster was one film of his that I really, really liked. When he narrated this subject to me, I found it very interesting. Also, I was really looking forward to working with him because he knows how to get good performances out of his actors.
You are paired with Saif for the first time…
It’s been so far, so good! We’ve just started shooting a song today. But I can tell you that he’s very professional… and very funny (laughs). He’s got a great sense of humour and is always full of good stories. It’s nice to talk to him, although I never really knew him before… it was on the sets of Bullet Raja that I met him for the first time!
|Sonakshi with Saif at Dalhousie on Sunday.
Picture: Anindya Shankar Ray
Don’t you find it necessary to break the ice beforehand with a co-star you haven’t met before?
I don’t know… I’ve never really done it. But I have always formed a very good working rapport with all those I have worked with, even if I have met them only on set. I think the more days you work together, the more familiar you get and the equation grows. That’s what has worked for me till now.
2012 was clearly your year with three 100-crore films in Rowdy Rathore, Son of Sardaar and Dabangg 2…
Luckily, I have chosen good films that have done well at the box office. More than the box office, to be honest, I am happy that I had an amazing time shooting for all these films. I need to enjoy my work because that’s what keeps me engaged… interested.
When a script comes to me, I never think in terms of ‘Achha, kya yeh sau crore ki film banegi?’; I always think of what the role will add to my career and whether I will enjoy working in the film… whether I will be proud of my work in it. I do a film because I like its premise and possibly because I want to work with a certain director or co-star… not because of what it will collect at the box office.
Despite your box-office success, you have been criticised for not taking up more challenging roles. Does that upset you?
It would if work stopped coming my way… and that hasn’t happened (smiles). So, I just concentrate on the positives around and block out the negative. Obviously more challenging roles… women-centric roles are something that I will eventually do, depending on what I am offered. But you have to keep in mind that all these girls who are doing these kind of films have been around much longer… seven, eight, nine years. I have been in films for only two-and-a-half years. I have enough time (smiles).
What have you learnt from working with Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn?
I have learnt that nothing pays like hard work and the importance of always keeping your head firmly on your shoulders. All the senior heroes I have worked with are immensely talented and have been around for so many decades. Such longevity in your career doesn’t come if you are not disciplined and not consistently hard-working.
I’ve also now worked with Ranveer Singh in Lootera and with Imran Khan in Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai Again and I will be working with Shahid (Kapoor) in Prabhudeva’s new film (Rambo Rajkumar).
|Sonakshi with Tigmanshu Dhulia at Lahabari
on Saturday. Picture: Bhubaneswarananda Halder
There’s a lot of interest over Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai Again…
It’s a franchise and the first film was appreciated… so that’s great. It’s a love triangle (with Akshay-Sonakshi-Imran) that I found very interesting. It’s shaping up really well and I am very excited about it. That’s again a character I feel is very different from what I have done so far.
Do your parents advise you on every film?
Oh always, always. My parents (Shatrughan and Poonam Sinha) have a wealth of experience in the industry and it’s only right and smart on my part to take their advice.
What’s the best piece of advice that your dad has given you?
Just to be myself… to be true to what I am and keep my head on my shoulders.
And has that worked for you?
Oh, absolutely! In every way… whether it is my nature or the way I look (smiles). There’s no other way I can be… this is how Sonakshi is and will always be.
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