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Adah Sharma: ‘I am the lead actress of the highest-grossing female film of all time’

Adah Sharma features in Sunflower Season 2, which is streaming on ZEE5

Sameer Salunkhe Calcutta Published 18.04.24, 04:18 PM
Adah Sharma

Adah Sharma

In conversation at a Mumbai restaurant, The Kerala Story actress Adah talked to us about her latest release Sunflower Season 2 on ZEE5, the success she has tasted and the way she lives her life.

Recently, you had three releases back to back. Bastar — The Naxal Story in cinemas, and The Kerala Story and Sunflower Season 2 on OTT. For how long have you been waiting to be in this position?

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Adah Sharma: I think I’ve been waiting for it since 1920 (her debut film). So, I would say it’s been 104 years [chuckles] that I’ve been waiting for this, and finally that day has come. It’s a dream for any actor… three releases in a month and such varied roles.

Did you enjoy doing a comedy like Sunflower Season 2 after multiple intense projects?

Adah Sharma: I totally did. I enjoy fiction and reality equally. In Sunflower, it was a very different role. I have not played anything like that before. She’s crazy, she’s quirky. It’s a very dark, creepy space. It’s not just a light comedy. It was fun being a creepy person.

How did you make Rosie Mehta from Sunflower Season 2 fun to play? Because this character could have easily become stereotypical.

Adah Sharma: I think it’s also how it’s written. Vikas Bahl and Chaitally Parmar wrote this character in such a way that she is fun even when she’s planning murder, scooping out someone’s eyeballs, or robbing someone. She’s doing it very casually. I really enjoyed that. They also told me to do it very casually and be very genuine about it. If you’re flirting with someone, don’t be overly flirtatious. Rosie flirts with everyone, from the watchman to the bar owner. She’s a bar dancer. She’s extremely charming, but even the flirting is not done in the typical way. She’ll say things and go and you’ll be like, did she mean it or was she just lying?

You’ve played quite a few wacky characters in short films, such as Tinday and Chuha Billi. Does playing these characters come naturally to you?

Adah Sharma: Yeah, I really enjoy them. Chuha Billi was so dark, scary and creepy. It’s so different from what I am or I would like to believe what I am in real life. But we all have some darkness in us, I guess. Maybe in real life, I don’t unleash that. When I get such characters to play, I unleash that darkness.

But you haven’t got many such characters in feature films. Why?

Adah Sharma: I think it was because of not knowing people and not knowing how to get a role. I still don’t have answers to that. How does one get a role when they are not from the film industry? I don’t know. I think it’s divine intervention, and I still live with this thought. But I’m fortunate too. I am the lead actress of the highest-grossing female film of all time. I have no idea how that happened. It’s just divine intervention. Luck shined on me.

Did the film industry people’s perception of you change after the box office success of The Kerala Story?

Adah Sharma: Definitely. A lot of well-known people called me and appreciated my work. The thing is, I was not in touch with anyone from the industry. I am not a very social person. I don’t really hang out with too many people. But a lot of well-known people did reach out to me and congratulated me and said very nice things about my performance. That felt really nice.

Has that praise turned into them offering you roles?

Adah Sharma: Immediately after The Kerala Story, people told me that now I’d get stuck in those serious kind of roles. But after The Kerala Story, I did Sunflower, which is a whole 360-degree turn. Then people said, now you should only do comedy. And then after that, I did Bastar. I’m trying to do as many different films as I can. Hopefully, I can do many different roles and entertain people in my life.

You come across as unassuming and your social media presence is also unlike anyone else’s. How do you remain yourself in an industry where it is easy to get carried away?

Adah Sharma: For me, it’s the easiest thing to do because my nature is just being myself. My mind is under my control. It doesn’t really get swayed. I have devoted a large part of my life to training my mind to be strong and to be me. You play different characters but you can’t let that go to your head. Being myself comes naturally to me. I don’t have to work on it.

How do you train your mind?

Adah Sharma: I have always been taught how to focus. When I did Bastar, I did candle-gazing for hours in a day. I would just sit and stare at the candle. That’s how you learn to focus. If I’m playing the piano, then in that one hour, I will only play the piano. I don’t do anything else. If I’m learning a piece on the piano, sometimes hours go by and I go without food and water, but I’m just so focused on what I’m doing. So, my mind is quite good that way. It’s my friend and it’s under my control.

Do you think your potential as an actor has been utilised well so far?

Adah Sharma: After The Kerala Story and Sunflower, I should not crib, to be honest. And then Bastar came along. So, no complaints. But I joined the industry thinking I would dance. I’m a graduate in Kathak. I assumed that I would do a dance movie. I would still love to do that. I think my potential is slowly being used. People are getting a chance to see the stuff that I can do, and I hope filmmakers will trust me with varied roles.

I’m trying not to repeat the roles because that is my journey. I don’t compete with what someone else is doing. As you can see, my career started with horror. But I think you should never feel like everyone has used your potential up because then you have nothing more to give.

While doing The Kerala Story or Bastar: The Naxal Story, were you worried about how you would be perceived as these subjects were controversial?

Adah Sharma: No, because my dad is from the Navy and he told me that if you ever get the opportunity to do something for someone, take it. I felt like with The Kerala Story, we got to be the voice for so many voiceless girls. With Bastar, we got to tell a story that was kept hidden. I feel like when you get such an opportunity, you should not think about yourself. Not things like, oh, I’m so scared. Also, my dad used to tell me, if you are telling the truth, never be scared.

You spend a lot of time on different activities, including the martial arts form Silambam. How do you preserve your energy for acting?

Adah Sharma: I like to devote my energy to different things. My life is not just movies. You will be seeing a lot more elephant videos soon because I am doing something with Wildlife SOS for elephants. I’ve joined this animal hospital called Talpa, Tree of Life for Animals in Ajmer. I like to share what I do in my daily life.

There will be glamorous photoshoots and movies as well. I don’t think of a front or back seat. When I’m doing something, that takes the front seat, whatever it may be. If I am learning a new piece on the flute, then that takes the front seat. If I am talking to the birds who are outside my window, then that takes the front seat for me. That’s just how I live.

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