After going MIA last year, Kriti Sanon is all set for a queen-sized ’17

By Karishma Upadhyay
  • Published 6.01.17

With no release, 2016 was a quiet year for her but that doesn’t mean Kriti Sanon — who has starred in Heropanti and Dilwale — didn’t have her hands full. The actress is hoping 2017 will help her make a mark in Bollywood, with two films — Raabta with Sushant Singh Rajput and Bareilly Ki Barfi with Ayushmann Khurrana and Rajkummar Rao, both up for release in summer. 

t2 met the leggy Delhi girl at the busy coffee shop in Taj Lands End, Mumbai. Over coffee and cookies, Kriti chatted about her films, all the rumours about a romance with Sushant, and that infamous Rs 2,000 note dress! 

What was 2016 like for you?
It’s been all about preparation and shooting two films which are very close to my heart. Both the films are very unique and excited me on the script level. Dilwale (with Shah Rukh Khan-Kajol-Varun Dhawan) was a fabulous experience for me because I learnt so much from the amazing actors I got to work with. But as a performer, I didn’t get to explore too much in that film. I played a very simple girl from Goa. 

I wanted to do something meatier. And then Raabta came my way. Dinoo (Dinesh Vijan, the director) randomly narrated the story to me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for the next two days. When I told him I was interested in this script, he called me to his office. Sushant was also there. Dinoo gave us a scene to do. In the third attempt something happened on that couch... Sushant and I just connected. There was a spark…

Did Sushant and you know each other at all before that meeting?
Nope…we had never met or interacted in any way.

Raabta required some amount of prep from you... 
Ya. We needed to know how to swim because we have underwater scenes in the film. We had to learn how to use scuba masks. I also learnt a little bit of horse riding and weapons training. This was all quite new for me. The whole journey of the film has been very exciting and fun. 

And then you shot for Bareilly Ki Barfi which seems to be diametrically opposite to Raabta... 
It is! Raabta is contemporary — it’s set in Budapest. Bareilly is a small-town story. We shot in Lucknow and Bareilly. We shot the film in 45 days and I only have three songs left for them. This is the fastest I have shot a film. Ayushmann Khurrana and Rajkummar Rao are both amazing actors. They are really strong with their craft. There was a lot of improvisation on set that helped me hone my craft. 

Would it be fair to say that last year you explored acting in a way that you hadn’t in your first two films? 
Yes. In my first film (Heropanti, opposite Tiger Shroff), I was just getting to know the technicalities of filmmaking.
Considering I hadn’t thought of being an actor or taken acting lessons, I performed to the best of my abilities. I was very raw. With Raabta and Bareilly..., I was trying to figure out my process. I now know that I am a spontaneous actor rather than a method actor. I can’t go back to my emotional memory and find an experience to correspond with the scene I have to do. 

Working with Dinoo really helped me because he would push me to explore different ways of doing a scene. He wouldn’t let me take the safer or easier option. Now I understand the joy of breathing life into a

Sushant is someone who likes to prepare…
…a lot! Oh ya! (Giggles) He makes notes and flowcharts and watches a hundred videos… that can really scare you! But that also kept me on my toes and pushed me to try harder. We had different ways of preparing, but finally when we were facing the camera together it all fell into place. 

There’s been so much chatter about you and Sushant. This is also your first filmi link-up. Has it been easy to deal with?
It took me completely by surprise initially, but there was a point when I thought that the rumours had crossed a line. That’s when I clarified on Twitter that we aren’t seeing each other. In hindsight, maybe I shouldn’t have bothered because it didn’t put an end to the rumours. Now, I just laugh at the rumours. 

I have realised that more than a celebrity, it’s his or her family that needs to get used to the rumours and negative stories. I come from a non-filmi family and everything in Bollywood is really new for my family. Even if there’s a story about me doing a film, my mom will call from Delhi asking if I have signed something without telling her. These rumours affect me only when it affects them. Mom’s become quite chilled about these rumours with Sushant. I remember I was having tea with my sister when she read about me holidaying with Sushant in Thailand! Both of us couldn’t stop laughing. 

Has your equation with Sushant been affected? 
No. It’s been the same. We’ve both laughed together at the rumours. 

I am sure you also laughed at that picture of you wearing that Rs 2,000 note dress!
Oh god! I can’t believe that photo went viral. It was the most bizarre thing that’s ever happened to me. How could people even believe that it’s real? I am not insane to wear a dress with money on it. Also, have people seen the queues at ATMs?!

Finally, 2016 was also the year when you had to opt out of Farhan Akhtar’s Lucknow Central...
Yes... I had no choice. That film was supposed to start by October and I was to finish work in December. I had allocated dates accordingly. Unfortunately, the film got pushed to January (Mirzya actress Saiyami Kher has now replaced Kriti) and I couldn’t change my dates.