The Tevar actress gets candid about work, love and life in general
Sonakshi Sinha is the kind of girl you will feel comfortable enough to walk upto in a room full of strangers and chat. She has that nice girl vibe about her. But she can be naughty just as easily. She is known to take on bullies and flash her middle finger at someone who bugs her. At some point during the interview, when I bring up the linkups with Arjun Kapoor, she drags me to her window and points out to his window.
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And we have a laugh about his favourite green shirts hung to dry in the balcony. Sonakshi won’t stop going out with him just because it will fan the rumours further. She doesn’t care. Like she doesn’t care anymore about what everyone says about her weight or her fashion sense. And that is refreshing. Read on as she talks about her learnings in the last four years, why she will also choose to act in a hit film rather than a ‘good’ film and why she is happy in her skin.
Two more releases round the corner, what’s your state of mind.
I am gearing up actually because now is the calm before the storm. I am lazing at home in my pyjamas and stuff. I am just chilling because I know once my promotions start, it will be all back to back. I start with Action Jackson and between that is Lingaa (with Rajinikanth), on December 12. Action Jackson is on November 5, and Tevar is on January 9. So, I will be promoting my films back-to-back. This is the first time that I am actually not shooting anything and I have just kept that chunk of dates for promotions.
You don’t seem stressed at all.
I am actually quite excited. I have never had this long a gap between two releases. My last film was Holiday.
That’s not a long gap!
(Smiles) Yeah, but for me, it’s long. After every two months, a new film’s work starts and now it will start back-to- back. I get very excited before my films because I love seeing ki kya kiya hai, kya bana hai. I want to know how it’s turned out to be.
And once you see it, no worries?
I am actually never worried, what has to happen will happen, it’s not in my hands, there is no point worrying about it.
Yes, all actors know that, but still go through Friday Fear.
I am not one of them, you ask anybody that I have worked with also, they know I have this attitude. Whatever has to happen will happen, so what’s the point stressing? If you see, that’s the story of my life. I had not intended to become and actor, what had to happen, happened. So now there is no point sitting and worrying about things that are beyond my control.
That’s quite a practical approach.
Yeah, it is, and I think and that’s how it should be, especially in this business, because it’s so unpredictable, you never know what works and what doesn’t work.
True, a great film might not work at the box-office but an average film will do amazing business.
And now, it has actually become more about how you market it and pitch it to the audiences, so everything depends on that.
The Action Jackson trailer reminds one of some Prabhudheva film, some Salman film and some South remake that hits the screen every few months. Agree?
I think Prabhudheva is one director with a very distinct style of his own and which he has not moved away from. But he has an audience that likes those kind of films, so I think it’s unfair to like just say that they all look the same.
But his brand of cinema has been replicated by everyone else…
By everyone else, but he is the pioneer of that and it’s unfair for him that because everybody else is doing it, he should not do what he started.
Agreed. But the last few films in that genre haven’t really worked and audiences seem a little tired of it.
I guess everything has a time of its own, a phase, but the thing with Prabhu sir’s films is that it does have that very distinct quality, but it also has a story behind it. It’s very entertaining.
Is it difficult to interact with him because he doesn’t speak Hindi?
It’s easy to interact with him. He is somebody who knows exactly what he wants. He explains himself very well. He is the kind of director who makes the actor’s life so easy, he enacts everybody’s part. He will enact what he wants the actor to do, he’ll enact even what a character in a film has to do. So you’re set, he is like a one-man army.
Tevar and Action Jackson, both seem to be in the same space, are they?
Not at all. Tevar is a commercial film it’s a young love story, it’s about these two people who are on the run and the director (Amit Sharma), it’s his first film but oh my God! He is on my Best Directors list already because he is so amazing. I mean he is the most difficult person I have ever worked with, in terms of, he is a perfectionist, in what he expects from you. The locations that he has taken us to, he has taken us to the back and beyond.
He is from the advertising world.
Yeah, he is an ad guy. He made the Google ad. He has taken us to the most difficult areas to shoot in, if he wants a scene like this, he will want it exactly like that. At the time of shooting I used to think, ‘My God, this man is crazy,’ but then it’s all worth it. Once he showed me the rushes, I was blown. away He reminded me a lot of Vikramaditya Motwane in terms of what they extract out of their actors. These are the guys who really push your limits.
Are you a director’s actress?
Absolutely, whether you make me work with Vikramaditya Motwane or Amit Sharma or Prabhudheva, I will do what they tell me to do. I just want to understand their vision, I want to understand the scene what they have written because at the end of the day it is what they visualise. Then I’ll meet them somewhere in the middle with what I want to do with it or what they want me to do with it. It’s something that we mutually agree on.
After these three releases, are you planning a much-deserved break?
Yes, I have really worked like a dog in the last four years. It’s not that I need to, I want to. I am enjoying it, I love it. So, yeah I just kept on working and before you know it, I have done some 12 films. It’s been a great journey. Every single film that I have done I have enjoyed myself, which is most important irrespective of the fate of the film.
What have you learnt in the industry?
A. Don’t take it too seriously, it’s very important not to take yourself seriously in a place like this where everybody is constantly judging you. The first thing they want to do is pinpoint your mistakes. Or praise you, for the heck of it, just to be in your good books, so it’s very important not to take the good and the bad seriously.
B. Don’t bring work home. Work is work and I have my people who I meet at work, friends and a whole separate life. That’s how I like it. That’s how I guess you maintain a balance. It’s very important to have a separate world.
C. Don’t let stardom go to your head. My family has not treated me any differently after I became an actor which I really appreciate, I think keeping your head on your shoulders is very important. If the people who are closest to you start acting like WOW, then my head will go somewhere else only. What else have I learnt….
You sound too wise for your age. Is that something that happened after you came into the industry?
When I came, I was very unsure. I was like: Achcha theek hai, try karte hain, agar film chal gayi, to chal gayi, if people like me, they like me. If they don’t, it’s okay, otherwise I’ll do something else. I didn’t even know what my next step was going to be after Dabangg. I had no Plan B, I had no plan only in life. I learnt everything while working.
Every industry kid at some point wants to be an actor, you never wanted to be?
I wanted to be everything but an actor. An astronaut, a tennis player, a bio technologist, all this nonsense without realising that my mathematics is so bad. The science college would look at me, and say ‘Please go somewhere else.’ Then I got into fashion designing. I sketched well so I said, ‘Fine, why not try and hone this talent of mine’ and I was really enjoying it and doing really well in college. I never really thought of it and I had put on so much of weight. I mean I was always a big child but during college, I put on even more weight. I used to eat Schezwan noodles for lunch every day without fail.
How do you stay so detached?
I guess there is a certain sense of attachment but that also depends on how important a part of your life it has been. I mean for a person whose dream it has been since a child to grow up to be an actress, she will obviously be more attached to it than anybody else. Someone like me who has not had that and has grown up in the middle of it, who has seen it growing up, that fascination is not there. Today if I want to, without batting an eyelid, I will leave the industry. Honestly, I don’t care. I am enjoying my work, I like what I do right now. If I found something better tomorrow, I would leave acting. I am a Gemini. I will do anything, I am crazy.
But doesn’t that get mistaken as being laidback or uninterested?
It could but I know in my heart, it’s not that, so it’s okay.
You don’t care?
I stopped caring beyond a point. Earlier, it used to affect me because I was young, obviously. In fact, at 21, I started working, and at 23, my film released. Obviously, you are influenced by what people are talking about you and all that, but somewhere down the line, you learn that they will not stop no matter what you do. So you get wise.
True, but that learning comes to people very late in life.
Aa gaya to aacha hai. I think I am like my dad in terms of being and the way I think. Habits are not like him. (Grins) I am very punctual. Nowadays, nobody has the patience for unprofessionalism. In dad’s time, everyone would work at their own pace, but now things are very streamlined.
Okay, rumour has it that you want to rap. True?
I would love to. But where?
I don’t know. Considering singing? Given that it’s the new thing.
I sang a verse in Tevar. Yeah, Imran Khan made me sing. We did the song called Let’s celebrate in Tevar and he came down and he said that there is one part the girl has to sing and he and I were planning who would. He said, ‘You’. I said, ‘What? I am not trained. At best, I am a bathroom singer. I don’t think I am that good to do it professionally but decently.
You recently ‘showed’ your middle finger to someone who dissed your fashion sense.
That was for one superb pair of dungarees that I bought from Diesel. I wore it and they said some rubbish like ‘It looks so bad’. Who are this fashion police who I must consult every time I step out from my house?
How seriously do you take fashion or what you wear?
Earlier, I used to not be so conscious, even though I came from a fashion school and all, I am a very jhalla person by nature. Like I prefer to wear loose, comfortable clothes. Comfort is of utmost importance to me. Somewhere down the line, I felt like there are people who look up to you.
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There are young girls who do emulate what you wear. So I said fine, I need to step it up a bit. So I did start doing that, but not to an extent where I go out only in designer brands. That’s not the kind of impression I want to give to the youngsters. Everybody doesn’t have that kind of money to spend. So now, I just take care of what I wear, but again, I have to be comfortable in it. If I am not comfortable, I won’t wear it.
Most actresses were doing female-oriented roles. Don’t you miss doing a film that revolves around you than just playing the heroine?
But I am the heroine! I don’t want to do a female-oriented script just because everybody else is doing it. That’s not a nice reason to take up something. I am doing the kind of films that I like to watch as an audience, and I think the box-office numbers will verify that fact, so yeah, it’s fun.
Are you as happy doing an Action Jackson as you are doing a Lootera?
See, when I was doing Dabangg, Rowdy Rathore and Son Of Sardaar, somewhere in the middle, came a Lootera, which struck a chord, so I said, ‘Yes I’ll do it.’ I really wanted to do it. So, unless something like that really happens, I don’t want to do it simply because people are pressurising me.
But as an actor you are as happy doing this?
I am as happy doing commercial films because I love the singing and the dancing. Honestly, box-office numbers do matter, as the films reach out to a lot more people, and you entertain a lot more people.
Okay you have dates for this one film and you have two choices — a sureshot hit but a formula film, or different but a very risky film.
I will do a sureshot hit without blinking over a risky but different film.
You are very clear…
Yes, but that’s the kind of cinema I enjoy it. I saw Happy New Year, and I laughed my guts out. I really enjoyed it. Before that, I liked Haider, I thought it was very well made and great performances. In the recent past, these are the two films.
Who would you call your friend in the industry?
Most of the people that I have worked with. And I have worked more than once with most heroes. So over a period of time, you can call them friends. But it’s not like I’ll pick up the phone everyday and talk to them. If I need to, they will always be there for me. I would call Salman a friend, Akshay, Arjun and Prabhu sir and everybody I have worked with, even Ajay for that matter. I know that he will have my back.
You have been linked with almost every actor you have worked with.
Actually, I haven’t.
Salman, Akshay, Shahid and now Arjun. Have you wondered why?
Maybe because people need something to talk and write about. But the truth is, I have a great equation with all these guys that way, it’s not like… You have seen me with most of them…
Yes, I have and I didn’t notice any sparks.
I am there to work, so I’ll work. I want it to be a happy atmosphere to work in, so you be good with everyone.
Okay, the Arjun rumours haven’t stopped you from being seen with or his sister. Have you reached a point where you don’t care?
(Pointing to a window) Open that window. Arjun’s house is right there. How difficult is it to say, ‘Hi neighbour, we are going for a movie. Let’s go?’. I mean you know it’s as simple as that. How much can you think of these things that, ‘Oh we will be clicked together and all.’ It’s like, ‘Come from this lane, pick me up’ and we go to PVR, it’s as easy as that. Why should I change that?
Given that you are friends with them all, do you have a favourite co-star?
I have. I really enjoy working with Akshay, with Shahid in R Rajkumar and with Arjun in Tevar.
Who is closest to your personality?
Closest to my personality… Akshay Kumar. You know how many people have called me the female Akshay Kumar not only in terms of the work, but even the kind of work I do, the amount of work I do. And I agree and it’s very weird. I was shooting for R Rajkumar in Bangkok, Akshay was there shooting Boss. Twinkle, Akshay and I were all leaving together from there and Tina was telling Akshay, ‘How can you wear a Pathani and leave the airport? Who steps out like that?’ and I walked in with this dhoti pant, wearing a loose top. She looks at me and shakes her head and says, ‘There is no point in saying anything.’
Okay, weighty issues. You started out explaining yourself and you have reached a point where you are defiant, right?
I am not defiant, this is who I am. It’s been four years, and yes now, I don’t give a damn. My audience accepts me as I am. If my weight was really an issue, I wouldn’t have been where I am today. People would not want to watch me on screen, they would not pay money for the tickets, as simple as that. And anyway who has an issue? Not the directors who are signing me, not the producers who are putting their money on me, not the audience, so who?
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What do the next five years look like to you?
I don’t know about day after tomorrow, what will I know about the next five years. No plans, my life is unplanned, that’s the beauty of it. I like being surprised by the next day. I like what life throws at me.
What about love? Missing being in a relationship?
I am in a good space right now and I always think these are things that you can’t really force. When it has to happen, it will happen. These are the kind of things when you try and want them, they will never come to you. The minute you stop thinking, that’s when it happens.
What is your kind of an ideal guy?
I do have a certain mould. He must be tall for sure. Very hard to find tall boys. He has to be intelligent. He should be able to hold a conversation with me, I think that is very attractive. The main and the biggest thing ever is that he has to make me laugh. I love to laugh. He has to have a great sense of humour and he has to just keep on making me laugh.