One of the qualities that has always separated actress Sonakshi Sinha from the rest of the showbiz girls is confidence, a certain comfortable-in-my-skin/size kind of ease, if you will. It was evident since her debut film Dabangg, and continues to be among her admired qualities. With more than 12 films (released and unreleased) in her four-year career, most of them stamped with that coveted tag of hit, the young actress who just turned 27 with her diligence and discipline, is in a good space.
Among other prestigious assignments, she has bagged are a film opposite Rajinikanth and Ashutosh Gowarikers period love story, Mohenjo- Daro with Hrithik Roshan. Even detractors who once called her a one-note actor were impressed by her bravura performance as a tuberculosis and asthma afflicted zamindars daughter in Vikramaditya Motwanes period drama, Lootera.
We meet soon after the release of her film Holiday A Soldier is Never Off Duty with Akshay Kumar and Sinha, no stranger to a mixed verdictthe box-office tally suggested a hit, but the reviews had not been particularly flatteringwas her unflappable self. In the midst of shooting for a hair oil brand, she cheerfully conversed about life in the film industry and why she would not exchange it for anything else in the world.
Sonakshi, a lot of actresses say that they never pitch themselves for a role while others refuse to wait for the phone to ring; whats your approach Do you read scripts yourself or do you go with someone elses judgment
* People know who I am, what I am capable of, what I am all about and if they feel I suit a role, they approach me directly. I read the script, go through it and try to understand if its a character that I suit, whether I am capable of doing it. I need to feel very instinctively about it. I need to laugh, cry, react to it at a script level.
You have paired with several action heroesAjay Devgn, Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, but have played a passive bystander for most part, so will that change Would you sign up for an action film
* I have been a part of so many action films I have done the bike stunt in Son Of Sardar, done a bit of action here and there but yes, I would like to do an-out- and- out action film, because I feel I have the build for it. I have the strength and capacity to do it. I think I will be kick-ass.
Who are the action heroines that you like
* Angelina Jolie of course! She is something else. Then there is Rosario Dawson who is actually not that popular but she is a killer. She has a mean badass look about her and I think she is quite cool as an action heroine.
Having been part of a few 100 crore films yourself, would you agree that actresses contribute equally to the success of such films
* Yes, everybody likes to see a couple on-screen, a romantic angle in the film. Even a film like Holiday... which is about such a grim subject like battling terrorists, brings in the comic relief with lighter moments within the story. I think the director blended it very well with the intensity of the entire subject. Everybody has a part to play and if its a pair that you enjoy watching on screen we are used to seeing song and dance, romance on screen then it does draw the audience.
Considering you have worked with A.R.Murugadoss, Prabhu Dheva and now K.S. Ravikumar, is there any particular style that you would associate with directors of South Indian films
* You cant differentiate as such, but since I have worked with Prabhu Dheva and Murugadoss, I think they know exactly what they want so their approach is not flexible. If they want you to shoot a scene in a particular way, you do it that way. Dont improvise or add on stuff because they know exactly what works in their films. So you do it without complaining because they can best judge what works for them. And of course, they are super quick.
Since it is important for a heroine to look glamorous, do you closely monitor the look that is created for you for any particular film
* I have started taking more interest in the glamour side of it, but thats not newI have always given my inputs because nobody can understand your body type better than yourselfyour structure, what you are comfortable with, or not... what will look good on you, or what wont because you have tried it all. I sit with the designers and we discuss these aspects, and then they go ahead with their work. Everybody is assigned a particular job and for most part I prefer to let them do their work.
Over the years have you become more involved with the whole process of film-makingcostumes, scriptwriting etc
* Writing doesnt draw me. I cant imagine sitting and writing 100 pages of stuff, that inclination is just not there. I dont understand anything other than acting.
I dont do anything differently, but I am more aware. Whatever I have learnt, which is the basic stuff as an actor, I have learnt on the job. I was thrown into the deep end of the pool and learnt how to swim on my own.
Creatively, outside of acting I could be involved in the production house that my brothers are setting up. I have a flair for art, so I could be creatively involved in that capacity, but thats all.
Where does this innate confidence come from Were your growing years spent on the sets
* I used to hate going on the sets because as a spectator, you have nothing to do. I would fall asleep and my dad would send me home. I have grown up barely watching movies. I was more interested in sports and school activities kept me busy.
Given that everyone in the family is an actor (except Kush), whats a regular dinner conversation at the Sinha home like
* We dont really discuss films except when dad watches a film of mine and we talk about it. Its very random. We dont discuss cinema as such.
Which are the films that your parents have liked or disliked
* My dad loved Lootera, Dabangg, Dabangg 2actually he likes everything I do. My mum, yeah, she is my biggest critic from looking bad in a scene or something I could have done better, or a film I should not have done altogether, my mum is always looking out for me.
She still tells me Dabangg was my best, but she likes Lootera, Rowdy Rathore, R...Rajkumar and Son of Sardar as well.
How did Luv and Kush react to you constantly being daddys blue-eyed girl
* Now toh they are fed up, but while growing up, they would hit me, because I would get more attention being the only girl (laughs).
After Ajay Devgn, Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, Imran Khan, Ranvir Singh and Shahid Kapoor, who are the actors you would like to work with
* I would like to work with my generationVarun, Siddharth, Ranbir and Hrithik.
Being an actor obviously means that you will be picked on, but what is the upside
* The audience accepted me, but I got picked on a lot, because of the way I look, because of my size which is fine. But the best part is because of the films I have done, the reach I have had is phenomenal. My fans, because of a certain kind of interaction that I have had, have always stuck by me. (the actress had fans in Peru celebrate her birthday with a photo of her and a cake)!
It is also the effect you have on somebodys life. Young girls come and tell me, you are a role model to us. You taught us that its okay not to be a size zero and how to not succumb to pressures around you, That one can reach out to so many people through ones films, to me, thats the best part.
You are such a fun youngster so how did you get tagged as boring copy And then there was something about an actress saying, you would make a wonderful housewife...
* I am careful with my words because a lot of words get thrown back at you. And then again, for such comments, which successful person doesnt get this kind of flak So its a sign that I am doing well. I am having a ball. I live for this. And that is why I work like this. I dont need to for financial reasons or something. I am doing it because I love it, I enjoy it. Who else would have had 12 films in four years. When I wake up in the morning, I have to be on the set.
How do you keep a reality check
* My mom and a handful of friends who are not from the industry give me an outside perspective. I discuss stuff with my parents because they have so much experience that can only be an added advantage for me.
A lot of young actresses now have agents in Hollywood, do you have one too
* Roles played by Indians in Hollywood films are usually quite caricaturish with funny accents and I would never want to do something like that.
Do you ever indulge in everyones favourite sportgossip
* I do gossip, but I dont retain it. I will hear it, enjoy the moment and forget about it. If someone tells me the same thing again, I will be like Achcha
You are among the rare few to have stuck to your guns about not kissing or wearing revealing clothes on screen, and yet you are successful.
* I have always been a careful person and chosen films with care. Even before the audience, I have to think of the repercussions it will have on my family. I will never do anything that will offend my family and what wont offend them will not offend anybody else.
Bearing in mind the family background that you come from, would you agree to dance at a wedding, a common practise among Bollywood stars
* I will only dance at the wedding for a person I know because its weird to go for the wedding of someone whom you dont know. I have never done it. Many people have told me, Do you know, how much money you have lost by not doing it But I am fine with the money that I am making with acting assignments, endorsements, award shows etc., that are a part of my work. I guess everyone has their own reasons, for someone who is trying to run their household and come up, its fine. To each their own.
Who are the actresses that you look up to
* I really look up to people like Vidya Balan and Kareena Kapoor because of the kind of films they have done. Kareena has lasted for so long and done so many different kinds of films, so many characters and is still engaging the audience.
You dont socialise too muchisnt that a handicap in your job
* I am the opposite of my mom. I cant explain it... I care, but I dont know how to stay in touch. Besides, I hate talking on the phone. I have always believed that you should let your work speak for yourself and for me, it always has. Earlier, I would never bother with niceties but now because there are relationships that I have built over the last four years, I have started going out a little bit.