It’s easy to characterise Sonakshi Sinha – she’s the curvy actress who’s perfected the art of playing the sari-wearing village belle in her three years in Bollywood. Even off the camera, she stays away from controversy. She’s grounded despite a celebrity parent, confident but never brash. The quintessential good girl....
Until now. While you were happily admiring her lehengas and kohl-lined eyes, Sinha was busy reinventing herself. She’s now fitter, more cosmopolitan in her style and not afraid to speak her mind. Who would’ve expected the famously diplomatic actress to get vocal about Lootera’s snub at this year’s award season? “I’m just very taken aback,” Sinha says. “The audiences and critics appreciated the film, but what happened when the time came to reward it?”
A new route
Most actresses are reluctant to change their image; young stars, even more so. Kareena Kapoor’s attempt at size zero crashed with Tashan and even before you knew it, she was back to her Punjabi avatar. Sinha’s career has been established on the (choli-clad) backs of Rajjo (Dabangg) and Paro (Rowdy Rathore). But last year, audiences also warmed up to small-town Pakhi Roychoudhary (Lootera).
“You have to take such risks as an actor,” Sinha explains. “I think I needed to do this for myself because I get bored quickly. Maybe I needed to mix things up.”
Director Vikramaditya Motwane believes she can pull it off. He cast her in Lootera after he saw her in Dabangg. “It may sound ironic, but in Dabangg, I saw a very mature actor,” he says. “She barely smiles, is not your typical pretty girl and was not overshadowed by Salman Khan. That’s pretty impressive for a newcomer.”
Same, but different
One thing that isn’t being stored away with the saris is her down-to-earth personality. Actor Sonu Sood, her co-star in her first film Dabangg and her last release R…Rajkumar, vouches for it. “From day one I knew that she would be a star. Not because she’s a star kid, but because she was so humble. Instead of rushing to her vanity, she’d sit with everybody and crack jokes,” he says. “Success has not gone to her head.”
Sinha says she gets her sense of calm from her father. It’s helped her face the crowds when fans who once loved her curvy avatar ultimately turned on her for not being skinny enough. “Why shouldn’t I be confident?” she asks. “I’m well educated, I can deliver a line, and I have more than three expressions.
That’s good right?” So despite her new look, she promises she’ll still be “the girl you want to take home to your mother. You won’t have to shut your kid’s eyes in the theatre. That’s just not me.”
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From HT Brunch, March 2
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