Anushka Sharma hasn’t followed the rule book of Bollywood. The actor is six-years-old in the industry, but has done only seven films so far. Four others are yet to release. She hasn’t perfected the art of PR either. She doesn’t believe in networking or socialising.
The only time she goes on social media is when she wants to take ownership of a ‘cosmetic’ decision that "didn’t go so right". She doesn’t waste reams of newsprint eulogising her love for alleged boyfriend, cricketer Virat Kohli. Yet, is bold enough to face the cameras as she cheers for him from the stands. But everything she does, or doesn’t do, makes news.
We wonder what makes this seemingly casual 26-year-old so controversial?
"Even I don’t understand it. In fact, all the things that I don’t do get talked about more than I can ever imagine. It’s so strange," she says.
Come on! Are you saying every time there is a controversy, it is born out of thin air?
No. Of course, a lot of times things are reported because they have happened. But a lot of times they are reported out of nowhere. Then, even I start thinking if anything really happened while I was sleeping!
So what happened and what didn’t?
Like, have I ever gone to see a cricket match? Of course, I have. So, that’s true. But that I’ve gotten engaged, decided to move out of home to live with somebody? No. Absolute rubbish. And the problem is that all this is reported and confirmed with such authority that even my own family starts to wonder. When reports of my engagement came out, my grandmother, who lives in Dehradun, called my dad to ask how he could get me engaged without informing her. It took all of us a lot to convince her that it wasn’t true.
So an engagement may not have happened, but isn’t it time you acknowledged your relationship with Virat Kohli?
But when did I ever hide anything? I lead my life very openly. I have never denied or hidden anything. It’s just that I don’t like to talk about my private life. I can’t shout from the roof top. It’s out there for people to see. They can see, think, say and insinuate anything. But I’ll not comment on it. I also feel that if I talk about my relationship, its sanctity goes away. My relationships, be it with my parents, brother, friends or partner, are very pure. I don’t want that to go away.
Maybe, if you talk, others won’t.
No, they wouldn’t stop. Also, if I talk, then I’ll be liable to answer all sorts of questions. Because if I have come out and spoken once, then I’ll be expected to keep talking. I feel, the minute we talk about our private lives, all the focus just shifts there. Then I’ll also have to answer questions like ‘aap Valentine day pe kya karne wale hain? Aapne Birthday pe kya gift diya?’ I can’t do that. That said, I will never disrespect my relationship by shying away from it. Like I said, it’s all in the open. When I go out for dinner or to watch a match, everyone can see it. But if people still need a verbal confirmation, I am not giving it. I am not going to have conversations on my personal life. And why do I even need to? My personal life can’t be made into a circus. But really, how much louder can I get?
It isn’t just your love life, there seems to be an impression that you don’t have too many friends in the industry. In fact, your ‘no so cordial’ relationship with your co-actresses gets written about all the time.
Now, that is a perception. And honestly, I can’t do much about that. I don’t know where this comes from. But, yes, I don’t make a show of my friendships. I am great friends with Ranbir (Kapoor), Arjun Kapoor, Anurag Kashyap, even Karan Johar. But I don’t talk about it. No one will get to know we are friends or that we chill together. Then I am great friends with the ADs on my sets, my crew members, but no one writes about them. I, too, click selfies but just because I don’t put them up on my Facebook page doesn’t mean I don’t have friends. I also can’t pick up the phone every day and say, ‘Hey! What’s happening?’. I realise that I am not very forthcoming. Especially when it comes to my personal space. But then my life is not a reality show, where people will know and be privy to everything that I do.
Misconceptions may spoil the image.
That’s exactly where I come from. I can’t create a ‘self’ image. I realise it’s become very important today, but honestly, it does not bother me. I can’t do drama. Have never done it. I can’t do and say things because they look or sound cool. People who know me will vouch for me as a person, but people who don’t can just have perceptions. And I won’t go and clear them. I am not a rebel. I just don’t prescribe to the rule. I feel, ultimately what will keep me here is my work and films. And thankfully, I am getting to do exactly what I want, staying the way I am.
You seem to have only men on your friends list. What about the women?
Well, I don’t know if this makes sense, but I have always been one of the boys. I always get along better with the guys. They have a lot more in their conversations and I like that. Am not judging anyone, just stating what I am comfortable with.
Of course it makes sense.
Well, imagine if I say this in a press conference, guess what’s the next headline? ‘Anushka can’t be friends with her female co-stars’. Meaning? ‘Anushka is insecure’ or ‘Anushka is jealous’ or well.. ‘Anushka is a snob’. So all the time, what I am doing is watching my words. Should I say this? Should I not? So then, it’s better that I don’t say anything. I don’t want to make statements and then clarify them. But you have given clarifications.
You came on Twitter to talk about the cosmetic changes to your lips.
Yes, that I did. You know, I was completely stumped by the reactions. I could have never imagined that people could be so vicious. The comments were so personal, and what they were insinuating could have very grave consequences. Forget all about the comments on looking good or bad, they said things like I had got a surgery done. That is serious. So, I had to speak up.
So what was it?
Look, surgery is a permanent procedure. What I did was just a temporary filler for an enhanced look. I also have to say that I did it for my look in Bombay Velvet. Not that I was asked to. It was my decision. On that particular day, I don’t know, maybe it didn’t look great on camera or perhaps people saw it for the first time so found it odd… I don’t know what happened. I just know that it didn’t go right. But I don’t regret it. It was a chance that I took. And I learned from it. I came on Twitter to say exactly that. It was more to say, ‘you have a view, so do I’. And ultimately, it’s my business. So let’s be fair.
Considering you are so guarded about your personal life, why open up about it now?
Honestly? So that I don’t get asked these again. Look, here I am in a space where I am comfortable talking about things. I know things would be taken as is. But to answer these in press conferences time and again is really strange and disconcerting.
And is it true that you, too, are finally doing an item number?
Well, it’s a number all right. But really, it’s for Zoya’s (Akhtar, filmmaker) film. With the kind of films she makes, how ‘item’ can this ‘item’ number be? But it’s my first performance number for sure. I’m on stage and dancing for an audience. It has the required elements. So just as much of an item.