As far as her stint on the big screen is concerned, Anushka Sharma seems to have been handed only aces by the god of luck. By her own admission, she hadn’t set out to work in films, and instead looked forward to a career in modelling. “Planning has never worked for me. It was in my destiny,” says the Bangalore-girl about being launched by the Yash Raj banner and cast opposite none other than Shah Rukh Khan, in her 2008 debut film, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.
Anushka Sharma in a still from Jab Tak Hai Jaan.
Looking back, the actor says she can’t thank her stars enough for the good opportunity that came her way. “It’s a huge high working on the sets of a Yash Raj film; and it’s superb working with Shah Rukh Khan. A lovely gentleman and a selfless man, he is my favourite co-star,” she gushes.
This Diwali will see the 24-year-old work with him once again, in Jab Tak Hai Jaan, the last directorial work of the ‘king of romance’ – Late Yash Chopra. As Anushka recalls her association with the man whose vision for canning emotions and love was par excellence, it is apparent that the director’s death is a profound loss to the Indian film industry. “Being a Yash Raj heroine is a brand name. He could have chosen anyone, but he chose me. A happy man, Yash ji enjoyed his work immensely.
When on the sets, there was no worry of numbers troubling him. As a director, he only concentrated on being creative, not on being a shopkeeper,” recalls Anushka about Yash Chopra, adding with a sigh, “He was such a funny man, they don’t make people like him anymore.”
Unsurprisingly then, Chopra’s last film will also be a love story. Shot largely in London and Kashmir, “Jab Tak Hai Jaan is a soulful love film that has been rendered in a modern language,” she says.
Despite belonging to a non-film background, Anushka attributes her success to an unusual factor — ignorance. “It’s a bliss sometimes,” she justifies. “I had no conditioning on the do’s and don’ts of Hindi cinema. I favoured my intuition and just wanted to do good films,” adds she. “Ever since I started working at the age of 15, I have been working hard. I never missed any lecture,” she reminisces.
On her journey in the film world, Anushka basks in the glory of working in films that were considered unlike typical ‘Bollywood romances’ — be it Badmaash Company, Band Baaja Baaraat or Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl. In fact, even when some didn’t fare well at the box office, Anushka’s role managed to receive credit, even by critics. But the actor is adamantly modest. “I am not a trained actor,” she insists, “I just know my lines very well. I am spontaneous and I think method acting makes you lose spontaneity. In fact, my reaction in a given scene also makes my co-star react they way he or she normally would.”
Does that mean we find shades of the real person in an actor’s on-screen persona? “That doesn’t hold true for me,” she says thoughtfully.
“In reality, I’m a deep thinker. I don’t talk to people a lot. I wish I could be like that — vivacious and talkative — but I’m not. However, there is a part of every actor in the character portrayed by him or her.” She sums up her life’s mantra rather well: “Do whatever comes naturally. Make mistakes, but learn from them.”