She is a chip off the Sinha block. Pretty, determined and professional, she has also been extremely lucky for her associates: no one actress (or even actor) in recent or distant memory has had super-hits in their first two films: the game-changer “Dabangg,” and “Rowdy Rathore.”
The aberration that was “Joker” (for which she justifiably insists that she did her share of promotion and so was not unprofessional) is long forgotten in the mental resume most film buffs have of her body of work. She’s back now in “Son of Sardaar” after the item song “Go Go Govinda,” that worked big-time in the super-hit “Oh My God!”
India-West has a rapid-fire with the actress at Mumbai’s Hotel J.W. Marriott the day after Dassera. Over to the sole female ace of “Son of Sardaar” — the Daughter of Shatrughna Sinha. Sorry, we could not resist that.
Excerpts from an interview:
Q: You have mainly worked with debutant or relatively new directors. How was Ashwni Dhir to work with in “SOS”?
A: Ashwni comes from a television background, so he was always well-prepared – and fast. His familiarity with the Punjabi culture is huge as he is a Punjabi and he has written some fantastic dialogues.
Q: You did this crazy bike stunt in the film after being trained by Ajay Devgn. How did your mother react to this potentially dangerous action?
A: On that particular day, Mom was luckily not around, and I just kind of confessed to her later about it! (Laughs) But even apart from that I have done some action in the film. I play a Sardarni and that somehow came easy to me.
Q: Your bonding with desi roles continues through four films and even in your cameo in “Oh My God!”
A: I have no complaints, and people like me in them. Besides it’s not as if I choose my films on that basis. If the role and character I accept demands ethnic wear, I have to don it. I am now playing a Bengali in “Lootera” and I am wearing ethnic apparel again. In “Dabangg 2” the storyline continues from the first part.
Q: What do you think of your terrific hit streak?
A: I don’t! Otherwise with the way I expect “SOS” and “Dabangg 2” to go at the box-office, by the end of the year, mera sar phat jaayega (my head will burst) with my ego!
Q: Do you consult your parents or family before taking up films?
A: Every time. My decision is based on our combined views on the project. With all their rich experience, it makes sense to ask their opinion.
Q: Still, you have had the best of setups and your first four films as leading lady star the three biggest mass-friendly stars – Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn.
A: I would say that it is beginner’s luck! (Smiles) I am lucky because I get to learn from the amazing grasp each of them have on every aspect of cinema. My working with all of them in just two years that I have spent in the industry is really great luck. And on the other hand, I am working with Ranveer Singh in “Lootera,” and Imran Khan and not Akshay in “Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai 2,” and I will be working with Shahid Kapoor in Prabhudheva’s next film.
Q: How would you compare the two generations?
A: With the heroes who are more my age, it’s a friendly and equal relationship. With Imran, I established a rapport with the first scene. Ranveer is a method actor to the core and so our schools of acting are completely contrasting. With the seniors, there is always respect, though they are all so much fun. Salman is so chilled-out – he never takes his superstardom seriously. Akshay is serious and punctual but also jokes a lot. Ajay is also like Akshay.
Q: There is also Sanjay Dutt in “Son of Sardaar.”
A: Sanju is such an emotional man. On the first day he made me call dad up to tell him how nostalgic and sentimental he felt about working with me – he had worked with my dad, too, in two films!
Q: Which are your dad’s favorite films?
A: Oh, there are so many I cannot remember. And I have not watched all. But yes, I really loved him in “Khudgarz.”
Q: How do you assess your competition – Deepika Padukone, Anushka Sharma and others?
A: I don’t try to. I am focused on my own work and on minding my own business. (Smiles again)
Q: From larger than life roles you are going to a realistic kind of movie in “Lootera.”
A: Yes, it’s a wonderful role but a difficult film. It’s like going back to school for me.
Q: Finally, what do you think about the whole controversy over the releases of “SOS” and “Jab Tak Hai Jaan” on the same day, especially after the death of Yash Chopra?
A: It’s not for me to have a say on the release dates. Yash-ji’s death has lent a new and unfortunate angle to the issue. But people much more senior to me are there to decide on these things. I am sure both the films will do well.