'NH10 Was Just Meant for Me'

Actor Anushka Sharma talks about wearing two hats for NH10, why 2015 promises to be a great year for her, and what people want to know about Virat Kohli and her relationship

Anushka Sharma believes that NH10 was destined for her. And, it’s not surprising once she narrates the long story of how she got the film second time around. “NH10 had come to me many years ago. I had loved the script even then, but I refused it because I already had committed to four-five films. I don’t feel comfortable tying down a director for a long period of time. So, I told Navdeep (Singh, director) that I love his film but if he can’t wait, I completely understand. This film should get going with someone else. Then there were reports that the film was being made with different people… so I was like chalo… Then it was Anurag (Kashyap) who told during Bombay Velvet that Navdeep is trying to make NH10. I think, this film was just meant for me. So, I read it again.”

Even after Anushka got on board as the film’s lead actress, Navdeep’s troubles weren’t over. The film didn’t have a producer. Anushka decided to take on that role as well. “Just around the time when I read NH10 for the second time, I’d talk to my brother about films… we’d watch something interesting and get excited and wonder if you can make films like this here. So, there was an idea at the back of our heads but we didn’t act upon it immediately… because life happened. When NH10 came to me, it was commercially more viable for me to let go of my actor’s fees to get the film made. When an actor’s cost is not overbearing on the movie, it’s easier for a studio to pick up the film.”

For every actor, playing a new character gives them a chance to live a different life and learn something new. For Anushka, NH10’s Meera taught her an important lesson in heroism and how the real world works. “We squash our thoughts into 140 characters about how we want to change the world, but when it comes down to living a life and dealing with real issues, people are not heroes. If your life continues down a set trajectory, it’s all fine. But as soon as things go off the rails… how you react shows the true you. Some asked me, if my character in the film is affected by violence on women and I said, not in the moment when she’s faced with violence. At that moment, she is not looking to be a hero… she is only trying to save herself. It’s about self-preservation.”

The 26-year-old stunner calls NH10 her toughest film yet. And this being her first home production must have brought its own set of challenges. But once she got on the set, Anushka says she took off her producer’s hat. “Shooting is the easiest thing about making a film because everything is already planned and in place… well most things (laughs). The big glitches that happen, happen during the mounting of the film and when it needs to be sold to a studio. Since my brother Karnesh is a part of the production house, we’ve divided our duties very responsibly. So, when we were shooting, all responsibilities were with my brother.”

The brother-sister pair are sure that producing NH10 is not a one-of. “We want to produce more films. We want to pick up great stories, work with young talent people who are trying to say something different and back films that aren’t getting an easy way out.”

While she looks for interesting talent to prop up, Anushka already has a stellar line-up of films for 2015. NH10 will be followed by Anurag Kashyap’s period drama Bombay Velvet in May and then Zoya Akhtar’s family drama Dil Dhadakne Do. “I am very excited about the kind of work I am doing. I am collaborating with very, very talented people. I am working with different minds, so they are presenting me very differently.”

Amid all this craziness is also the hullabaloo over her romance with Virat Kohli. What she doesn’t understand are the bizarre questions she gets asked about her relationship. “Like what did you say to him after the match? That’s just a daft question. I have also come from not being an actor to being an actor, but things like this never interested me. I can understand if you are interested in how they are dating, who they were seen with, but what people are talking about I don’t understand—how people can even get themselves to ask something so personal!”

The latest buzz doing the rounds of Bollywood is how Virat and Anushka have been ‘lucky’ for each other. Mention this to her and the actress can’t help but roll her eyes. “How anyone’s success can be attributed to someone else’s? People who work in this industry should know better than anyone else how much competition there is. How can Virat affect my work or I affect his? I find that really funny and also kind of demeaning to our talent and hardwork.”

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The New Indian Express