Anushka Sharma is going through an interesting phase when it comes to her professional graph. The actress has had as good as four releases in a short span starting with ‘PK’ that released in December last year, followed by ‘NH 10’, which was her debut film as a producer, ‘Bombay Velvet’ slated to release this week and then the much awaited ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’ in June. While the leggy lass received lot of critical acclaim for her earlier two films ‘PK’ and ‘NH 10’, people are eager to watch her as the sexy Jazz singer Rosie Noronha in Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Bombay Velvet’.
We settle down for a candid conversation with Anushka where she talks to us about ‘Bombay Velvet’, working with Ranbir Kapoor and more. Read on…
How did you prepare for the role of Rosie Noronha – a jazz singer?
Firstly, there were no personal reservoirs that I could use to play a character like Rosie because my life is very different from Rosie. The way I am as a person is drastically different from my character. Also, it was so much so that I would sometimes judge the way she would react in situations because my reaction would be like upfront where as she is not confrontational and expressive as a person. And that is something I could never relate to. So I couldn’t rely on my natural instincts to play the character. Apart from that, I had to make people completely believe that I was the person who was singing these songs because even Neeti Mohan has done such a fab job with the music. She has brought in her variation and attitude in the songs and so to get all of that was a task.
Anushka it has been a very interesting phase in your career. One film after other in short span and you have also turned a producer. So how does it feel?
I am very excited because right from the beginning I always wanted to do the kind of work that I am doing right now. I was always working towards it and I am glad that I am getting to live it now. You want to do different roles, work with different directors and that I am doing. When you work with different directors you get a range of distinct performances to your credit. And I am happy to go through this phase in my career. I am ready to work with talented actors like Ranbir Kapoor who add so much of value to me and my films.
How was it working with Ranbir Kapoor?
Ranbir made sure that he told all of us how we should be doing everything. He was the ghost director for at least Karan Johar and me. He would always give us his pearls of wisdom and would never spare us. I think Ranbir Kapoor will make a very good director. I am not saying that because he gave any great suggestions, which he did not, but because I think the way he understands the subtle things of people is a quality of a good director. For instance, he will be able to tell what someone would be thinking about at a certain point and that is something every good director has. He will be very good in films which deal with relationships and people. He has got the temperament of a good director.
Anushka your jazz singer look has been drawing comparisons with Rekha’s character in ‘Parineeta’. How do you take that?
I don’t think Rosie is a diva at all. But if people are finding me as beautiful and gorgeous as Rekha ji then it is a huge compliment. She has been a huge icon, a beautiful person who has inspired many people. My mother is a great fan of Rekha ji. So yes it is a great compliment.
How was it working with Anurag Kashyap? Was he a task master on the sets?
Oh not at all. Anurag is very easy to work with. He instills so much confidence in you that you will feel that you are too good in your work and are over capable, even though you may not be. He pushes people to work more with love and support. Anurag gave us lot of freedom while doing scenes and respects our space.
Anushka you have been part of almost all kinds of films. Is there any particular genre that you desire to do?
I have never really had a wish list or desire to do an action film or drama or anything else. It has just happened on its own. But if I ever get to do a biopic ever, that will be exciting. I don’t have a person in mind but that space excites me.
Anurag Kashyap has often refrained himself from casting big stars in his film. So when he approached you for ‘Bombay Velvet’, did you ever ask why me?
Why would I question him when he is bringing to me the kind of role and script that I am excited to do? When I am excited with the director, the script and the role, I just move ahead and shoot for the film.
When you made ‘NH 10’, it was a risk before it turned out to be a box office success. Now that is has become successful, does it give you confidence to try out riskier subjects?
Definitely. To begin with, it may have appeared as a risk to people but to me it was never a risk. I had the belief that the film will do well, the way it did and I am very grateful for that. And now what helps is that it is probably easier to make a film like this.
How much did you love your 60s look in the movie?
I have loved the 60s look in the film. I was excited to carry that get up in the movie. But it also tried my patience. I am restless when it comes to hair and makeup. But my team managed well. It was difficult to carry those things because they were expensive and it had to be taken care of. This film has made me more patient.
The story of ‘Bombay Velvet’ looks contemporary but the setting is periodic. Was it difficult to get into that periodic setting of the movie?
The pace is obviously very different. There is a sense of energy that has changed over the years. Today, we live in a fast paced world. Before I went on the sets to shoot, I used to listen to those kinds of songs.
You recently met Waheeda Rehman. How was the entire experience?
I really enjoyed interacting with her. She has a very strong point of view towards life, work and the characters she has played in life. The character of Rosie that she played in ‘Guide’ was a progressive role, much ahead of its times. As an actor also I have aspired to do so. This meeting was very inspiring and encouraging. She told me that people weren’t excited by films and sports but rather the Jazz music and all.
Lastly, how do you see competition in Bollywood?
Competition exists definitely because we are all competing for the best roles, best parts and best films. But today we have respect for one another and their work because collectively as an industry we want everyone to do good work. You can’t expect only your films to do well. The industry has to do well collectively so that even your films do well. Also, actors today realize that they can live securely and at the same time do good work. It is not something I have to say but we can see it. So there is no need for any rivalry or competition.