After sharing the frame with bigwigs, the head-turner is now ready to romance the youngistan of Bollywood. With Rambo Rajkumar, Bullet Raja, the Thuppakki remake and an untitled project opposite Ajay Devgn in her kitty, Sonakshi’s shuttling between colossal projects. Sonakshi managed to devote a few hours with us despite a tight schedule. On a drizzly noon, in the plush interiors of The Orchid hotel, Stardust captured the varied shades of Miss Sinha!
You’re one of the busiest actresses today with a big release every quarter. Happy?
I feel truly blessed that I’ve been accepted by the audience and the filmmakers. I do films that I believe I’d like to watch as an audience. So far my instincts have been right and hard work definitely pays off.
With so much happening, you seem quite calm. You never lose temper, or get involved in arguments or make inappropriate remarks. You’ve even stuck to the same staff since the time you started out.
You see the good, the bad and the ugly everywhere, throughout life. It happens in school, college and at work. You can’t let petty things affect you. I enjoy acting. I love waking up in the morning, going on the sets, shooting all day and coming back home so tired that I’ve no energy to do anything. I’m not the kind to lose temper on little things or throw tantrums. I’m serious about work but I don’t take
it that seriously. I don’t let it affect me in a negative way. I only take back the positive. My staff has also been with me since I started out.
We laugh all day and enjoy each other’s company.
“Now Is The Time And I’m Making Hay While The Sun Shines, It’s Not Going To Shine Forever… At Some Point, I Want To Get Married, Have Children And Get Away From All Of This.”
Well, there must be something that irks you?
I don’t appreciate when people aren’t punctual. Being on time saves time, energy and money. If I can respect that so can the other person. People have appreciated me for valuing time. I’ve had producers telling me that we sign you because you’re punctual (laughs). My dad is the most non-punctual man I know. My mum gets worried when he is not on time. The people he is supposed to meet get tense when he doesn’t reach on time. It’s not worth the headache. I try and be as punctual as possible.
But many don’t turn up on time because they are stars.
It’s stupid! Being a star has nothing to do with time. Even a star can be punctual. Look at Akshay Kumar. In the field we’re in, we have to adjust with a lot of things. Every director and production has a different style of working. Prabhudeva’s style of working is diametrically opposite of Vikramaditya Motwane’s. We have to adjust. When you do that you end up enjoying the work.
So you don’t lose sleep over anything?
Oh, nothing! I’m the soundest sleeper. I can sleep in any position… sitting, lying or standing (laughs). I don’t let anything disrupt my mental peace. I don’t take my work home. I don’t like to talk to my mum that ‘Aaj aisa hua vaisa hua’ (This or that happened). You finish on the sets and leave it there. I attend parties and events. People appreciate, they call out my name… all that is there till it’s there. I don’t take that home. At home, I’m a normal person. I’m my mother and father’s daughter and brothers’ sister. They don’t see me as a star. My family is as normal as yours.
There must be something that makes you jittery?
Nothing! I’m known to be confident. People have noticed that about me more than I have about myself. Anytime, anyone writes anything about me they first talk about my confidence. I inherit that from my father. There are few things that make me nervous although they are all momentary. It could be something like the feeling you get before going on stage. I wouldn’t call it stage fright but I get butterflies in stomach. Also, I get jitters before a film releases or when my parents watch my films.
Now that Lootera is a success and your performance was applauded, do you feel you’ve silenced your detractors?
It wasn’t done with that intention. I signed the film because I liked the role that was written for me. I believed that
I could do it, in fact, only I could do it. At that point, I didn’t think about ‘Isko chup karana hai yeh usko chup karana hai’ (silence anyone). The good thing with me is that right from my first film, no one doubted my acting abilities. They felt
I had the potential but I wasn’t tapping it which I felt would happen eventually. Along the way, Lootera came and it silenced everyone. Now I can happily go back to doing the kind of films I like, the commercial masala entertainers. And maybe maintain a balance.
What was the most touching compliment you received for Lootera?
There have been so many! I’m still taking it in. My dad is proud of me. He said that he needs to take acting lessons from me. This is the biggest compliment I could’ve ever received.
So was the transition tiresome as you juggled between light-hearted films and a performance-oriented one?
At any given point, I’m doing three to four films. I just think of it as my job. I act purely on my instincts. I cannot prepare or rehearse. I giggle when the director tells me to read the lines carefully. Until the camera is on, I can’t act. I believe in being spontaneous. When the camera starts rolling, I do what the director says but don’t expect otherwise from me.
Many films have been made on the Mumbai mafia. However, Once Upon Ay Time In Mumbai Dobara is exploring the love life of gangsters. Doesn’t this make it too filmy with singing-dancing, and shayaris, diverting from the
We’re not making a documentary, no? We are making a film to entertain the audience. There was singing and dancing in the first part also. In fact, it’s in every Hindi film no matter how gritty it is. People succumb to that because that’s what the audience wants to see. Even Lootera had songs. Of course, we’ve not repeated anything. Milan sir gave it a different angle!
In a recent interview to Stardust, Imran Khan said that you and he make a great pair on screen. Initially, were you apprehensive about your pairing with him since you’ve mostly worked with senior actors?
Not really. At some point, I was new with Salman, Akshay and Ranveer also. I was looking forward to working with him. Imran has done a fantastic job in the film. He is a great co-star.
You’ve often worked with Akshay Kumar but Imran was new. So did you guys bully him on the sets?
You know what? They both ganged up against me. It’s actually fun when the three of us are together. Akshay is known for making people laugh but I’d never interacted with Imran. He has a great sense of humour and he underplays it. When they both got together, I had to hide somewhere because they always pulled my leg.
Akshay considers you his lucky mascot. Do you have one? And what’s the common thread between the two of you?
I’m not a superstitious person. Hard work pays off. There’s no substitute! As for our pairing, it’s important to establish a good working rapport with the person which fortunately I’ve established with all the people I’ve worked with so far. Once that clicks, everything else falls into place. I guess the common thread between Akshay and me is that we are punctual. We save time, energy and money of a lot of people who depend on us.
You’re even doing a club number with him in Boss. Was it a refreshing change to sport an LBD on screen than in most of your films where you’ve only worn Indian outfits?
For my ads and events I wear western clothes. I like doing different things on screen. The apt dress for a night club is an LBD (little black dress). It’s something even I would wear to a club. We had a blast shooting the song. It’s a fun number. It’s going to be played in every club and there’s Yo Yo Honey Singh in it.
So would you ever do a hot and raunchy item number?
I wouldn’t like to. But if someone has approached me for a song and if I like it then I will make them adapt to my style and vice-versa and somewhere find a midway.
Actors shouldn’t have inhibitions! After all they are just acting. However, people have their limitations. What are yours?
Everyone has limitations. I have a lot of inhibitions. I always work according to my comfort and capabilities. I do what I feel I’ll be able to pull off. Once it’s established what you can do and what you can’t, the journey becomes much simpler.
Is there something specific you just won’t do… like for some mouthing an expletive on screen
is a hang-up?
I’ve made my dos and don’ts clear right from the beginning. I think people have realised that and they don’t offer me films I’m not comfortable with. But if there are ways to work things around, my directors have obliged because they believe I can bring something to the table that probably another actress can’t. Mouthing bad words? I can try to some extent. Of course, in everyday language, people of our generation speak like that. But if it’s offensive, I won’t do it.
How was it shooting with Shahid Kapoor for Rambo Rajkumar?
I hadn’t interacted with Shahid before we started shooting. We went on the sets with a clean slate. We’ve established a rapport. He’s a good actor and dancer. We both love dancing. That was the common ground. We started off on a dancing note.
Besides Rambo Rajkumar, you’ve signed another Prabhudeva film. Is he your current favourite?
I’ve worked with him in Rowdy Rathore, the Go Go Go Govinda song and now Rambo Rajkumar. There’s an understanding between us. He just has to explain the scene once. I like his style of working and enjoy his films because they’re high on entertainment. I can’t take one name. I enjoy working with all my filmmakers.
Katrina Kaif has gradually become one of Bollywood’s best dancers. Is there a part of your craft you’d like to dabble in and challenge yourself?
I have been dabbling in dancing since Rowdy Rathore and it has been appreciated. I really enjoy dancing and I know I’m good at it. I’m glad I did something different with Lootera. Gradually, I’m doing different things.
When asked about competition, most actors deny any with their contemporaries. Instead they say they like competing with themselves. Are you different?
It sounds clichéd but I don’t keep tabs on my contemporaries. I won’t pick up the phone and ask filmmakers to cast me. I’m not competitive or ambitious. I love my job. I don’t even compete with myself. I only better myself with each film.
Is there an actor whose work has inspired you?
Usually, it’s the seniors who inspire. I don’t think any contemporary has inspired me yet. But it doesn’t mean that I’m not appreciative of their work. Anushka Sharma and Deepika Padukone are doing some good work.
It was reported you’re not part of Dabangg 3. Is it true?
I think Arbaaz or Salman can answer that. I gave out a small line saying it will be the prequel which was blown out of proportion. I won’t get into that again.
You went on the Bhojpuri version of KBC with your father. Are you game to do a Bhojpuri film with him?
Nothing has been offered yet. I don’t remember the last time when my dad did a Bhojpuri film. I’m open to doing regional films. If the script is good, I suit the role and if I’m able to do it then I will. In fact, I’m doing a Telugu film opposite Mahesh Babu which will be directed by Krish. We will start shooting next year.
We often hear of the priorities given to star kids. However, what’s the biggest disadvantage you’ve faced?
The constant comparison with a successful parent. Fortunately, that has been taken care of as people have seen me come up on my own. They have appreciated me for my talent. Initially, the comparison was a problem.
Your brother is planning to direct a film. Are you part of it?
Kush has assisted Abhinav Kashyap on Besharam. Luv is putting together a film for the home production (Shotgun Films). We’re reviving the banner. My father has made films in the past. As for me being part of his maiden venture, it’s too early to divulge. The right person to make the announcements will be my brother.
You have an inherent sense of humour and the art of laughing at yourself. People around should to take a cue from you, right?
I don’t know if they need to take a cue, but in general, it’s good if you know how to take a joke on yourself. It makes life easier, you don’t need to take everything what people say about you seriously because not everyone will say good things about you all the time.
Do you think too much has been spoken about your weight?
I think it comes to an end now because it’s not an issue anymore. It’s not like I’m not doing films. People need to say something because they can’t pick on me for my acting or dancing or anything else that I have to offer on screen. So they have to talk about something. I won’t!
At a recent event, Sonam Kapoor was asked about not sporting a bikini on screen to which she replied, ‘You’ve mistaken me for another Sona.’ Is she right?
Maybe yes, because I’ve always said that I’m not going to wear a bikini on screen and I’m not going to wear one.
You’ve done masala entertainers, action-comedies, and now a romantic flick. Would you be
game to do a sex comedy like Grand Masti?
No because I will only like to do films that I can watch with my family.
You’ve worked some of the best filmmakers and actors. Don’t you wish to be a Dharma or YRF heroine?
I’m very content with the kind of work coming my way. But if something comes along from one of those production houses, I’ll be happy to do it if I feel I suit the role.
Do you have friends in the industry or were you friends with any star-kid while growing-up?
Of course, I form a rapport with people who I work with. But my closest friends are not from the industry. While growing up I was friends with Sonam and Rhea, Esha and Ahana.
Are you guys still in touch?
We heard your mum’s a great cook and there’s always a scrumptious platter made at your place. How do you resist that?
She is a great cook. Come and eat. She loves to send ghar ka khana for my cast and crew. And they all appreciate her for it. But I don’t binge on the food made by her because it’s the typical case of ghar ki murgi daal barabar. I’ve eaten it all my life so it’s become boring now (laughs). Unless, she makes something I really like I don’t binge on it.
Your dad is a politician. Would you ever take that route in the times to come?
No because I don’t have the aptitude for it. Plus, currently I’m very happy with my line of work.
Honestly, what’s the best part of your job?
I like everything about it… the good, the bad and the ugly. That’s why I do it with such vigour, each and every single day without complaining. I thoroughly enjoy every aspect of it.
Do you get bogged down by the demands of your job like the promotions, events, public appearances?
No because I know how to control it. I know I have to promote a film. Other than my film work, I’m barely seen at events, parties or launches. I know I have to be seen for my film promotions so why do the extra bit.
The thought of stardom fading in future ever crosses your mind?
I know for a fact that everything has its time and place. Now is the time and I’m making hay while the sun shines, it’s not going to shine forever. It’s a simple fact of life which is applicable not only in this field but every other field and in every walk of life. So if you’re aware of that, better for you. I know I’m not going to do this till I’m 80. At some point, I want to get married, have children and get away from all of this. So now I’m enjoying it but when I believe it’s time to move on, I will make the transition.
At times, the fashion police are a bit unkind with their words. Agree?
People have an opinion about everything. I don’t believe in this so-called fashion police. I wear what I feel suits me and I’m comfortable in. I don’t care about what people say because those are my clothes and I’m not wearing their wardrobe. It’s a very trivial thing to pay attention to.
How do you connect with your fans? Any stalker stories?
I have my Twitter account which keeps in direct contact with fans. Also, when I’m promoting my films, we travel to places, mall visits in different cities where I meet and interact with them. But you know how the mob mentality is. They are very happy and excited to see us. In the process, sometimes we get scratched and bruised. I’ve had my hair pulled. Once I even received a letter written in blood which was very creepy. I don’t encourage such behaviour at all. There have been a few incidences when people get too close for comfort. They try and act like they are your best friends and they know you for years. It’s best not to acknowledge this kind
Ideally you wouldn’t want to date an actor. Why?
I know what the schedules are like and the kind of dedication one needs to have, particularly in this field, and I want someone who will give me attention all the time. I want to be pampered. That’s why I don’t ever want to be with an actor.
But wouldn’t you like do anything for him?
Umm… depends on what he likes. If he is a sporty person then probably indulge in sports, adventure or travel together. But let me find a guy first (laughs).
If you have the time for a relationship then are you open to getting into one?
Yes. But it’s something that you can’t force. It will happen when it has to happen. I’m not averse to it but I can definitely wait for it. I know now I won’t be able to give as much time as I’d like to give a relationship. Hence, I’m not in one. And frankly, the opportunity hasn’t come up because I’m so busy!