I am anything but bubbly: Anushka Sharma – Anushka Sharma on being herself and Imtiaz Ali’s leading lady
Anushka Sharma (Prasad Naik)
In her film, Anushka Sharma goes on a trip to Europe. Admittedly, she loves to travel. She loves going on trips, with friends, family and sometimes even alone. She’s an Imtiaz Ali heroine and like all other films of the director, Jab Harry Met Sejal, too, connects love with travel and a journey. Anushka believes in Imtiaz’s take on love, life and travel. And in a freewheeling interview with us, she opens up about the film and her travel personality. Read on…
Playing a Gujarati character, did you take extra care to make it not look caricaturish?
I was very careful about that, not because people might take offence. The character is like that. Sejal comes from a different background. She has gone to a Gujarati medium school, she has surrounded herself only with her family. Even when she goes out, it’s only with her cousins. So, ghoomi nahin hai duniya mein. This is just to show the smallness of her life. That’s why it’s constrained that way.
There are so many Gujarati characters today in films…
Then people also say that everyone’s only in the Punjabi flavour most of the time. I don’t think so or agree with it though.
Parineeti Chopra took exception when she was called bubbly. People associate the term with you too…
Calling all my characters bubbly is actually a bit of a stretch. As a person, I’m anything but bubbly. I would prefer to not talk at all, if that was an option. You live in a society and you have to speak to each other to converse. But I would be happier being an animal who doesn’t have to talk to anybody. Where you can communicate mentally and literally, I would enjoy doing that.
Or speak Imtiaz’s very different language of love…
Imtiaz in his stories, always makes people discover love through self-discovery. That’s the difference. They don’t experience love in isolation, saying ‘I love you’ and all that. They somewhere get to know themselves because of the presence of this other person in their lives. In the true sense of it, this is love. Imtiaz understands that really well.
Karan Johar’s love stories are things lovers dream of, Imtiaz’s love stories are what really happens. Agree?
In Karan’s films, there are plots in the love story. Kuch kuch hota hai but phir bhi pyaar hota hai. That’s something which can be aspirational. In Imtiaz’s films, you are discovering yourself. And I truly feel you can fall in love, only when you are most comfortable with yourself. If it’s not working right now, it mostly is because you are not comfortable with who you are, at the moment. Because till you have that, the person will not come to your life. Self discovery is self love.
Whose love stories do you relate to more, as a person?
I’m a huge Imtiaz Ali fan. I love the flaws in his love stories, his characters, his people and the complexity and simplicity in it. It’s like a very, very well measured, well-balanced cocktail. It’s complex yet love is simple. His characters are flawed but very, very relatable. I guess, it’s because of his understanding of people. I feel when he talks to people, he gets a very fair and truthful insight into them. That shows in his films. And because he’s a writer, it comes through very nicely. He’s a great mind to work with and I really enjoyed JHMS.
JHMS is about a journey. What has been your most memorable one?
I love travelling and I think the ones with family always remain the most memorable ones. So I remember them. My parents would take us to Ooty or Mysore. We were growing up in Bangalore so those were the most convenient holiday spots for us.
Have you ever taken a trip just to get over something?
No, I haven’t done that. But this one time, that I took a trip on my own, it was because I just wanted to see if I can be by myself. And I wanted to do it for a long time. So there was this urge inside me to take a solo trip. I was scared to do it because I wasn’t used to doing that. It was around five years ago. I went on my own to Rishikesh and after that trip, I became very independent, even emotionally. I kind of became my own person.
Did you get mobbed?
I didn’t have anyone with me, but obviously, you go to a place, which will take care of your security. It’s difficult when you land into a small town or airport, so you have to organise it in a way that you have someone to help you. The place I went to, they organised good service to pick me up and check me in. That’s something which you have to think of. I can’t go on a trek all alone. The last trek I remember going to was when my friends and I went hiking in Kerala. That was many years ago.
Are you a mountain or beach person?
I always loved going to the mountains and forests more than the beaches and hot places. The weather is better in mountains and forests, it’s calmer and the energy is more peaceful.
A place you want to revisit?
When I was growing up, my father was in the Army so I got to see a lot of beautiful places in the North East, which is not a very explored area. It’s stunning, beautiful and the food is amazing there. I really want to travel back there and go to the Himalayas. That’s something I would love to do.
Why not take a family trip now?
I don’t even remember the last time all of us travelled together. Since we got our dog Dude, in the past four years, there has been no trips. It’s difficult to travel. Where will we take him? We can just take him to the farmhouse. Also, my family is not a holiday and traveling together kind of a family. Because my father used to get posted at different places, that used to double up as vacations.
Do you try the local food on your travels?
Earlier, I used to trying everything I would see. But that was when I used to eat meat. But now since I have become a vegetarian — almost vegan — I only eat what suits me. It’s as simple as that. Especially, when you travel out of India, you can’t be fussy. Out of the 50 food items in the menu, you can have only five, so I eat that. I have become very non-fussy about food. When I turned vegetarian, I didn’t realise how difficult the shift was going to be. In the beginning, it was very hard but now, it’s like achcha main yeh kha lungi.
Do you maintain a diet when you travel?
I don’t eat wheat and dairy products and I’m vegetarian. So that’s pretty much it. (Laughs)
Are you a backpacking kind of a girl?
I am someone who takes care of the basics really well. The travel and stay are sorted. I’m not like wahan pe jaake dekhenge kahan pe rahenge. But when that is sorted, then I don’t have any plans. I don’t like having itineraries. I hate it when people have an itinerary and be like, ‘We have to go here and there’. I am like, I’m never going out with these people again. I’m more in the moment, I don’t like going out to touristy places at all.
What do you usually do on your trips?
I hate those hop on, hop off buses abroad. My manager loves touring on them. I get very hyper when someone keeps planning things on a trip because my entire life is about plans, schedules. So when I’m on a trip, I really don’t want to do that at all. For me, I like to see how people live. I love hanging out with people and seeing them in their natural livelihood, understanding their cultures — getting a taste of that is far more interesting for me than going to the historical places. I hate the touristy places, I would rather go and see how the locals are. It helps if you have a friend or someone you know already there. They can take you around to those places. Because of being an actor and not having the freedom to do it that way when you are here in India, when you are there, you just want to live that life. Just be regular, sit in a cafe or on the streets. For me, that’s completely fun. I am not someone who needs to do something all the time when I’m on a trip somewhere. I’m just happy to get good meals, relax and watch the world. I love observing people on the streets. Maybe, if I’m in the city, I would be in the parks and find some dogs, who have come for a walk and playing with them — things that you can’t do here.
Do you keep pictures and make albums of your trips?
No, I hate taking pictures. It doesn’t cross my mind at all. I don’t even think about taking a picture when I’m out. If my friends have taken one, it’s okay. But it doesn’t strike me at all.