I have faced rejection from the age of 15: Anushka Sharma – Anushka Sharma on the struggles she faced in her professional life and why she doesn’t talk about them
Anushka Sharma (Vogue India)
Getting a break in films is not easy. Only a small percentage of the people, who try to make it as an actor, actually manages to realise their dreams. Many successful actors have spoken about the struggle they went through in their formative years. Among the A-list actresses, Anushka Sharma, who had no filmi connections had a tough time. However, she has never talked about the hardships she has faced or the rejections she braved, during her initial years. In this candid, no-holds-barred interview, the actress narrates some untold stories of her professional life. Read on…
Your story looks like a tailor-made success story. Have you never faced rejection?
I have faced rejection from the age of 15. I don’t talk about it because there’s no need to do that. But, I was constantly getting dropped from shows, picked for an ad and then would get replaced. All that has happened to me, too. Obviously, all that is also an integral part of the industry and life in general. But to experience that at the tender age of 15, to be subjected and be judged purely on the basis of how you look, it can be very mentally damaging as well. It hits your self-esteem. I have dealt with it.
But no one knew about this and you never spoke about it too. Why?
I don’t want to sit and make things into a sob story unless someone asks me about it. I don’t want to make that image. If people had asked me about it previously, I would have spoken about it. But nobody did.
Vidya Balan was removed from a film and the producer had passed some nasty comments on her. Have you also faced something as horrific?
That hasn’t happened with me where someone is so vocal about what they feel. But when people go talking about things in a roundabout manner, I’m intelligent enough to understand what they are saying. They might just tell you, ‘The look wasn’t right’. That’s an indirect way of talking about the physical aspect of you. It will always be backed by some politically correct statements, which is fake and to me, that’s far more disrespectful. I feel it’s better if someone tells me to my face that you aren’t good-looking enough for the part. Saamne hi bol do na! I prefer things to be said to me straight-up because otherwise, in that roundabout thing, you also are left confused.
So, did you instantly like Aditya Chopra because he was being honest with you, right from the first meeting?
Adi had said you are not the most good-looking girl we have seen. So it was not because of that reason that he was taking me in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. He told me that he signed me purely because of my talent and what I did in the auditions. It felt really good. I didn’t feel bad about it at all when he said I’m not the most good looking girl. Because at least he was being honest with me at that time.
Priyanka Chopra had said in our interview that a producer had called heroines like her ‘replaceable’. Have you ever been replaced without prior info?
No, I have never been replaced. But there was a director who made me say yes to a film, right at the beginning of my career, and then he never told me that the film isn’t happening. I kept thinking it will happen. But then, I called someone and I got to know he isn’t doing the film anymore. The director never bothered to even inform me. And I was supposed to be putting on a lot of weight for the film, making a physical transformation in the way I looked. I even started talking to nutritionists and all, but this fellow didn’t even have the courtesy of informing me.
If the same director comes to you again, will you work with him?
I have listened to him and heard him out because I don’t hold grudges. But when he approached me again, I didn’t do his films because they weren’t good.