Interview | Sonakshi Sinha: Men gossip more than women – There was a time when Sonakshi Sinha was only seen opposite male superstars in masala entertainers. Then came Lootera, but such films were few and far between. However, in the last one year, she has upped her game. Akira, Noor, and Ittefaq had her playing well-etched out roles. Sonakshi admits that this is what she wants to do, hereon. She has a few projects lined up, mostly two-heroine projects (Happy Bhaag Jayegi Returns, Dabangg 3, and Abhishek Varman’s untitled next). Here, she talks about what she looks for in such films and why two-heroine projects aren’t just about catfights.
Your last film Ittefaq was different from your previous work. What excites you more — doing films with tight budgets that give good ROI (return on investment) or doing big films?
It has to be both because I have had the best of both worlds and I’m able to adapt to both kinds of cinema equally well. Whether it’s a big-budget commercial film or it’s a well-budgeted film like Ittefaq, I feel I’ve broken those barriers. I can fit into both the zones. I enjoy them both because I enjoy my craft a lot. So, whether I have to play a Maya or a Rajjo, I will do it with as much enjoyment.
You have mostly been seen in masala films, with the exception of Lootera. But with the films you are doing or have signed in the last one year, have you come into your own?
I think so. Honestly, from my very first film, a lot of people didn’t know what to expect because I was not into the limelight that much. I never wanted to be an actor, but right from Dabangg, people saw some spark in me, which is why they expected me to do a lot more. Nobody ever said that this girl cannot act. They said I held my own in a Salman Khan film, which was the biggest compliment for me. Honestly, when a film like Looteracame along while I was doing Son Of Sardaar and Rowdy Rathore and all that, it struck a chord somewhere. I felt that this will be something that will push me in a way that other films won’t. And it did. I enjoyed doing it. After that, I was already committed to these commercial films. Then came Akira, Noor, and Ittefaq, and I knew these were films that would push my buttons. They alter my thinking, and honestly, today the audience is so unpredictable that you never know what they like, what they don’t. So why not take that risk?
Are you more confident after all these years, and a flop here or there doesn’t really matter?
No, the confidence comes from the fact that I was able to establish myself as a quintessential Hindi commercial film heroine. The kind of reach that I got by doing those commercial entertainers is outstanding because people in the cities know me as well as someone from the heartland. The confidence that I have is that whoever has liked me in those films, will go and watch these movies, too. More confidence comes from the fact that it has become so unpredictable. Now is the time to take risks, to do things that are different and to experiment.
So numbers have stopped mattering that way then?
Honestly, numbers never mattered to me. Even when numbers were humongous, they never made a difference. Obviously, someone who’s a part of a film, made with so much love, effort, and hard work, would want their films to do well. But it’s only because you want those many people to watch your film and appreciate it. That’s what matters. What’s the point in getting the numbers and still get gaalis? We want people to love us and what we do.
Did doing TV help increase your audience?
Absolutely! I believe that, for sure. Right now, television as a medium is so vast, probably bigger than films. It has a very wide reach because you are sitting at home and flipping channels. The remote is in your hands and you have a whole platter to choose from. Some of these talent-based shows are really really good, because you get to see so many different talents and spend time with them. The reach is tremendous. For me, it’s not about taking time off to do TV because I’m doing it simultaneously. My work in movies hasn’t stopped. I am shooting for Happy… and another film. I’m flying back and doing TV and going back again. It’s become a part of my job.
What led you to Happy Bhaag Jayegi Returns?
Ittefaq se, I am doing two comedies now and I enjoy it so much. There’s the Wizcraft and Vashu Bhagnani film along with Happy Bhaag Jayegi 2. It’s so interesting to get that comic timing right. The little nuances and funny stuff on the screen are things I love to do. I’m a very happy person by nature. It’s automatic for me to make people laugh. Especially with Happy, it’s a fun world because I’m a wannabe Punjabi. My father’s a Bihari, my mom’s a Sindhi, but in my head, I’m a Punjabi (laughs). I am happiest playing this character.
How’s it going?
A lot of fun, actually. We just wrapped up a schedule in Amritsar and I stayed there for 10-12 days. Shooting for the film is making me happy as well.
Diana Penty and you are shooting together. Have there been any catfights?
I don’t understand why that’s said only about heroines. I can tell you men are more insecure and also gossip more than women (laughs). They are the ones who gossip the most.
So what goes on in your mind when you are offered a two-heroine film?
It’s absolutely fine as long as you are happy with your role and character. Why do you want to think about who else is doing what? If you are not happy, then you try to make tweaks if you enjoy the premise of the film. But other than that, if you are okay with what you are doing, do it else don’t. The choice is in your hands.
Would it be difficult to sign a two-heroine film when you know the other girl is someone you don’t share an equation with?
No, how do you make equations like that all the time? So many times there have been actors whom I didn’t know or had an equation with when I worked with them for the first time. Akshaye Khanna, for instance. Why should it be any different for a heroine? I have not worked with Jacqueline (Fernandez) before but I also meet her at parties and we get along really well. I am someone who gets along with everyone. So I need to find someone who I’m not okay with, first to decide on this.
What about doing a chick flick?
Yes! I would love that. In fact, I was offered a few chick flicks, but they never worked out. I don’t know for what reasons. It will be a lot of fun, when it happens.
If you had to choose a few women to do a chick flick with, who would you choose?
Jacqueline for sure. We get along like a house on fire and she’s too funny. And obviously, Alia (Bhatt) because I adore her.
There’s always an A-list actress in a male superstar’s film. But when women take the lead, no A-list actor wants to play the second lead. Comment.
That’s again their prerogative. A film should be made not based on who is in it or who’s doing a special appearance. If you’re making it for a character and to project that character in a certain way, then do it for that. In the end, you need to be true to yourself. It should be seamless, for instance, like Secret Superstar. Aamir was fabulous in the film. It should not be like daalne ke liye daal diya, just for the name. Nahi chahiye naam ke liye! We should have that much confidence in ourselves, the script and the content that we will be able to do without that.