Interview | Sonakshi Sinha on Welcome To New York: I enjoy making people laugh – Once the golden girl of the box office, Sonakshi Sinha hasn’t had the same luck in her recent spate of films such as Akira, Noor, and Force 2. Her last release, Ittefaq, too, wasn’t exactly a huge hit. “But I am still the asli Sona,” she laughs. The actress is in a space where she is looking for creative satisfaction rather than numbers. That’s how she agreed to do Welcome To New York, a stage-show reality film, that has her doing out-and-out comedy for the first time. Here, the actress talks about the kind of humour she likes, how she is a natural at it, and more…
After the suspense mystery Ittefaq, you will be seen in Welcome To New York, which is a comedy. Is this a deliberate move?
I choose films instinctively. When I am offered a script, I first see if, as an audience, I would like to watch it, only then I take it up. Honestly, I am looking for roles that will challenge me in some way or the other. I have never done a full-fledged comedy like this one. Most of my movies have been a mix of comedy, action, drama and romance. The makers came to me with the concept of a stage reality film. They told me they would shoot it at an award show, with everybody doing a cameo in it and having funny scenes. I found it interesting and felt I should be a part of this. I wanted to see what kind of an experience it would be. And, it was amazing.
What kind of comedy do you like?
Anything that makes me laugh. I can watch a slapstick comedy, or something with sensible, or dry humour. Andaz Apna Apna is my all-time favourite comedy movie. I would love to do a mad comedy. I would also like to be part of a sensible comedy like 3 Idiots, which along with being funny had a lot of emotions and a lovely message.
How difficult or easy is it for you to do comedy?
I would call myself a funny person. I like to make people laugh, and it doesn’t take much to make me laugh. Comedy, kind of, comes to me naturally. Shooting for this film was a one-of-a-kind experience because nobody knew what we were doing. They were thinking documentary ban rahi hai award show par, but we made a feature film! Imagine shooting amidst the fans on the green carpet? How can you explain to them that we’re shooting for a film? But that’s exactly what happened. I remember there was this confusion, too. I had worn a sari for the film shoot, and then I changed to my red carpet outfit to attend the awards. People were like, ‘Why is she wearing two outfits at the same show?’
That sari was talked about because it was loud and colourful. In fact, your look in the film is distinct…
That’s because the character I play is mad! She is a fashion designer with a quirky sense of style. She thinks she is stylish irrespective of whether other people agree with her or not. She is secure about her fashion sense, but is a little bit of a crackhead. I had to bring out those quirks of her personality in the way she dresses with loud, colourful outfits, but with a traditional touch in the form of her bindi, and jewellery. I feel the bindi is a beautiful accessory for an Indian woman. She is a Gujarati girl close to her roots. So, though she wears western clothes, it has an ethnic touch.
How was it working with Diljit Dosanjh?
Diljit is reserved, but in front of the camera, he just transforms into a completely different person, which is a mark of a good actor. So, off screen, even if he did not talk much, on screen we had a great equation.
You are acting with two big Punjabi stars — Diljit and Jassi Gill (Happy Bhaag Jaayegi 2). Will this help you to increase your reach in Punjab?
I hope so. Anyway, I have got a good foothold in the North because of my father’s roots and the kind of films I have done in the past like Dabangg, Rowdy Rathore and Son Of Sardaar which did very well there. Now, my upcoming films will only add to it. Next, I have Dabangg 3 coming up. I am really looking forward to it. Everything is falling into place (smiles).
There have been reports of another heroine being a part of Dabangg 3…
(Cuts in) As of now, I am Rajjo and I will always be. Whether the script has another heroine or not, it is the producer or the director’s call.
You were once considered the golden girl of box office as you had successive Rs 100 crore hits. But that is no longer the case. How have you dealt with it?
I am still the golden girl, asli sona (laughs). There’s nothing to deal with. I am doing some good work, whether it was Akira, a character like Noor, or a film like Ittefaq. Yes, earlier there was a trend of movies like Rowdy Rathore and Son Of Sardaar, but now is the time to experiment. My recent films may not have done big numbers box office-wise, but creatively, it has been satisfying to be a part of them. When I did those films, people said I had nothing much to do in them. Now, I’m asked why I’m not doing those kind of movies anymore. You can’t please everybody. I have to see what makes me happy and challenges me. Only when you are happy and balanced, will that translate on screen.
But aren’t you missing those huge box-office figures?
Even when I was getting those figures, they did not matter to me. What matters to me is the love of the audience. Lootera didn’t do big numbers, but even today, whenever somebody meets me, that is the first film they mention to me. The box-office figures are based on how many people have seen your film, how many screens it was released in — a lot of factors are involved. Ittefaq was in a different genre. It was a small film, which opened in a lesser number of screens, but it was still a hit. Even Akira for that matter was a great opportunity for me to work with AR Murugadoss and show that I can do action. What didn’t work was the film’s budget. It should have been made on a much more controlled budget. It made Rs 30-35 crore in India alone, which is a great number for a singular female lead project. I got tremendous appreciation for doing an action film like that. And that’s what matters. Honestly, my last few films have got me much more appreciation than the earlier ones.