She sashayed to the forefront with ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’ matching frames with Shah Rukh Khan, no less, and savoured the thrills of hoodwinking in ‘Badmaash Company’ alongside Shahid Kapoor. ‘Band Baaja Baaraat’, her third effort from Yash Raj Films, showcases Anushka Sharma as a wedding planner beside newfind Ranveer Singh. Anushka asserts that the con game, cinematically, is surely a thing of the past. Ajit Ramachanddran spotlights the sparkling actress?
Her sunny spirits contrast superbly with the black ensemble. High on ebullience, Anushka Sharma, all gung ho over ‘Band Baaja Baaraat’ is busy reeling off her quotes in what seems like an endless stream of inter phews?
Within the environs of Yash Raj Studios in Mumbai, the Aditya Chopra prot?g? is getting her beverage fix, sipping intermittently, even as she ensures that the enthusiasm in responses never ever dips. Giggles and raucous laughter pierce the calm confines of YRF, adding to the gaiety buzzing the air.
‘Band Baaja Baaraat’ showcases Anushka alongside newfind Ranveer Singh and the movie helmed by debut director Maneesh Sharma, centred around nuptials and wedding planners, is being touted as a fun filled flick, replete with extravagance, wit, comedy and what have you.
You’re twiddling your thumbs, awaiting your turn? and minutes later you’re ushered into the presence of Senorita Sharma. Excerpts from a knotty chat.
Since you’re playing a wedding planner in ‘BBB’, give me good tips on how to plan a wedding?
Apart from all the basic things that are required in a wedding that is food, decorations, lighting, guest list and displacement of guests and making sure that everything goes right; what Bittu Sharma and Shruti Kakkar, the characters that Ranveer and I play in the film do, is that they add a personal touch to every wedding. They develop a rapport with the bride and groom and their families. They try to understand their needs and their likes and dislikes and they cater to that in the wedding. So that’s what we do in the wedding and that’s key.
You’ve mentioned that your director Maneesh Sharma is your friend, but you also said that he was quite strict on the sets?
Actually, Maneesh and I go a long way. He was the person who auditioned me for ‘Rab Ne?’, it’s really nice for me to work for him now in his first film. He was very instrumental in opening the doors for me in YRF. We got friendly during ‘Rab Ne..’. As he is a friend, he knows a lot about me; he knows my plus points and my negatives. There are certain things and certain gestures I make which I am not aware of, but he knows it. He shot that in the movie which is a surprise for me because I don’t know I do those things, but he noticed them. I am very happy that he offered me this film. It is a pleasure to work with a friend. I don’t come from a filmy family and I won’t have any filmy friends who will make movies for me. Maneesh has taken good work out of me. He is a director to look out for, a great story teller, he’s precise, and knows exactly what he wants. His film is direct and entertaining and that is what we need. And surely, ‘Band Baaja..’ is a film to look out for.
What was your first reaction when Maneesh approached you with the script of ‘BBB’?
I am a sucker for romantic comedies. Ever since I became an actress, which was not very long ago, I wanted to do a romantic comedy, but I don’t see such films being made in our country, like something I can fall in love with. I fell in love with this script as soon as it was narrated to me. When Maneesh narrated the script to me I did not realise how those three/three and a half hours passed. I was completely engrossed because Maneesh’s narration was lovely. His understanding of the characters was great. He was narrating exactly how he wanted the characters to say the dialogues. I understood the idea and the world of the film instantly because of the narration and I was in love with the film.
What appealed to you the most as regards the ‘BBB’ romcom?
It’s very rare that you get a Hindi film script which is a romcom? in a romcom there is never a story. It’s always about a boy meeting a girl… how they meet, what happens, what’s the conflict this is always the story. It’s the story telling in this script, the screen play and the dialogues that completely grasp you as a listener. The script of ‘BBB’ completely took over me when I read it, and this is very rare in a Hindi film. ‘Band Baaja Baaraat’ is a romcom, it is a love story but with a lot of ‘desipan’ to it… ‘coz the characters are so grounded that you relate to it and become completely part of the film. That is what is so lovely about the movie and script.
From Bangalore model to actress in YRF three films, are you happy with your improvement as an actress?
Without sounding too pompous, I think I have improved with everything which is quite natural, because you get more confident in front of the camera. The only thing I have realised is that in my first film I was only acting. But during my second and third film there were so many things that were happening; I was shooting for ads, magazines, interacting with the media. You just need to concentrate more and that’s one thing that I have learnt. Apart from that as you go ahead in this field you understand a lot of things. You get more confident in front of the camera because you understand the technicalities about film making, and try to adopt that in your performance. I have tried to do that. I am doing different characters because I don’t want to mould myself into one character. That will be very boring and I get bored of stuff very easily, so that won’t really work for me.
You had plenty of disguises in ‘Badmaash Company’, any of that happening in ‘BBB’?
No, I have given up conning and now I am only doing good things. I am organising weddings, I am ‘kamaoing punya’.
How would you describe Shruti Kakkar of ‘Band Baaja Baaraat’?
If I were to describe Shruti Kakkar I would say that she’s a girl who is very systematic; if she gets an A4 sheet, she will draw a margin, she will write the date. Shruti is very meticulous. She won’t just randomly jot down things. She is very cool, confident, knows what she wants to do in life and isn’t intimidated by men. Shruti thinks that she has got her entire life planned. She’s also very frank, spunky and rude in a very endearing way. I have related a lot to this character because I think Shruti is somebody who any other girl can relate to. She is a girl who has been assembled or modelled in a way that any girl in Delhi or in any other city who wants to do a lot in life.
What’s your take on the unusual profession of wedding planners?
Till sometime ago the professions parents wanted their kids to enter into were medical, legal or engineering. Apart from that there was nothing and going into anything else meant that because they couldn’t do anything else the kid is doing this. But with Shruti, in this film, she always wanted to be a wedding planner and her parents were always supportive of what she wanted to do. I think things are changing in our society and parents are allowing their kids to do what they want to do. Avenues are opening up much more and there is scope for other professions now. You see that in this film, but you don’t see it in Hindi cinema. And it’s not spelt out, but you can get a sense of it. Shruti stands for today’s generation, today’s youth. She wants to be a wedding planner. In India, this is a service only provided to the high society with a high budget. What is interesting is that in this movie we have shown how these people with this service take over middle class society and small weddings. There is a dialogue in the film ?maame chaache milke shaadiyaan karaan lete hain.? But here we show how the kids get into Gobindpuri and Janakpuri and plan weddings there, which is unheard of.
Tabloids insist that you’re romantically involved with your male lead Ranveer Singh?
I don’t think it is fair, because it takes the focus out of your work onto things that are not important, like relationships which I am not talking about. I think if I were in a relationship ever in my life and it’s something that I can talk about and I am serious about it, I will talk to people about it. But if it’s not happening, I don’t want people to sit and speculate about my love life. Having said that I know we don’t live in an idealistic world and people will not always do the right thing. These are things that make news and people enjoy reading it, so people will write about it. I just ignore it and carry on with my life.
A lot though is being said about the chemistry between the two of you onscreen?
It is a huge misconception that chemistry comes from actors. Chemistry comes from characters and from the script? when the script is so well written as this one was. If you are a decent actor and honest to your job and have a decent understanding of your character, then you just do your thing honestly. Ranveer and I have not discussed what should we do so that the chemistry works. Even Maneesh never discussed this. We simply came together and performed and there you have Bittoo and Shruti!
What do you think is Ranveer’s strongpoint as an actor?
I think Ranveer’s biggest quality as an actor, apart from the fact that he is very sincere and hard working, is that he is extremely uninhibited and according to me that is the biggest quality an actor can have; the fact that you don’t feel shy of doing anything or attempting something. Ranveer won’t say no for doing something just ’cause it doesn’t go with his image. If it is what his character wants him to do, he will go for it. He makes his character so much more relatable. Ranveer has a long way to go and I really enjoyed working with him in ‘BBB’. He is a very good actor and I have learnt a lot from him, in spite of it being his first film, which just shows that he has lots to offer to people. So please come and watch him in the movie.
Did you guide Ranveer along the way?
I used to actually get nostalgic when I saw Ranveer’s journey especially the time when he was doing his auditions. I met him while he was doing auditions. I used to feel I know exactly what it feels like being in that place. So every stage of Ranveer’s journey, especially auditions, I have been able to relate to. I was exactly in that same place two years ago, so I felt a little protective towards him for this reason ‘coz I saw myself there. Like the first time his picture came in the newspapers in Delhi, he was saying people are saying this and that and I completely could relate to that. When I acted in ‘RNBDJ’ for the first time, I just wanted to be instructed enough and then left alone. That’s how I am so far. So here, I just did my reading with Ranveer and left him alone and you never had to tell anything to Ranveer. Maneesh was always handling him. Maneesh just used to say bring this down, tone this up, you never really had to say much to him as he was always prepared, he knew his lines, was focussed. So he did his bit and if he needed anything, I was always around him. And what big knowledge could I have given him? After all, I’m also only two films old?
What do you think is the USP of ‘BBB’?
I think everything is the USP of the film. Everything in isolation, the music, dialogues, direction, acting, and the costumes, everyone has done such a great job, that if you isolate one department that itself will be the USP of the film. I think it has resulted in an overall quality product. The whole film is a big USP in itself.
Wasn’t there a funny incident that took place on the first day of filming ‘BBB’?
It had to do with Ranveer. He is a method actor so he does a few exercises before he comes on set and gives his dialogues. So Ranveer used to come skipping to set because he is a highly energetic person in the film, so he wanted to build up on his energy so he would start skipping or start doing ‘kapaal bhaati’ It was very distracting in the beginning. For me, it was very scary and I got worried. I wanted to be nice to me because it was his first film, but at the same time I wanted to hit him with all the plates that were in front of me. But I got used to it later. But I thought he was sweet also.
You also have a kissing scene with Ranveer in ‘BBB’?
Yes, and it’s integral to the film. If the kissing is taken out of context, only then will it seem vulgar. Otherwise, neither the director, Ranveer or I would have gone in for it in the first place. In fact, it’s the most important scene in the film, and after a point, it’s what drives the film. It’s been shot aesthetically and it’s not there to add dirt or sensation to the film.
Have you signed any more films with the Yash Raj banner?
My next film is ‘Patiala House’ which will be coming out in February 2011.