She essayed a simple, comely sort in her YRF debut ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’ alongside Shah Rukh Khan and zoomed her way into the hearts of cinegoers. In a dramatic volte face, ‘Badmaash Company’ showcases Anushka Sharma as a saucy, conning glam gal paired opposite the versatile Shahid Kapoor
As she sashays into the rehearsal hall of the famed Yash Raj Studios in suburban Mumbai, Anuskha Sharma looks around fondly and familiarly. And her starry sights settle onto two YRF gals togged up in white and denims. “Why are you two so colour coordinated?” she demands to know impishly. “But the white is so soothing, it’s good to look at you.”
Ditto Sharma. Togged in a gray black top and denim ensemble, the model turned actress looks quite fetching, even as she engages in light banter with Shahid Kapoor and Meiyang Chang, her co actors in Yash Raj Films’ conning opus ‘Badmaash Company,’ helmed by Parmeet Sethi.
Hailing from an armed forces background, the Bangalore girl had plans of striking it big in the biz of modelling, though cinema was never a preferred option. “I wasn’t a film buff,” she admits. “And I didn’t even know that it was Aditya Chopra who had directed ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge!’
A forthcoming YRF venture wherein she’s cast opposite debutant Ranveer Singh and producer Nikhil Advani’s ‘Patiala House’ are all set to illumine Sharma’s histrionics further. Excerpts from a chat with the perky actress?
What was your first reaction to the script of ‘Badmaash Company’?
I was completely and entirely sold on the script when I read it for the first time. Also I was not told who had written it. So I was completely unaware. I was just given a script and told to read it. In fact, I had to read it on my way to London where I headed for a few days. But on my way home from Yash Raj Studios, I started reading it. When I reached home, I took a cup of tea and continued to read it and I finished it in two hours. I loved it so much! I immediately called up Adi and told him I was doing the film!
What’s the appealing part about your character Bulbul?
Bulbul is unapologetic, by the way she speaks, by the way she dresses and by the way she behaves with everyone around her. She is aggressive because she is independent. Bulbul is straightforward and I think it’s great, because she is not pretentious. She calls a spade a spade. She lives alone in Mumbai and aspires to be a model. Any girl living alone who is taking care of herself would be able to relate to Bulbul. You need to be a bit of a man to live alone, and Bulbul is that. She is gutsy and takes care of herself. So she may come across as aggressive, but actually she is a very soft girl, very sensitive. But she’ still one of the boys!
Could you find any points of similarity between Bulbul and yourself?
I think as an actor you should be able to play anything. I did identify with some of qualities that Bulbul has. I am very straightforward. I cannot be pressurised, I do things my own way. So I identified with Bulbul on these points.
The film is set in the 90s. What kind of research did you do for your role?
I spent about two months researching on the 90s. The look, the fashion, the music. My computer was filled with photographs from all over the internet. It’s so interesting to be in another time, in another space. It was so much fun. In 1994, I was too young to remember anything from that time. I completely enjoyed the prep period of the film.
You probably had a lot of fun working with your costars?
This was my second film, and I was working with people closer to my age. So it was fun, because we were travelling together, eating out, watching plays, and we did all of that! We got along really well. And it was great because our relationship brought about a terrific chemistry, great dynamics on screen.
How was it working with debutant director Parmeet Sethi?
For a first time director, he was very self assured. He knew what he had to do; he did his homework, came on sets and knew what kind of shots he wanted. And he would go back with just that. His vision was very clear. As a person, he developed a rapport with his actors which is very helpful. Most importantly, he was breathing the film! He would never call Shahid by his name, or me or Chang or Vir. We would be out on the streets or at dinner and he would call us by our screen names! I think he was completely absorbed by the film, and the end result is great. So, kudos for that!
You’ll also be seen sporting many different disguises in the film?
As an actor, it’s fun, at the same time challenging, to play a different character within the character you are playing in the film. Acting out those disguises was even more fun! I wish I could have done half the film in disguises, it was that much fun!
Have you conned anyone in real life?
I think I’ve been conning my parents into believing that they have made a great piece and that I’m damn good (laughs). No, I haven’t conned anyone, so it was great doing it in the film. And doing it without doing it illegally, in different shots, in different lighting! Yeah, it was a lot of fun.
‘Badmaash Company’ has been filmed in US and Bangkok. Surely, you must have had a lot of fun?
It was a young crew and everyone got along with each other. Even within America we travelled to Philadelphia, to New York, Atlantic City. So it was a great bonding period for a whole month. And the great part is that we didn’t have to try too hard either. Also the foreign crew works in a different way, they don’t work around the clock, so we got a lot of time to do a lot of other things.
Did you gamble while you were abroad?
No, I didn’t. I think it was a tough schedule and we had a lot to do. So I decided to rest and just watch the other people in the casino gamble! I was afraid that if I started gambling, my crew would move on and I would still be stuck on the slot machines!!
Did almost every member swim in the sea at Pattaya one night?
Yeah, and I think that it was much needed, especially the crew who had a lot of work, even after the shoots. But it was a night to remember, everyone had a lot of fun!
Any memorable moment connected with the making of ‘Badmaash Company’?
I won’t really talk about a particular moment in the film, but I really feel that this movie was an out an out learning experience for me, because I was very protected in my first film. At that time I didn’t feel it, but now I do. Apart from that, ‘Badmaash Company’ is an ambitious film, there is a growth in characters, relationships between the characters, all that really makes you a true actor. So I have really grown as a person in this film and I’m glad that this film came my way.
Your intimate scene with Shahid Kapoor is being talked about quite a bit?
People might think otherwise, but I can say that it is the most mechanical thing you can do onscreen? although I was doing it for the first time! All you are doing is shooting a scene. All of us, the director, the producer, the actors have been honest to the script because it’s a great script. The more honest you are, the better will be the kind of film you make. So if the script requires a certain chemistry, or relationship between the actors, we have no option but to do it. And I believe that’s the right approach to it too. I am an actor, I will do everything I need to do to justify a script and justify the character in the script. This particular scene, even though its being spoken of as a “kissing scene”, is important to lay down the foundation for these people. The passion that they share, and the relationship they had. When you see the film, you will see why it was needed. We had to show a certain degree to which the relationship had progressed.