Anushka Sharma teams up with Shah Rukh Khan for the third time in Jab Harry Met Sejal. The actress believes that her bond with Shah Rukh has kept on getting better with every passing film and is quite excited to share the screen space with the superstar for the fourth time in director Aanand L Rai’s next film.
Sharma, who made it by herself in this industry believes that nepotism does exist but the industry is open enough to accept talent from outside citing Shah Rukh Khan, Imtiaz Ali and herself as the prime example. Ahead of the film release, she spoke to InUth about the film in a group interview about why doesn’t she prefer playing the similar characters and a lot more. Excerpts
Was there any reference point while playing a Gujarati character in Jab Harry Met Sejal?
Imtiaz, as a director, does not like taking references from anywhere as he likes to create his own characters and I really appreciate that, as a lot of times directors tell you ‘Yeh Aisa Hai, Waisa Hai‘. The idea was to not make her seem like a caricature simply because she isn’t someone like that. I am happy that the Gujarati accent came out naturally. The reason for her Gujarati accent also speaks about the environment in which she has been born and brought up as she is only surrounded by her cousins and family members.
The characters in Imtiaz Ali films often have several layers. Would we get to see different shades of Sejal in this film?
Imtiaz has always been good with his female characters or rather, characters in general. But I would say female characters in specific because there is a dearth of good female characters written in this industry. I believe, the journey of Sejal in this film is very interesting. How she goes to the same places with a completely different perspective when she is on a journey to find her ring with Harry and how Harry influences her… and all that, so yes, the character definitely has an arc. The character is pretty much like any person’s life wherein you tend to change with the environment you live in and I think that’s the beauty of this character. There is definitely a special journey that Sejal has which is very interesting to watch.
Was the Sejal wave always a part of this script?
The Sejal wave was always in the script. Sejal is a kind of person who is so proud of her name that she would explain the meaning of her name while having a conversation.
How much could you relate to the character of Sejal?
The character of Sejal is very different from who I am in real life. It is difficult to create a completely different character in a romantic comedy as the difference can only be in the thought process of the character. Here, she has zero depth and is very superficial. She knows how to get the things done. She doesn’t know what life means and all she cares about is shopping. She thinks she is street smart as she can talk via face-time or bargain with the shop keeper. The thing which I could relate to the most was the fact that she doesn’t pretend to be someone else.
In an interview, you said ‘Shah Rukh Khan is a great human being’ but refused to comment on his acting skills. What do you have to say about the same?
It is a very inside joke and Shah Rukh has taken my case on this. Firstly, I think I was never in the position to talk about him as an actor. I mean, who the hell am I to tell him ‘Aap Bade Ache Actor Ho‘. In general, I believe, you could be very good at whatever work you are doing professionally but if you are not a good person, it holds no value for me. For me, liking somebody for what they are and who they are as people is far more important. He was so nice to me and never made me feel as if it was my first film (during Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi). Being a good human being is a far bigger achievement than being a good actor. May be in the real world, it holds no value at all, but for me, it holds a lot of value.
What makes you sign a film? Does the length of character in the film matter to you?
I don’t think the length of a character has ever mattered to me otherwise I would have never done a film like Dil Dhadakne Do as I didn’t have a big role in that film. The criteria to chose a film is the script, story and is my character something different from what I have done before. My work has to constantly keep changing for me to be relevant. I can’t keep repeating my roles as I believe it is quite boring to do so as an actor.
The industry is passing through a very dull phase currently as there have been only 3 to 4 successful films this year. Where do you think are we going wrong?
I think it is a great thing because as an industry we need to recognize that you can’t take people for granted and content is the king. Films are only going to work on the basis of what your story is and how well you have made your film. It is not going to be because of any other reasons that we have associated the successful films too. I think lows are very important in everyone’s life as they teach you a lot and help you to get stronger. In the industry as well, it would help the people to review and re-look at a lot of things. It is nice to see films like Hindi Medium doing well and getting that kind of acceptance. It proves only one thing that people are looking for good stories and if you present them with a good story, they will watch it no matter watch. Audiences won’t watch the film anymore just because it stars a superstar or has a very good music album.
Do you think the concept of super-stardom will soon fade?
You can’t judge that sitting over here but what I can see for sure is that content is going to be above the superstars.
Directed by Imtiaz Ali, Jab Harry Met Sejal is slated to release on August 4.