My life is like cross stitch
Nothing tastes or succeeds the same as success, and Adah Sharma is the best example of this. Her most recent release, the contentious The Kerala Story, which outperformed the highest-grossing female-led films, including Alia Bhatt’s Gangubai Kathiawadi, at the box office with more than Rs 300 crore (globally), has given the so-called outsider cause to smile.
Adah laughs and says, “I feel very important. It simply demonstrates to the industry that everyone must be given a chance and not underestimate anyone.”
Despite the fact that industry heavyweights such as Naseeruddin Shah and Kamal Hassan have criticised The Kerala Story for being a propaganda film, the actor says, “Yes, many perceived it to be such, but I stand by it. There is a wealth of information available. It is not a home-made video; the victims spoke, and there are testimonials from the girls’ parents. I’m glad we had the support of these brave girls who spoke out. Also, you don’t want the film to be propaganda in order for it to be a blockbuster, or vice versa. We want a good film that connects well. At least in our country, everyone is free to express themselves.”
Adah, the proverbial outsider, observes, though she is unsure whether the success of The Kerala Story will translate into more work for her.
“Because I am not from the industry, finding great opportunities to work is extremely difficult. I’m sure those in the industry face challenges I’m not aware of. I’m aware of my difficulties, and I want to maintain perceptions in everything I do. At least I’m not sitting on my throne and saying I only work with this person and not that actor,” she chuckles, adding, “Audience is smart, they are not swayed by genres, or production houses representing certain actors, they want good content.”
However, she takes a strong stance against recent headlines highlighting Adah’s demotion following The Kerala Story, as she returns to the Commando franchise. This time sharing screen space with relative newcomer Prem Parrijaa, who replaces Vidyut Jamwal. “It’s wonderful to be able to collaborate with both established stars and newcomers. The media has been kind to me, but when they write hurtful things like this, you subconsciously influence the public. Even before someone has made their debut, you are dismissing them because their flaw is that they are a newcomer, which is very disheartening.”
Adah does not have an overactive PR machinery amplifying her every move for eyeballs, despite having nearly nine million followers. “My social media postings are random; while the rest of the world posts three times a week, I get anxious doing it. My social media is how I connect with my audience without the star persona.”
As she prepares to reprise her much-loved character Bhavna Reddy in Commando, she says it’s amazing that after playing a victim, she’s now a saviour. When asked if there is anything she would never change about her life, she responds,
“I am not going to change anything, my life is like cross stitch, if I change one thing, I will have to redo everything else. All good, bad, and indifferent sets that made me cry and feel awful. I’ll take it all.”
She is candid when she says she has questioned her decision to work on sets where she has been treated poorly.
“Those were the times I questioned myself, they should have just paid me more for doing that content. I live by my hashtag, that is 100 years of Adah Sharma, I started with 1920 and am here to say beyond,” she signs off.