Jawan audition was out of the blue: Sanjeeta Bhattacharya

After a star-studded debut with Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, and Nayanthara, artiste Sanjeeta Bhattacharya, has made her mark in the entertainment industry not only as an actor but also as a singer and songwriter. In an exclusive interview with Deccan Chronicle, she shares her journey from a fledgling artist to a recognised face in Bollywood.


Picture Courtesy : DC

How did you land the role of Helena the Hacker?

It happened unexpectedly. I had only done a few ad films and a Netflix show, Feels Like Ishq, before auditioning for Jawan in August 2021. I didn’t know it was for ‘Red Chillies Entertainment’ (Production company), or who the co-actors were. It was my first film audition, so I did my best and forgot about it.

Back in Delhi, I was more into music and unaware of the industry's big names, like Mukesh Chhabra and Priya Mani. When I got the role, I couldn’t believe it was a movie with Shah Rukh Khan, Nayanthara, and Deepika Padukone. It felt predestined, like a culmination of my life’s work in music and dance.

How has your journey been as an actor from Feels Like Ishq to Jawan?

Incredible. Feels Like Ishq was my first long-form acting experience, portraying a queer person and learning new skills like riding a scooty. After that, I did more ad films, and then Jawan came along. The journey has been organic, with each project leading to the next. Working with iconic people in projects like Broken News and Adbhut has been a blessing.

What prompted you to take on LGBTQ characters at the start of your career? And what's your take on the recent Supreme Court judgement on same-sex marriage?

I believe you should be allowed to love who you love, so I'm glad the government recognises that right. I chose the role because the character, Muskaan, felt relatable and close to my heart, not because she was bisexual. I’m a strong ally of the community and will continue to support it.

You don multiple hats: actor, singer, songwriter, composer. Which one do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy all of them as they make me who I am. Music and dance have been a part of my life since I was five, while acting is a newfound love from three years ago. I hope to continue loving all these roles and never get tired of them. Ideally, I’d like projects where I can act, sing, and write, like in Jawan.

How did Miss Chika's, the Spanish song in Jawan, happen?

During dinner with the cast and crew, Shah Rukh Khan asked me to sing. I performed my Spanish song Pensarte, and Atli sir liked it so much that he asked if I would sing for the film. A month before the film’s release, Atli sir asked me to write and sing a Spanish song, which I did within a day.

How was the experience of sharing screen space with Shah Rukh Khan, writing lyrics, and singing for Anirudh Ravichander, and acting under Atlee's direction?

Atlee is like an elder brother, very approachable and a visionary. He knows what the audience needs and can deliver powerful messages subtly. Anirudh is a sweetheart and very humble. Shah Rukh Khan, despite being an icon, is incredibly kind and generous, treating everyone with respect.

Sharing space with Shah Rukh khan

Picture Courtesy : DC

You were a part of Azad's gang of girls. How’s the friendship now?

Our bond is strong. We have a WhatsApp group called Good To Go Chief, where we constantly update each other on our lives. We support each other’s events and projects, and I’m thankful for these friendships.

Take us through your journey as a musician, singer, and songwriter. What kind of music do you make and what inspires you?

I’ve been a student of music since I was five, learning Indian classical music and Kathak. I studied at Berklee College of Music and started writing my own songs in 2017. My journey as a songwriter began with my first song, I Will Wait. Since then, I’ve toured and played music internationally. Now, I’m focusing on releasing more music and exploring film music, having worked on projects like Jawan and several regional films.

Sanjeeta in Broken News

Picture Courtesy : DC

How was it working with Jaideep Ahlawat, Sonali Bendre, and Shreya Pilgaonka?

Jaideep is genuine and focused on the art. Sonali Bendre is sweet and easy to talk to. Shreya and I bonded instantly, becoming best friends from the first day.

Sanjeeta with Sonali Bendre in Broken News

Picture Courtesy : DC

You're playing a journalist in Broken News. Do we get to see you playing a journalist in real life?

When I was little, I wanted to be a travel show host. I’d love to anchor a show or report once in my life. Maybe a travel journalism show would be a great fit.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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