Intense Roles Do Leave Some Scars, Says Adah Sharma

You have to be insensitive to not get affected by the pain of your characters, says Adah!

She debuted as Lisa Singh Rathore in 1920- a horror movie, played Hayati in Heart Attack, portrayed the intense role of Shalini/Fatima in The Kerala Story and is now set to play a central character in the upcoming film, Bastar: The Naxal Story. She is also a trained gymnast, Kathak dancer and a practitioner of Silambam an Indian martial art.

Multi talented Adah Sharma talks about her journey in Tinseltown, approach to acting and life in conversation with Deccan Chronicle.

Your Dasara dance and song video was lovely. But you have not done a dance movie yet.

Thank you ! I guess when the time is right I will get an opportunity to do a dance movie as well. I've already gotten so much more than I could have asked for.

How often do you practice Kathak?

I Carry my ghungroos on shoot as well. A few days a week.

These days, movies are labelled as a propaganda even before their release. Do you think that influences audience perception?

I think the audience is very intelligent and makes their own decision. Calling something propaganda without knowing what exactly it is is propaganda in itself. But we live in a free country everyone is entitled to their opinion. They are allowed one even before watching a film.

Intense roles could leave a deep impact on your mind. Did any of your movies affect you that way?

Yes definitely. But then they are supposed to, right? I don't want to be so desensitised to another's pain that it leaves no impact. We absorb so much material to extract emotions for intense roles so I think it has definitely left some scars.

There was a lot of backlash over Kerala story. How did you deal with it?

The love we got for the film kind of muted any backlash. Also the backlash was from people who chose to not view the film. That then I think is unfair to call backlash. It was a choice they made. And freedom of choice is what our country celebrates. It made me happy people had that freedom unlike the women in the Kerala story.

Tell us what happened after your phone number was leaked

Everytime I turned my phone off aeroplane mode, it would hang. I had a phone detox for a month.

How do you deal with social media trolls?

With social media you don't have to deal with anyone. There is no compulsion. So I choose to not deal with them.

What do you think of movie critics and social media reviews?

Each one is different. I don't stereotype people. I have separate thoughts for each critic . Many have such wonderful command over the English language. The adjectives and phases they use are delightful.

What kind of roles appeal to you?

All kinds. Maybe roles that are different from what I am in real life appeal to me the most.

Do you see gender discrimination in the film industry?

I've been fortunate that most of the people I've worked with have been really good. Though I hope there is a time in the near future that we wouldn't need to ask about gender equality and it would be assumed that equality among all genders is normal.

Can you recall an instance when you were sidelined by the makers of the movie after the wrap-up, even though you had a big role in the film?

As an actor my job is to do my best. Make my character as believable as I can.
Makers of the movies know their promotional strategies best and how they should market their movies.

You have worked in a few Telugu movies. How was your Tollywood experience?

It taught me so much as a person. I learned a new language as well. I connected with a whole new audience. People in Hyderabad still call me Hayaati from “Heart Attack.” It feels really nice.

What's your take on awards and box office numbers?

In awards I guess any sort of validation feels nice. With social media all the attention and art , and fan edits are like awards daily. Box office numbers mean your movie is doing well or not doing well. When you make a movie you want a lot of people to go watch it! So good numbers = yayyy!!

Do you think talent is enough or you need contacts to break through the film industry?

I'm not sure if you need one or both but one thing I'm sure you need is divine intervention

Are you somebody that conforms to the norm or want to live on your terms?

For the movies i think I've made it very clear with my choices that i don't conform to norms. In real life I don't know what is normal and what isn't, to be honest.

Romance, action, comedy, thriller, drama—which genre do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy all !! Equally. Can't choose. You can have an action drama , romantic comedy , action romance, horror comedy everything.

Your instagram gives a very positive vibe about you. How do you keep yourself motivated?

I look at nature and if I'm sad then mostly all my sadness goes away. For the little percentage that stays behind, I eat rice and then I'm okay.

Do you hang out with your co-stars/colleagues?

Yes . But usually while filming that project. After that it gets tough to meet in person because everyone else is on another project and travelling. But we keep in touch via the phone.

Your one golden advice to aspiring actors.

Don't wait to be happy. If you wait to be happy, till you get a film, then you will wait to be happy till it releases , then you wait till it becomes a hit, then you wait till you get your next ... Try being happy now.

Rapid fire

• If not an actress what would you be?
A professional Whistler

• That one thing that makes you happy?
Watching birds

• What's your worst fear?
Being stuck vertically in a thin pipe with my spine twisted.

• Your comfort food?
Rice and avial

• What's the best thing about Hyderabad?
The people!

• Party person or a home person
Party for one at home always!

• How do you unwind?
I take insect videos and make elaborate edits of them.

• Books or OTT?
Both !!

• Recent movie you watched and loved?
I watched Deewar and Guide yesterday on the flight again and fell in love with both again.

• Favourite Telugu actors? Directors on your wish list?
My dream is to be on the wish list of all actors and directors. That would be fun no? Me having them on my list, how is that fun!

• An actor you look up to?
I did a short film called Aisa waisa pyar- pyar is a Bitch. The lead actor in that was a dog. I look up to him because he didn't let anything or anyone on set bother him or his performance. He was so natural in front of the camera i
I couldn't tell if it was real or he was acting.

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