Sonakshi Sinha has always chosen films that are family-oriented. And so, one could sit through films such as Lootera, Dabangg, and Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi with parents in tow, and without anybody squirming in their seats. But the star kid’s upcoming film will see her walking down a quirkier lane, as her character holds a ‘call a spade a spade’ approach to discussing sex. Titled Khandaani Shafakhana, the film aims to normalise discussions around the topic, and presents a character (played by Sonakshi) who runs a sex clinic, and is trying to nudge the topic of sex into mainstream conversation in Indian society.
The actress gave us a glimpse of her envelope-pushing self, as she engaged in a free-wheeling chat about sex, a topic that is normally discussed in hushed tones or with euphemisms.
We don’t see commercial actresses getting into this zone. You seem to be the flag-bearer...
I am glad to do a film on this topic. We always had a male protagonist with such subjects, so I feel happy that I am able to be a flag bearer.
If somebody gave you a one-line description of this film, you would think of five other actors but never Sonakshi, which was my first reaction as well. When I was given the first one-liner, I was like ‘how can I do a film like that?’ but when I heard the script, I felt I have to be a part of this film.
Sex is still considered a taboo topic, And to add to it, when a woman speaks about sex, she is regarded as outspoken. How do you react to this discrimination?
If you have a fever and cold, then you go to a doctor and you are not shy about it. But when people have sexual disorders, it is all done in a hush-hush tone; nobody goes to a clinic or talks about it. But why? Sex is the most natural thing in the world. It’s why you and I are here today, so why don’t we talk about it?
It is so wrong. Why should something be okay for Peter and not for Paul; we were both put on this planet with equal capacity. We are all gunning for equality at the end of the day, and if you can see a male protagonist do a film like that, then you should have the guts and brains to see a female doing it as well. I feel films like Vicky Donor and Shubh Mangal Saavdhan paved the way for a film like this, and they have done so well. People have agreed with it, so it’s a positive sign. I am sure people are going to think when they watch this film.
You have always catered to the family audience. Are you worried this film could dent that image?
I am still maintaining that I will only do family films, which can be watched with the family. I guarantee you that we will have the best family audience for this film. Everybody needs to see this film, not only because it is entertaining, but also because it’s informative. Living in a country where we are not open about sex, will make people see this with logic. There is nothing cheap or vulgar about it. Nothing will make you cringe.
It is also good to see how the audience and industry has opened up to a female carrying a film on her shoulders in this male-dominated industry.
I think it’s great; it just shows how much a producer-director trusts you to be able to do that. Today, it’s all about money more than anything else, and so when people are showing that kind of faith in you, it’s a proud achievement. Every time I get offered a film like that, I feel good. In fact, it just happened and wasn’t planned.
So when I started off and was the quintessential Hindi commercial film heroine doing commercial blockbusters, those were the kind of films being offered to me and I was more than happy doing them. Whatever I have done, I have loved it. Then somebody offered me Lootera and then I got Akira. So for me, it is very instinctive. Then, post Akira, with films like that coming my way, I enjoy all kinds of cinema.
Your last film Kalank tanked, and in the recent past, a few of your films have not worked. As an actress who was commercially successful, how do you seek validation when your film fails?
The outcome of your film is never in your hands; all you can do is to give your best as an actor. In any of my films that have not worked, my performance has never been panned. I have always been appreciated for my performance, which makes me happy, and that is the validation I need. The box office result of a film is not in my control, and I don’t believe in dwelling or stressing over things that I can’t control. When a film doesn’t do well, you do feel bad, but then you move on because you have already started your next film and you put your energy there. So it happens to everyone.
Do you still see yourself as a bankable actress?
Sona will always be sona (gold). But box-office success was something that I never craved, it just happened to me. When I started acting, I never thought I will only do 100 crore films, it just happened. They were all blockbusters, and the audience loved it. But things change: The kind of movies people made changed, even my choices changed. So, if you see, I have done all kinds of films. Today, I am really proud that when a producer says he wants to make a commercial film, he says, ‘let’s take Sonakshi. If I want to make an art film then I can cast her for that, also in comedy and tragedy films’. I have been able to achieve that.
With so many actresses making it big in the industry, how secure are you in your own space?
There is a lot of work in the industry. I am so busy that I can’t be bothered about what anyone else is doing. It makes no difference to my life. I am happy that today, I am a part of an industry which has opened so many avenues. I have been very secure in my space; I have always been like that. I have not been that person who will poke her nose in somebody else’s business.
Your personal life is so guarded; we don’t hear too many stories about it. What’s happening on that front? Any plans to settle down?
Not at all. My parents just see me working all the time, and because I am so occupied, there is no time for anything else. So they understand that my work makes me happy. And honestly, I have even told my parents that I am not going to go around and chase love anymore. If it has to come to me, it will come when the time is right. That is something I am not going to go after anymore.
Once in a while, my mom will drop ‘when are you getting married?’. Like every mother she drops that bomb, but my dad is okay. He doesn’t pressurise me at all.