This fiercely individual “outsider” has set an example for aspiring actresses by making a firm place for herself in the film industry while playing by her own rules. Ahead of the release of her film Sui Dhaaga: Made In India, Anushka Sharma sits down for a candid chat about the film, her individuality, pay parity, and much more.
What’s the biggest challenge you faced while playing Mamta in Sui Dhaaga?
I think I am a very reactive, opinionated person and I don’t hesitate about putting my opinion out there, but Mamta is not like that. Though she is a strong person, she is not as expressive in that sense. So my body language required a certain submissiveness and calmness. I could not rely on my own instincts, I had to get into character and channel her instincts. Adopting that passiveness to become Mamta was difficult.
As a celebrity, how does it feel to constantly be judged?
It all depends on how you take it. People may be judging you all the time, but how much you allow that to affect your life is your choice. It’s about how much resilience you have as a person. It is my constant endeavour to care less and less about what people think of me. I always say, no industry teaches you as much as this one does. I am way stronger than I was 10 years ago. I don’t let things get to me anymore.
With paparazzi culture catching on in a big way, how difficult is it to be yourself?
When you consistently represent yourself the way you are, people will eventually accept you. If you have your own personality, it can be a bit difficult in the beginning, because everyone wants you to follow a pattern. But if you stick to your guns, people will understand who you are and respect you for that. It’s difficult to be someone else, in my opinion.
You got married at the peak of your career. That would not have been possible a few years ago.
I lead my life based on very different parameters, and I make decisions that have not been made before. I became a producer at the age of 25, which is unheard of. I did what my instincts told me to do. I have never let people’s opinions get in the way of my life and the things that make me happy. Getting married then was the right decision, and it’s not a big deal. Today, our audiences are much more evolved than us. They go and watch a film because they want to watch it, and not because of an actor or actress’ personal status. I think Kareena (Kapoor Khan) has proven that by delivering a hit like Veere Di Wedding after having a baby.
Actresses have been asking for pay parity in the industry. What’s your take on it?
It’s not about the money, it’s about value. It’s like when someone takes you for granted and doesn’t respect what you bring to the table. That’s the sort of thing that everyone is fighting against.
Do you believe that an actor is only as good as his film?
That holds true for everyone in the industry. People have short memory spans, and you get offers and opportunities based on the last work that you’ve done. That’s just how the industry treats you.
How critical are you of your own work?
I am my own biggest critic and I am very open to criticism. I hate yes-men; in this industry, people like to be surrounded by yes-men, but I want people to tell me the truth. I love when people have the courage to tell me that I’m wrong. I really value people who tell me the truth. I am not stupid, I take criticism well if I know that it’s coming from the right place, and I try to change myself. I am constantly trying to improve. I’m a product of change.