Interviews

Sonakshi Sinha charts her own path

Sonakshi Sinha was declared a star as soon as she came on the scene. Even with a mixed report card at the box office today, she is considered a bankable brand. And it’s this confidence that hits you the very first time you interact with her. She throws you off completely with how comfortable she is with success and how little she seems fazed by criticism. “My being here is totally organic,” she says, “This is the world I have grown up in. I look at both success and failure in a zen way.”

Sonakshi, who is currently shooting for the sequel of Once Upon a Time in Mumbai in Oman, almost makes you believe her. “I was always fat, because of which I was picked on so much at school that I automatically developed a thick skin”, she says. Besides the “thick skin”, she has also inherited the typical Sinha humour from her dad-witty and self-deprecating. Only recently when the Twitter world went abuzz with nasty comments about her forehead, one saw Sonaskshi’s humour and grace in handling it.

It has to be this mix of humour and confidence that helped Sonakshi put her foot through the door completely on her own terms. She won’t kiss on-screen, will not wear a swimsuit, nor will she ever casually date. Does she not find these rules at all Victorian, in a world where porn star Sunny Leone is playing a mainstream Bollywood heroine?

She has two responses. The politician gene in her says, “When have Indian girls been comfortable wearing shorts and bringing boyfriends home? I’m a quintessential Indian girl and see no need for changing just because everyone around me is.” No wonder her co-stars like Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar call her the typical ‘Bhartiya nari’ (Indian woman). But just when this kind of brand building seems a bit deliberate, Sonakshi follows it up with a candid remark, “And honestly I was always overweight. I could not wear something skimpy, even if I wanted to, so I’m not exactly adjusting now to build a brand. It’s who I’ve been.”

It’s this contradiction of Sonakshi-a mix of sobriety and spontaneity-that lends her a nicely layered personality. It also makes for a great cover girl. With her far from size-zero frame, does she think of herself as an unlikely fashion candidate? “I do and I don’t. I was studying fashion until Salman Khan encouraged me to shed all that weight and enter films. Fashion is something I not only understand but also love. But at the same time, I don’t look at myself as someone overtly glamorous. I wear a lot of high street and only wear what I feel comfortable in. I’m not always comfortable on the runway, but then I try to walk more as myself than a model.”

For the shoot, Sonakshi was styled in exquisite Indian ensembles by designer-of-the-moment Anamika Khanna. Looking statuesque in silhouettes that covered more than they revealed, she shone through because of a personality that is not Barbie-sque. “I don’t know if it’s a brand-in-the-making, but yes, I don’t want to look like everybody else. Where is the fun in that? I want to look like a real woman, with curves and a mind to make her own choices”, she says.

One look at the projects lined up -Son of Sardar with Ajay Devgn, Dabangg 2 with Salman and Lootera with Ranveer Singh-and one knows those choices are working. With her ‘real woman’ avatar, Sonakshi has broken into the one spot lying vacant since the 90s. It’s the spot of the ‘single-screen heroine’. She has hit upon the same magic formula of the village character peppered with one-liners and the right amount of rustic dancing, which stars much senior to her like Salman and Ajay Devgn are milking quite unabashedly. And it’s only because of the intelligence with which she has packaged herself, and the natural charisma of a seasoned star.

It’s said one can inherit fame and money, but not success. Success can delude you even with all the right chromosomes in your DNA. Sonakshi Sinha, at 25 today might be many kilos lighter than she was a few years ago, but she carries with her the weight of a DNA that does not add any lightness to her being. Born to Shatrughan Sinha, who was always a megastar, Sonakshi carries stardom quite effortlessly. But it’s his political stature that makes the same stardom hard to carry forward in a profession that thrives on political incorrectness. She, however, seems unfazed, “Just like I am not ready to adjust to a certain formula of success, I will also not change for fear of failure.”

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