Watch: Anushka Sharma sizzles on the Cover of Vogue May 2016 Issue
Anushka Sharma is ready to write her own rules (and scripts) and live by them. That she is one of the youngest actresses in the production business only hints at her path-breaker tendencies. “I pick a film that has a strong plot. I’d never pick one to piggyback on a big actor or director’s name,” she says.
Her decision to turn producer with NH10, an unconventional, dark action-thriller with a strong female lead, speaks volumes about her intrepid nature. “People asked why I was doing it in the prime of my career. But we only say this about actresses because we assume that they need to do it to find work towards the end of their careers. I’m not into production to make films that glorify me or to replicate films that have worked at the box office; I’m doing it because I want to create quality cinema,” she argues.
She doesn’t seek validation in awards either. Despite portraying strong leads in films, Sharma, so far, has only won awards for supporting roles. “I genuinely don’t believe in awards. It’s rewarding enough that a film like NH10 (2015) got the response that it did, and that because of its success I’m now producing a film with Fox Star Studios, which is funny, romantic and poles apart from NH10,” she says about Phillauri, which stars Life Of Pi actor Suraj Sharma and Punjabi actor Diljit Dosanjh alongside her.
Right now, Anushka is only focused on doing her bit for what she calls one of her most challenging roles so far. For director Ali Abbas Zafar’s July release, Sultan, opposite Salman Khan, the preternaturally petite Sharma is buffing up to play a Haryanvi-spouting wrestler. “She’s one committed actor who can pull off the role in terms of sheer performance—she physically transformed herself in six weeks,” says says director Abbas Zafar. It’s a transformation that is hard to imagine but, going by the first look, Sharma’s 10-hour training seems to have paid off. On YouTube, Sharma’s powerslam clip with her trainer has gone viral. “Wrestling is a lot about technique. It’s a strategy game about finding your opponent’s weakness,” she says. With new moves—and a new vocabulary (“dhobi pachad is my favourite”), she’s getting ready for the win.
The NH 10 actress mettle and honesty have won her a legion of fans. In an earlier interview with Vogue, she opened up about her anxiety issues, confessing that she takes medication for it. Previously, she has also been vocal about topics ranging from censorship to sexism and differential pay for men and women in the industry, even before Patricia Arquette brought it global attention at the Academy Awards. “I loved what Chris Rock said at this year’s Oscars: ‘There’s no real reason for there to be a men and a women category in acting. It’s not track and field.’ It’s so right,” she adds.