Anushka Sharma completes 10 years in the film industry. On the occasion and also her film with Shah Rukh Khan ZERO’s World Television Premiere Anushka Sharma talks about her role in ZERO. She points out that, “Shah Rukh (Khan) and my characters (in ZERO) have challenges, but they also have dreams and desires.”
An amalgamation of romance, comedy and underlying emotions, ZERO is a unique story that chronicles the journey of Bauua, Aafia and Babita. The storyline highlights an important message, which we so often fail to realise in the pursuit to achieve perfection. Starring Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma and Katrina Kaif in the lead, along with Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Tigmanshu Dhulia and Sheeba Chadha essaying pivotal roles, ZERO takes you on a hilarious yet emotional roller coaster ride. Directed by Aanand L Rai, and written by Himanshu Sharma, the movie is all set for its World Television Premiere. Anushka Sharma speaks about ZERO on this occasion.
From RAB NE BANA DI JODI to ZERO, how has the overall journey been working with the King of Bollywood?
Your experience with a superstar like Shah Rukh Khan doesn’t depend on you; it depends on his greatness and his graciousness. He has been so kind to me. Right from my first film, he made me so comfortable, and never once intimidated me. He makes you feel so welcome every time you meet him. I saw his passion in ZERO, which was nothing but pure inspiration.
Your recent choice of movies has been quite unique in terms of taking the de-glam route. While most would think twice, you seem to have no inhibitions before signing such scripts.
For me, following my instinct is an easier thing. I would kind of owe my success to those unconventional choices I made. I believe luck favours the brave. I wasn't doing it thinking it is risky. I was doing it because it made sense to me.
How challenging was it for you to play a NASA scientist who is dealing with Cerebral Palsy? How long did you train for such a tough role?
When Aanand (L Rai) Sir and Himanshu Sharma sat me down to discuss the script, they already had a strong research conducted on the condition. They met many doctors and got an in-depth understanding of what could be the physicality of a character dealing with Cerebral Palsy. Based on some of these aspects they chalked out the physical limitations that we would have had to work around to bring Aafia to life. I dedicated three months to learn, research and understand how to go about this role. Aanand (L Rai) Sir and Himanshu Sharma had a vision for Aafia, which I strived to fulfil truthfully. I believe as actors; it is our responsibility to play a character with sincerity and authenticity.
What was most difficult for you in terms of playing Aafia?
The most difficult part was showing the involuntary spasms of Cerebral Palsy patients who have no control on them at all. To do this at will, while also keeping in mind my lines and the emotions, was very tough. I was aware that my own body may have to go through certain changes, to get Aafia in my DNA, but it was crucial for me to get into the skin of my character.
You were convincing as Aafia, who needed support of the wheelchair throughout the film. How did you prepare for such a challenging role?
The wheelchair was not just her support; it was an extension of her body, which enabled her to do things independently. Aafia as a character is independent and highly accomplished. She has achieved multiple accolades on the professional front, despite dealing with an ailment, which would have been tougher, probably impossible if not for the wheelchair aid. I had to learn how to operate the chair. Aanand sir dropped the wheelchair at my place for 15 days, and I sat on it all through those days, learning how Aafia manoeuvres around, what she feels and how she would behave. So yes, it was kind of challenging, but it was also fruitful. When you know you are doing justice to your character, challenges don’t seem that big. Moreover, when you’re working with good directors and co-actors, it is always special to play these kinds of roles.
This is your fourth film with Shah Rukh Khan. How different is it each time you work with him?
Having worked with him in four films, I’ve formed an equation with Shah Rukh Khan. I’m comfortable with him. He’s an interesting person to talk to he’s passionate and driven. That’s an important quality one should have. When he comes to the set, you see that every shot is important to him. The passion and drive, even after all these years, is something to learn, for any actor.
Can you throw some light on yours, Shah Rukh’s and Katrina’s characters in ZERO?
Shah Rukh and my characters have challenges, but they also have dreams and desires. On the other hand, Katrina's character has challenges that are not so visible to people.
What do you have to say about Aanand L Rai as a director?
Aanand sir’s vision has a larger-than-life cinematic experience. He is very sensitive as a person and as a director.
Why according to you, must the audience watch ZERO?
This film is special, it’s different, there is a strong message that’s being given out via this film that the audience can relate to, which is that you can shine in the world despite your weaknesses and it should be your strength. There's something for everybody in this film and the stories of all the three characters take you on this journey of celebrating love, which will leave you smiling.
You have just completed 10 years in Bollywood. How has your journey as an actor been so far?
I want to be able to look back and see what I have done. I am satisfied with the work I have done. I have always been picky and have chosen different kinds of movies and roles for myself. I think I have reached that position and security as an actor in my career, where I don’t need to do things or sign films just because I have to fill uptime.