'Acting wasn't my calling at all'
After actor-turned politician Shatrughan Sinha silenced his fans and critics with his star act through the years, it's the turn of his daughter Sonakshi Sinha to claim her share of fame.
The striking model is rumoured to be doing her first film opposite none other than Salman Khan in Arbaaz Khan's yet untitled production. It will be directed by Anurag Kashyap's younger brother Abhinav.
Though stardom comes with its baggage, being the daughter of one doesn't seem to have affected this very friendly girl, who regularly seeks her mother Poonam Sinha's guidance.
As I enter the Sinhas' house in Khar in suburban Mumbai, I see Sonakshi's twin brothers Luv and Kush playing with their magnifying glasses. Very protectively, they ask about what she will be quizzed on. After getting satisfactory answers, they let their sister take the lead.
A fashion designer by profession, the 21-year-old girl tells Nithya Ramani that films 'were an eventuality.'
How did this eventuality happen?
I was plump during my school and college days. After I lost about 30 kilos, some people suggested that I take up modelling. My parents supported me, so I took it up. After that, acting just happened.
Your mother is a Miss India title holder. Didn't you think of joining a beauty pageant?
No way. If I were to take part in pageants and win, people will say I won because I am Mr Sinha's daughter. I didn't want that to happen.
Image: Sonakshi Sinha
'Salman suggested I lose weight'
What is your film about?
I haven't signed the film yet. When I do, I will be more than willing to tell everyone about my launch. The talks are still on. Salman's family is very close to mine, so to work with him will be a pleasure. In fact, it was he who suggested that I lose weight. I was way too fat and had to do something to pull myself together. It was getting out of hand and very unhealthy too.
How did the film happen? How did the Khans approach you for this film?
As I said, we are family friends and would often meet. We have partied at their house too. Sohail Khan was surprised to see how fit I looked at Amrita Arora's wedding sangeet. He said he would call me if something came up.
Image: Sonakshi Sinha
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant
'If my parents don't like the script, it doesn't reach me'
Is this the first script offered to you or have you been getting offers?
I have been getting offers but nothing really excited me. Scripts come to me only after being filtered by my parents. If they don't like the script, it doesn't reach me.
What is it about this script that you like the most?
I can't tell anything about the story. But it's great to be launched opposite Salman Khan.
I have a lot of confidence in Abhinav Kashyup too. He is a well-established television director. I think being Anurag Kashyup's brother will definitely have its advantages too. He comes across as a very confident and talented man. Also, he has assisted Mani Ratnam. What's more reassuring than that?
Most importantly, he has managed to please my parents, which is the most difficult task. They are very difficult to please.
Image: Sonakshi with her parents
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
'I have acting in my genes'
What kind of roles do you want to do?
I am not experienced enough to answer that question but my parents know what is best for me. If it has a lot of scope for me to perform, then I will take it up.
Have you taken any acting classes to help you in the industry?
I think I have it in my genes. I didn't take up any classes, as mom was apprehensive. She didn't want me to have any preconceived notions about acting. We believe that acting cannot be taught. You either have it in you or you don't.
Your mother recently starred in Jodhaa Akbar. Did she give you any acting tips or help you in grooming yourself for your launch?
She is my best critic and has always helped me and motivated me to get into shape.
I did a lot of workouts and followed a very balanced diet. I am someone who gets bored very easily with routine. So I would dance, do yoga and swim. I learnt Kathak [a classical dance form], which was very helpful in weight loss.
Did you go on the sets of Jodhaa Akbar?
Yes, twice. The sets were like a resort. It had a very calm atmosphere unlike other chaotic sets. My mom was like everybody's mom on the sets. She used to cook for them.
Image: Sonakshi Sinha
'Being Shatrughan Sinha's daughter helps'
Does being Shatrughan Sinha's daughter help?
Definitely. But it also comes with a lot of responsibility. I have to keep in mind my family background and the respect my family get. I can't do just anything without thinking.
Have you been to shoots with your father?
I might have for a couple for shoots but I was too young to remember. I remember wanting to go for shoots with him but by the time we would reach the location, I would fall asleep in the car. He would then send me back in the same car.
I have gone on the sets of his films like Aan and his home production Aaj Phir Jene Ki Tamanna Hai with Rekha ma'am. They will be coming together after about 40 years.
What do you remember about these shoots?
I didn't like it when dad got beaten up during the action sequences. I would cry and that forced him to leave the shot midway and console me. I think it was a bad idea to take me along for such shoots. Once I broke down during an action sequence involving bullets. He had to convince me that the bullets weren't real.
Image: From left: Shatrughan, Esha Deo, Sonakshi, Poonam and Hema Malini
Photographs: Arun Patil
'I am very dumb when it comes to politics'
Are you interested in politics like your father?
I am least interested in politics. It is just not my cup of tea. Even though I accompanied him during the Lok Sabha elections campaign, I am not cut out for it. You have to be very shrewd and smart. I am very dumb when it comes to politics.
Your brothers have entered the film industry too.
Yes, Luv has just finished a film with Raj Kanwar and Kush assisted Sanjay Leela Bhansali in Saawariya. They are 25 years old.
How has your childhood been?
My brothers and I have fought like cats and dogs. Since they are twins, I was always sidelined. I have been beaten up many times. Since I am the most pampered one, it always caused jealousy.
Kush is very level-headed and always maintains the balance between Luv and me.
You have been constantly compared to Reena Roy. Do you get upset?
I was a little upset then. But it really doesn't matter now. Not that I don't like her. Maybe my facial features are similar to hers. I had a fuller face and wear similar eye make-up. Maybe that is why were compared to each other. I am sure I don't look anything like her now.
Image: Sonakshi Sinha