Excerpts from the conversation:
You had four releases in 2019. How would your describe your 2019?
2019 was very special for me. Bareilly Ki Barfi was a milestone in my career which opened up a lot of opportunities for me. The film also changed people’s perception of me, and they started seeing me in a slightly different light. The appreciation and box office performance of Luka Chuppi made me more confident that my thinking and instinct about films were in sync with the audience. Housefull 4 was a very different kind of film for me. It was completely massy. It is probably my highest grosser so far, crossing Rs 200 crores. I had the maximum fun shooting for that film. And I feel fortunate that in all this, I also got a chance to be part of Panipat, which is a film that I am very very proud of. It was my first period drama, and my first historical character. I am very overwhelmed with the response that both the film and my performance received.
In a nutshell, my work in 2019 has given me a lot of encouragement and motivation as an actor. I think I am on the right path. It is probably the best year I have had so far in this industry.
From being perceived as the quintessential urban girl, to now being able to show versatility in your films, what kind of hard work did you have to put into it?
A lot of hard work goes in any and every film. You cannot start thinking that ‘oh, I have done a small-town girl’s role, so let me not do it again’. I have been fortunate that I have gotten a variety of roles. It has been a conscious decision not to limit myself in one type of world. As an actor, I want to be able to cater to every genre and every kind of film.
What are the challenges in your career right now? How do you plan to overcome that in 2020?
The only challenge is which film to do and which movie to not do. It is very tricky because sometimes I feel instinctively about a film and sometimes you feel it is different, but it can turn out to be better. So, making that decision is always the trickiest part. Sometimes there is a dearth of good scripts, and the kind of films you want to do are not on your table. There is a long list of directors I have wanted to work with. I don’t know how I will overcome that in 2020, but I hope I get an opportunity to work with at least some of the directors that I have been craving to work with.
New actors are constantly entering Bollywood. How do you deal with competition?
With the constant flow of new actors, there is also a flow of new writers and a lot of scripts being written. The number of films now being made is also huge. So, there is space for everyone. We should do our work with complete honesty. One should never be laid-back because the competition is cutthroat.
The idea is to remain excited and do the films you want to do. There is nothing else that I can do as an actor. I don’t want to be in a space where I am feeling insecure.
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