Sonakshi Sinha (Pic: Vikram Bawa, Rohan Shrestha) For someone who made one of the biggest debuts of 2010, Sonakshi Sinha is surprisingly down-to-earth and unaffected by all the sycophantic cacophony around her. With the awards season over and Dabangg making a clean sweep at most, the young star's awards haul is growing larger by the minute — including the Filmfare Award for 'Best Female Debut'.
Says the doe-eyed actress, “I have to admit that life's been completely crazy ever since Dabangg released. There's been a whirlwind of activity around me... suddenly there are more events to go to, functions to attend, lots of meetings, more work, all these awards... it's crazy, but in a good way. I'm still the same person though. My family and friends make sure of that!”
Back in 2008, Sonakshi was a gawky teenager, leaning towards a career in fashion rather than films. Being Shatrugan aka 'Shotgun' Sinha's daughter didn't necessarily mean being in front of the camera, even though her brothers Luv and Kush were preparing for the same from a young age. In fact, it was while studying for a degree in fashion that she interned with Lakmé Fashion Week in Mumbai and walked the ramp for a few designers, earning a suitable amount of media attention.
“I never intended to become an actress. I wanted to be a fashion designer. Dabangg happened by chance. Arbaaz and Salman Khan approached me for Rajjo's part as they thought I would suit the role perfectly. I heard the script along with my family and it all fell together. It's not like I told my father I wanted to act nor did he push me into this... the decision was mutual. There was no reason to refuse,” she says.
And by the time she was on the set, it was like she was always meant to be there. Her first day was perfectly comfortable, as she says, “It's always different when you're born and brought up in a film family. I've visited my father's sets as a child and been part of the film industry from a young age. So I was perfectly comfortable on set and in front of the camera... it's funny how I wasn't nervous at all!
I guess it also had to do with the fact that I knew the entire unit very well. The Khans are family friends so I knew I was in good hands, and director Abhinav Kashyap and I got along very well. All of them explained to me exactly what I needed to do and the entire shooting process went off super smoothly.”
Much like her predecessor Sonam Kapoor, Sonakshi was in the news for her massive weight loss ahead of the shoot. Despite all the stories about how she lost 30 kilos for Dabangg, the young femme fatale sports a healthy glow, showing off a fit and toned form.
“I did lose a lot of weight for the movie, but I was very clear about what I wanted to project. I've always believed that women should look real and not like stick figures, so my aim was to look fit and healthy and not like a size zero model. I didn't starve myself. I respect my body, love the shape I'm in and most importantly, I'm healthy. Moreover, people have accepted me for the way I look, so why bother getting skinny?” she grins gamely.
As for her reaction to being one of the biggest female debuts to have happened to Bollywood in a long time, she says with a level-headedness far beyond her years, “I just make sure it doesn't go to my head... and the people around me make sure of that too. I'm obviously very thankful for the praise and adulation I've received, and very happy that I've been accepted, but I take it all in my stride.”
As for being the hottest young debutante on the block, she admits shyly, “I never considered myself hot or sexy... I still don't! But I guess that's how people see me now and it's very, very gratifying. I've worked hard on looking the way I do now and I was always confident about the fact that I had appealing looks, but not to this extent! It's a bit strange at times, but it's also very flattering. So it makes me happy.”
The year 2011 is going to be big for the damsel; she has signed four big films — all with A-list stars — clearly speaking volumes for her appeal not just among the masses but industry heavyweights as well.
She has already started shooting for Joker opposite Akshay Kumar (being directed by Shirish Kunder and scheduled for a bumper Diwali release), following which will be Race 2 with Saif Ali Khan, John Abraham and Deepika Padukone, Kick and Dabangg 2 opposite her favourite costar Salman Khan and two more projects that she prefers not to talk about.
What's more, the fresh-faced beauty has also signed on several big endorsement deals. Says the actress, “This is a very image-conscious industry, and somehow I've been slotted as the girl-next-door who is modern and represents the Indian youth. It's an image I like, so keeping that in mind I've made my choices, be it films or brand endorsements.”
Sweeping up big banners, awards and brand endorsements... it's all in a day's work for the hard-working Sona!