Anushka Sharma's unique position in Bollywood is courtesy her choices, as actor and producer

Abhishek Srivastava

Mar,04 2018 09:53:30 IST

The sheepishness was apparent on Anushka Sharma’s face when she was first introduced to the media in December 2009 for her debut film Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. It was Shah Rukh Khan’s repartee and knight in shining armour behaviour which helped Anushka sail through her first appearance.

Anushka is all set to complete a decade in December this year and the journey has helped her establish a reputation of being one of the most dependable actress in the industry currently. That she displays a myriad range in her performance can be gauged from the fact that in a short span, she has managed to tick all the boxes when it comes to the wish list of directors. From Rajkumar Hirani to Karan Johar to Anurag Kashyap to Imtiaz Ali, are names which only give a solid credence to her credentials as an actress. Her upcoming lot too is filled with people who are part of the promising lot. While Aanand L Rai will tap her potential in Zero opposite Shah Rukh Khan, Sharat Katariya can heave a sigh of relief with Anushka as part of Sui Dhaaga.

Anushka Sharma in a still from Pari. YouTube

Anushka Sharma in a still from Pari. YouTube

For one that had made her entry into Hindi cinema with a quintessential Yash Raj film (the good, gracious and simple heroine), Anushka has developed a penchant for the unusual. She embraces variety and experimentation heartily, and puts her money where her mouth is. When Anushka chose to turn producer, she got some wondering why. Is it because roles are running out for her? It is the norm for heroines slipping out of the mainstream when they turn producer but Anushka did it because she wanted to make a certain kind of Hindi film - with a certain style sheet and grammar that appeals to the 21st century Indian audience (read: the 16 to 40). And yet, it does not brood, go for gloomy lighting and distended camera angles to set itself apart as smart and different.

Which is why, NH10, although not entirely original, is refreshing. It is dark and stark, gory and gloomy. But it is also a film that an uninhibited actor holds up on her delicate shoulders with great strength. Similarly, Phillauri was an attempt at bringing mainstream comedy with a decent plot, even if it felt slow. And now, with Pari, she pushes the envelope further, bringing a scary, sordid film like the kind of horror we love to binge watch over weekends and with old friends. Horror, a sure shot money genre, does not always have a story. But this film intrigues, makes you think what is really going on with this girl. 

Anushka has displayed metier as performer and consistency as an actor that is not common for her generation. She takes up a role and seems to focus on it with all her energy, not quite so bothered about her look, appearance or inherent likeability factor in the film. That is brave for a film industry where a star’s image often dictates their revenues even to the extent of the brands that they get to sign. 

In the past five years, Anushka has made such a reputation of herself that she has now become the go to person for leading directors of the industry. The journey is surely commendable as her success story is based more on her sheer talent and not so much on PR-based activity. For someone who detests being in news columns, this says a lot. In terms of versatility, the gap that was created after Vidya Balan took a back seat post her marriage has ably been filled by the Pari actress. While films like NH 10, PK, Sultan, Did Dhadakne Do and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil gave her ample opportunity to show case her talent, it is the same faith of directors in her ability to carry off a variety of roles with aplomb, that in coming months she will be offering a smorgasbord of films to cinephiles.

So while her Pari falls in the realm of horror, Sui Dhaaga is a social commentary. The rom-com nature of Zero makes it a film that is bound to appeal to all and sundry, and her next production Kaneda hinges on being a proper thriller set in the cold climes of Canada. In an industry where the only code of success remains a love story, Anushka seems to be singing a different tune altogether. In the realm of Bollywood, it surely takes guts to sign a film opposite a rank new comer after having made his debut with a superstar. But Anushka Sharma did precisely the same when she acted opposite Ranveer Singh in Band Baaja Baaraat.   

She has often been dubbed by many as an underrated actress which surely stems from her low visibility and the more in-your-face appearance of stars like Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif. But with every opportunity she has proven her mettle – be it her small but powerful appearance in Dil Dhadakne Do when she shared screen space with Priyanka Chopra or her appearance in Jab Tak Hai Jaan when critics favoured more the chirpy Anushka over Katrina. Her professional life is pretty filtered from her personal life. While Deepika Padukone at every given opportunity tried to hog limelight and media space in the company of Ranveer Singh at different venues, the same cannot be said about Anushka.

While it takes ages for someone to don the mantle of a producer, Anushka’s able transformation from an actress to a producer happened very swiftly in her career. The tag of becoming the youngest producer in Bollywood says a lot and entrepreneurship was inevitable since the time she started her own beauty parlour at the age of 10 in the company of her friend. Smart, realist and independent are the terms which suit her perfectly. Her anathema towards controversies has only added to her charm. The grace she showed when hounded by trollers on social media after Virat Kohli’s failure in crucial matches, only reflects an upbringing that deserves applause. It seems her journey has just picked pace.

Updated Date: Mar 04, 2018 09:53 AM