Sonakshi Sinha on Khandaani Shafakhana, the failure of Kalank, and return to Dabangg franchise
You often teased about this film through your Instagram account. How did you manage to keep this film under wraps for so long?
It was only because the film had no name for the longest time. I always hashtagged my pictures with #PictureKaNaamKyaHai and when we finally found a name, we immediately announced it to the world. As far as the journey is concerned, it all began when I was given one-line narration of the film and that was — a girl inherits her mamaji’s sex clinic.
After I heard the one-line line narration, my only reaction was why are they approaching me for this film? It seemed to me that they were unaware of the fact that I only do family-oriented films. Later, when I heard the whole script, I was blown away and immediately told Shilpi (Dasgupta, director) that I am doing the film. I said yes to the film only because the film had a relevant subject, and it talked about and touched upon topics which people often avoid.
Who suggested the title of the film?
Even after the completion of the film, we simply could not manage a title. At the end of the day it was looking right into us. Khandaani Shafakhana was the working title of the first draft and it was a temporary title. After much deliberation, we came back to this title only, and it was suggested by Mrigdeep (Lamba, co-producer) and Shilpi.
Do you feel films like Vicky Donor and Shubh Mangal Saavdhan were successful only because their take was lighthearted and depicted as slice-of-life?
Yes, I feel that’s one of the reasons. I also feel that another reason is that the subject of these films is such that people want to talk about but are hesitant to do so. It’s there in everyone’s mind and they are even thinking about it, but no one is saying it. If you were to make something preachy, chances are it might not work. Cinema basically shows a mirror to the society, and films are actually imitating what’s happening in the society. If you tell people on their face that they are wrong, they tend to get defensive and shield themselves from hearing such things. They get bored. So when you put up things in a humorous way, in a way that they will understand, they will sit up and take notice.
The film has a sensitive topic, which is helmed by a female director and fronted by a female actress. Was it easy or difficult?
I think it became easy for both of us. I don’t think that a male director would have brought in the sensitivity that Shilpi has brought to the film. I was very comfortable with her around, and I only thought that I am working with an elder sister. She is a very gentle person and a lovely human being. She took extra effort in explaining the scenes to me. I have performed some really difficult scenes for the first time in my career, which are there in the trailer too. In small cities, the advertising for such sex clinics happens through a cycle rickshaw. I was made to sit on a cycle rickshaw, which had a poster behind, which carried the word sex in bold, and below it, all the possible diseases related to sex were mentioned. The scene required me to say all those diseases and ask people to come for treatment to my clinic. This scene was shot in a real market in Amritsar, and there were no extras and had real people from the market.
Could you please tell us what happened after the take?
(Laughs) Security came and surrounded me after the shoot, and then we had to leave the location immediately. I was worried and nervous before the shoot, but thanks to Shilpi, she made me very comfortable and it turned out to be the one of the best scenes of the film. Being an actress, I should not have been hesitant about doing the scene. Even if I were to perform such a scene in front of 1,000 people, I should never be hesitant. But it the nervousness crept in because of years of our conditioning.
How comfortable are you talking about such topics?
I am not comfortable talking about such topics with my family members. I never had that conversation with my parents because that’s just how we have been brought up. After doing this film, I realised that it should not be like that, and they should be able to have conversation with their parents. When we are sick or when we have cold, we tell our parents to take us to a doctor so why are people hesitant when they have a sexual disorder? A disease is a disease.
You were the only actor in Kalank whose performance was appreciated. What did you make of the failure of the film at the box office?
I think success and failure is part of everyone’s life, and we, as actors, have been through it as everybody else. The fate of a film is not in your hands. If audience did not like the film, that’s the end of it. We put in our best effort to make that film. I was more than happy when my work was appreciated, and it really made me feel good despite all that happened with the film. You are a part of the film from start to finish, and you do feel a bit disappointed when a film fails to perform but by the time a film releases, you have already moved on to the next film, and I always like to put all my energy on what I am doing currently and never dwell in the past.
Did you feel your role should have been bigger?
In the scheme of things, I think it was a call made at the editing table. I was happy with what I was made to do. It was a call taken by the creative people associated with the film and they took a call after they saw the edit of the film.
How is Dabangg 3 shaping up?
It’s shaping great. There are lots of memories associated with that film because I started my journey in the film industry with Dabangg. My first film was Dabangg and it's also going to be my silver jubilee film so I’ve literally come a full circle in nine years. It’s an awesome feeling. I am so happy that Prabhu Deva sir is directing this film and he has lent so much of tadka (spice) to this film.
Khandaani Shafakhana is slated to release this Friday on 2 August.
All images from Twitter.
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Updated Date: Jul 31, 2019 12:42:29 IST