The Weekend Leader - So, it’s Sonakshi

The daughter of Shatrughan Sinha is a successful star on her own right

Santosh Mehta   |   Mumbai


Vol 4 | Issue 46

In the narrow streets of a small town somewhere in Bihar, the cops are hot on the heels of local hoodlums. As a dashing officer lunges for one of the goons, narrowly missing him by a whisker, he crashes into a pile of earthen pots.

He gets up, shakes away the dust and turns around. Pause. The next moment the screen is lit up by the attractive, expressive face of a young woman.

The talented and pretty star has not succumbed to the lure of sporting a Size Zero body (Photos:WFS)

As the cop looks on at the village belle, she stares back fearlessly. A lilting tune plays in the background… This minute-long scene marked the debut of Sonakshi Sinha, a star who has taken the Hindi film world by storm on the basis of her acting prowess and some powerful dialogue delivery.

The daughter of yesteryear star, Shatrughan Sinha, she began her acting career in 2010 with a big bang, starring in a lead role opposite the reigning superstar, Salman Khan, in ‘Dabangg’, a film that broke many box office records.

The songs topped the charts, the action was fast-paced, and Khan’s sense of comic timing was impeccable. But what the audiences remember the film most for is Sinha’s iconic dialogue – “Thappad se darr nahi lagta sahab, pyar se lagta hai” (I am not afraid of getting slapped, but scared of being loved).

Her performance as the poor village girl caring for an ailing father all alone in the big bad world was well received. Sinha’s Rajjo was strong, articulate and at the same time possessed a vulnerability that was heart rending.

As noted critic Taran Adarsh observed: "[she] looks fresh, acts confidently and pairs off very well with Salman. Most importantly, she delivers the right expressions and is not overpowered by the galaxy of stars in the cast." The young star’s hard work paid off and she got the Best Female Debut award that year.

‘Dabangg’ became a major milestone for the actor and she has not looked back since. Although she calls it her “lucky break”, Sinha’s film graph in the last three years has only seen an upward movement.

And why not? As the talented star declared, “I am a Dabangg (fearless) actress.”

That she certainly is, at least in terms of her choice of projects. She puts it this way, “It’s more sensible to do quality films than focus on the quantity. I think if one does more than three films at a time then delivering quality performances becomes difficult.”

Sinha has acted in a number of different films – from quintessential song-and-sob sagas to ‘hatke’ (distinct) female oriented stories. In the action potboiler, ‘Rowdy Rathore’, the remake of a Telugu hit, her performance as a Bihari firebrand was appreciated and on the first day the movie made record collections of approximately Rs 15.6 crore.

Though her confidence took a blow when noted filmmaker Shirish Kunder’s ‘Joker’, opposite Akshay Kumar, turned out to be a dud, she once again bounced back with Ashwani Dhir’s ‘Son of Sardar’, where she starred alongside Ajay Devgn. Then came Arbaz Khan’s ‘Dabangg 2’. All these films may have got mixed reviews but one common aspect was Sinha’s commanding screen presence.

One of the 2013 films Sinha has starred in was ‘Lootera’, directed by critically acclaimed filmmaker Vikramaditya Motwane and produced by soap queen Ekta Kapoor.

In this period romantic drama, set in the 1950s, the actress wowed the critics with her interpretation of Pakhi, a beautiful Bengali girl who is dying of tuberculosis.

While one critic has been quoted in the media as remarking that "the star of the film is undoubtedly Sonakshi Sinha [who gives] a mature and refined performance.

Sinha’s screen act has drawn compliments from her fellow actors as well as her family. When superstar Aamir Khan saw ‘Lootera’ he “loved her performance”, while her mother, Poonam is quoted as having said, “I am very happy; I now realise that there is no need for me to give her advice or any training, she has done a great job and I am proud of her.”

Sinha has followed up this performance by playing the part of a conservative girl-next-door who is being pursued by two gangsters. ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobara’, a mob romance starring Akshay Kumar and Imran Khan, is a thriller set in the 1980s. She is now ready with Prabhu Deva’s ‘R… Rajkumar’ with Shahid Kapoor and Tigmanshu Dhulia’s ‘Bullet Raja’ with Saif Ali Khan. Both films have created quite a buzz.

Varied roles, one talented woman. Ask her about her favourite director – and she has worked with the best in the industry – and she replies with characteristic diplomacy, “I am fortunate to have got the opportunity to work with well-known filmmakers such as Milan Luthria, Prabhu Deva, Anthony D’Souza, and Vikramaditya Motwane, among others, so early in my journey.”

Critics have noted that she pairs off very well with Salman

Push her a little more and she admits that she wanted to work with Motwane for a long time and that is why, when she read the script of ‘Lootera’, she immediately accepted the role, in spite of having no idea of the 1950s as an era, or how she was going to portray Pakhi. Today she has not regrets about that decision.

Of course, much before Sinha decided to make cinema her calling, she lived the life of any ordinary youngster. She did her schooling from Arya Vidya Mandir in Mumbai and then went on to graduate in fashion designing.

She then began to step on to film sets as a costume designer, even as she walked the ramp for her designer friends in two editions of the India Fashion Week.

Perhaps the fact that Sinha first dabbled in fashion before entering films, she has always stuck to her own ideas and beliefs on how she should look and what she should wear.

In fact, she stands out in the crowd of heroines that presently inhabit Bollywood for not having succumbed to the lure of sporting a Size Zero body in spite of being repeatedly targeted by the fashion police for her tendency to be “heavy” or her insistence on sticking to ethnic wear.

She lost nearly 30 kilos at the time of her debut and has since then maintained her weight, not by indulging in any fad diets, exhausting exercise schedules or cosmetic surgeries but by “eating healthy and doing yoga”.

What about competing with fellow female actors in the wardrobe department?

Says the down to earth star, “While I like wearing western outfits I do not believe in wearing bikinis in films. I am more comfortable in my Indian outfits and can carry myself comfortably.”

Well, clothes may maketh a man, but they certainly have not had any impact on the way this star’s career has shaped up!

Here’s one young woman who has played by her own rules and has set herself apart from her peers. - Women's Feature Service

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