I have finally become confident of the fact that I can carry an entire film on my shoulders,” asserts Sonakshi Sinha as we meet her to chat about her upcoming film, Noor. The actress, who started her career with Salman Khan-starrer Dabangg (2010) and faced flak for her weight and frivolous screen appearances, insists she has turned over a new leaf. She played the title role in her last film, 2016 actioner Akira, and will once again be seen as the protagonist in Noor.
“Work of many years has led me to have faith that I can pull this (film) off by myself. At one point, I was comfortable doing the films that were working [at the box office]. In the past few years, there has been a marked change in the kind of films being made. I merely adapted to my surroundings. Those were the kind of stories I wanted to try, but couldn’t in the past. This is my time,” she says.
Quiz her about shedding the label of an arm candy and she says, “I am consciously choosing characters that don’t need me to look like an arm candy anymore. I loved the masala movies I have done in the past. I love the absurdity of it all. But now, I would try and do both Lootera and R… Rajkummar (both 2013). Even if I’d received flak for it, I never let that get to me. I took it positively and tried to understand what is expected of me. Choosing ‘woman-centric’ parts wasn’t a result of any pressure on me to deliver ‘different’ content. I won’t do something just because I want to follow in the footsteps of my colleagues. I am doing what my heart wants.”
In the process, Sona has had to lower her box office expectations. But she isn’t complaining. “Experiences matter more than numbers. In Akira, (director) AR Murugadoss pitched me as a full-blown hero, fashioning me like the superstars he has always worked with (Akshay Kumar, Aamir Khan). In the last year, the trajectories have changed; films with strong female leads are doing well too.”